How to bring on labour naturallyJune 11, 2012 No Comments
Are you overdue and impatient for your baby to be delivered? Here are some of the most commonly used methods to kick-start labour naturally…
Before we begin it’s important to stress that none of these methods should be attempted unless you are 40 weeks pregnant as by this stage your cervix will be ‘ripe’ and your baby fully developed. None of these natural labour inducers will work unless your body is ready.
Also, while these are all tried and tested methods, you also shouldn’t attempt anything that you aren’t comfortable with and you should stop immediately if you start to feel any pain. If in doubt, always talk to you doctor or midwife before attempting any of the below.
Sex: Sex tops the list of tried and tested labor inducers. It may not be the first thing on your mind when you’re 40+ weeks pregnant, but it’s worth a shot. Sex will help you to relax and orgasms in women can trigger labour. Also, your partner’s semen contains prostaglandins, which can help stimulate contractions and start labour
Nipple stimulation: If you can’t face intercourse, how about some nipple stimulation? Nipple stimulation causes the body to release oxytocin, which like pitocin (a synthetic substance used to induce labour contractions) can cause uterine contractions, so monitor your contractions slowly to be sure you don’t over stimulate
Acupuncture: Acupuncture has been used very successfully for thousands of years to induce women who are over-due in their pregnancy. Reports suggest that using acupuncture to start labour is 88% effective with labour beginning within 6-48 hours of treatment
Brisk walk: Walking is a great form of exercise for a pregnant woman but it can be especially useful in the final days as it can help stimulate labour, particularly if you are having contractions that aren’t yet regular. Walking can also help your baby move further down into your pelvis for delivery
Bouncing: Walking bouncing/rocking on a birthing ball or driving down a bumpy road will shake things up a bit. The gravity pull can help the baby descend into the pelvis and any pressure they put on the cervix can help start labour
Spicy foods: Although this method isn’t backed up by medical evidence, some women do believe that hot and spicy foods can help trigger labour. The theory is that spicy foods stimulate your digestive system and may even irritate it. The irritation can cause you to have diarrhoea, which in turn leads to dehydration in pregnant women known to cause contractions to start.
Spicy food may also induce labour by increasing prostaglandin production, the hormone that helps ripen the cervix, preparing your body for labour.
Pineapple: Pineapple is not supposed to induce labour, but it is thought to be a cervical ripening agent that stimulates prostaglandins, although this has not been proven.
Licorice: Real licorice candy, the black kind, is also believed to also stimulate the production of prostaglandins. This is due to the chemical, glycyrrhizin. Eating lots of licorice might also result in mild diarrhoea, which causes intestinal contractions that may lead to sympathetic uterine contractions.
Castor Oil: This is not the most pleasant method as castor oil tastes foul and almost always causes diarrhoea. Its primary use is as a stimulant laxative and it’s this stimulation of the bowels that can lead to cramp and tightening of the muscles in the intestines. These cramps may spread to the uterus, tightening the uterine muscles and stimulating contractions. If you are considering this, be sure to talk with your doctor first to see what dose they might recommend.
Membrane stripping: Not to be tried at home, this is something your health care team may suggest if your baby is overdue. During a vaginal examination your doctor will place a finger through the cervix and basically ‘sweep’ the membranes to try and separate them from the cervix. Sweeping of the membranes may release prostaglandins, which can help push the body into labour within 48 hours.PREGNANCY, YOUR BUMP