Natural Induction – Hints and Tips

Hello to all the wonderful pregnant women who are nearly at their due date or over!  I know how you feel, I went 6 days over with my first child and it felt like 6 years!  I am wondering why we are constantly told a due date, I mean really, only 1% of babies come on their due date.  Babies are mature enough to be born from 37weeks and can go safely to 42weeks.  This is a gap of 5 weeks and we focus on ONE due date……insane!

Now for those of you who are over 41weeks and are facing medical induction head on, then I thought I would write to you about Natural Induction.  There are many methods that have been used over the years, none have been guaranteed to work 100%, it is just your own preference.  Before you start any Natural Induction method, please seek advice from your medical carer especially if you have any form of pre-existing medical condition. 

There are great ways you can try at home and then there are those methods that practitioners can help you with.  I will list the latter first, however, it is very important to ensure that the person treating you is qualified, and is knowledgable in pregnancy and birth. If they do not have appropriate training or knowledge of pregnancy and birth, this may be unsafe as extra care must be taken when pregnant and in labour.  Please find a practitioner that you feel comfortable with.

  • Accupressure – Use of pressure points to stimulate labour.  Debra Betts has put together a fantastic document on acupressure for pregnancy, labour and post birth. 
  • Accupuncture
  • Homeopathy
  • Sweeping of Membranes – strip and stretch, separates membranes from cervix
  • Massage – Bowen Therapy

There are some fun ways you can try and Naturally Induce labour, the first one is sex.  Sex can firstly relax you and give your body time to forget about labour, which may in turn put you into labour.  Also semen carries prostaglandin which can soften and ripen the cervix ready for labour.  Recently a study has found that intercourse made little difference to inducing labour and no cervical changes were evident. This may have been the case in the study, but who can be relaxed when part of a study and be examined after sex!

However, sex can be a great way to relax, and contrary to the study, many mothers have found that they have gone into labour after having sex, especially during early labour. Even Ina May Gaskin, a long time natural and homebirthing advocate doesn’t think too much of this study as she has seen otherwise.

Another great part of sex is when a woman experiences orgasm, she produces oxytocin – the labour hormone. So while having intercourse seems to not be of much help, it can still play a role in the bigger scheme of things!

Another Natural Induction method is nipple stimulation.  Nipple stimulation will release oxytocin in your blood and hopefully induce labour.  You can use your hand and fingers to do this or a breast pump.  Do this for about 20mins, have a rest and repeat if you are up to it!

Raspberry leaf is another natural induction method that acts as a uterine tonic and can stimulate labour.  It also has an added benefit after birth for breastmilk production.  It’s generally recommended anytime after 12 weeks in a healthy pregnancy – make sure you check with your medical carer and a naturopath for doses and to see if it’s appropriate for you.

Now that you are armed with all these natural induction methods you may want to know what to do if you are in early labour to keep things moving.  Below is a list for you to follow if you are in early labour.

  • Rest at night if your contractions will allow
  • Walk around to stimulate your contractions
  • Climb stairs – this will help your body work with gravity and get your baby into a great position
  • Have a shower to ease the pain, try to avoid swimming and baths as it will counteract gravity
  • Keep upright – work with gravity, lean into contractions as your uterus leans forwards during contractions, bend your knees and bend to about 45 degrees
  • Keep busy to take your mind off labour
  • Keep well hydrated, your body is working as hard as if it were running a marathon.
  • Relax

I hope these natural induction suggestions help you on your journey towards birth.  Remember to relax and have faith in your body and your baby.  Enjoy the lead up to your birth and your birth journey.

 

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