Natural Ways to Induce Labor
By the end of pregnancy most moms to be are tired of being pregnant and ready for labor to begin. Many of them are willing to try anything in order to bring on labor, but do they work? Well, no one thing works for every mom to be, but there are some safe things that you can try and one of them or a combination of them may be the trick that works for you.
Recent studies suggest that babies are healthiest when they spend at least 39 weeks in the womb. A health professional will not induce your labor until 39 weeks unless it is medically necessary. You should not try to induce labor with the supervision or consent of your mid-wife until at least 39 weeks, and many health professionals suggest waiting until your due date has come and gone. If you are 39 weeks pregnant or more keep reading to see which of these tricks might work for you!
Having sex is probably the most commonly known way that you can induce labor. While many people think that this is just an old wives tale there is actually some science behind it. Having sex, particularly if you have an orgasm can cause contractions, and semen contains prostaglandins. Prostaglandins can help to ripen your cervix and help to prepare your body for labor.
Stimulating your nipples can also help to bring on labor. When you stimulate your nipples a hormone called oxytocin is released. Oxytocin is also released during labor and causes contractions. If your doctor decides to medically induce labor they will likely use Pitocin which is the man-made version of oxytocin. There are several different ways that you can try nipple stimulation. You can simply roll your nipples with your fingers or you can use a breast pump. Using a breast pump is generally thought to be more effective, but it can also be more painful. If you decide to use the breast pump method use it on one breast for about five minutes to see if contractions start. If they do, stop pumping and wait to see what happens. If the contractions stop after fifteen minutes you can try pumping the other breast.
Most pregnant women have been told that if they want to induce labor they should walk. Walking has been known to bring on labor because it helps the baby’s head drop lower and places pressure on the cervix. Walking up and down stairs may be even more effective than just walking. Going up stairs means taking bigger steps and raising your legs up higher which may place more pressure on your cervix.
There are some foods that are thought to help induce labor and while some of them are just old wives tales there is some truth to a few of them. Pineapples are one food that may help to induce labor. Pineapples are filled with an enzyme called bromelaine that can help to ripen your cervix. Spicy foods are also thought to bring on labor, and some women swear by eating Chinese food to kick start labor. Foods that contain basil, oregano, and ginger may also help to induce labor. Eggplant may also help to induce labor. There is no known science behind it, but there are restaurants that sell eggplant dishes and will refund the cost of your meal if you don’t go into labor within forty-eight hours.
Evening Primrose Oil is nutritional supplement that many women take on a daily basis, but did you know that it might also help to induce labor? Many midwives recommend the use of Evening Primrose Oil to help prepare the cervix for labor. To use Evening Primrose oil you can either break open the capsule and rub it on your cervix or simply insert the capsule vaginally.
Castor oil is another method of inducing labor that has been around for a very long time. Castor oil is an extremely strong laxative that causes intense intestinal cramping and diarrhea. Because your intestinal muscles, like your cervix, are a smooth muscle the thinking is that the cramping of your intestinal muscles may spread to the uterus and cause it to contract. Most moms to be are pretty hesitant to try the castor oil method, and some that have tried it say that it causes diarrhea, but not labor.
Membrane stripping is another method that can be used to jump start labor, but it must be done by your obstetrician or your mid-wife. This is also known as membrane sweeping, and is done after your cervix has ripened. Your obstetrician will take their fingers and gently separate the amniotic sac from your uterine wall. This releases prostaglandins, and may cause some cramping which can induce labor.
Acupressure is another method that can be used to help induce labor. Acupressure is done by applying pressure with the fingers to certain pressure points in the body. Some of these pressure points are thought to stimulate contractions. These include the webbing between your thumb and forefinger and a point just above your ankle. Applying pressure to one or both of these points may induce contractions.
Warm baths are also known to help induce labor. A warm bath can help you to relax and it is a well-known fact that stress can prevent you from going into labor. Soaking in a warm tub can also help to soften your cervix which can cause you to go into labor.
Pregnancy is hard work and when you are nearing the end of a long nine months trying to induce labor can be quite tempting. All of these methods have been tried but more than one mom to be and for the most part they are all safe even if they aren’t effective. Waiting for labor to start can be stressful and some of these techniques will at least offer the benefit of relaxation even if they don’t induce your labor immediately. Sometimes just getting your mind off of how badly you want labor to start is enough.
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