You patiently await your due date for 40 weeks and can’t wait another minute to carry your baby in your arms rather than in your belly. But when the date comes and goes with nary a contraction, you might be tempted to give your baby a gentle nudge. We’ve found out some natural methods of bringing on labor:
Anything from a long walk to stair climbing can get labor initiated. Gravity may help your baby descend farther into the birth canal and dilate your cervix through simple pressure. Even if this method doesn’t work, it’s a great way to relieve stress and keep your body strong for the task ahead.
You might have heard that having sex can get labor started. The basis for this is that sex results in semen release by the man. Semen is highly concentrated with prostaglandins, which are hormones that tend to cause uterine muscles to contract. For your best shot, make sure your partner ejaculates inside the vagina. Didn’t work? There’s no harm in trying again, just for fun.
3. Nipple Stimulation
Stimulating your nipples can cause your uterus to contract and possibly bring about labor. In fact, if you choose to breastfeed your baby right after delivery, this same stimulation is what will help your uterus to shrink back to its original size. You or your partner may manually roll your nipples or you can try using a breast pump for stronger stimulation.
4. Castor oil and spicy food
Midwives have long recommended inducing labor by drinking castor oil (2 ounces in a glass of orange juice or mixed with ice cream) with the idea that it can stimulate the smooth muscle of the bowels, promote the release of prostaglandin and nudge the nearby uterus into action. Two recent trials showed that full-term women who were given castor oil were more likely to go into labor within 24 hours. But the side effects include nausea, explosive diarrhea and dehydration. This method should be used with caution and only with the approval of your midwife or doctor.
Some mamas swear by spicy foods for labor induction. Likely spicy food acts similar to castor oil, with its intestinal stimulation, which in turn can start labor.
5. Evening Primrose Oil (EPO)
Evening Primrose Oil is another ‘cervix ripening’ method. EPO contains prostaglandins which help soften the cervix and ready it for labor. You may take the oil orally or insert it vaginally for the best results. However, it should be considered as a last resort because it may have some risks. Evening primrose oil may actually cause labor to last a few hours longer when applied vaginally (boo!) or may cause early rupture of membranes, meaning that your water breaks before contractions start.
6. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Midwives often recommend drinking red raspberry leaf tea in combination with evening primrose oil as your due date nears. The tea tones the uterus and helps to organize irregular contractions into regular, productive patterns.
7. Eat Date Fruit
According to a study, consumption of date fruit in the four weeks prior to labor significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labor.
8. Acupuncture and Acupressure
Acupuncture have been used for many years to stimulate labor in women who are full term and many women swear by it. There have been some studies on acupuncture and its effect on inducing labour – see an Australian research report here which showed that using acupuncture to stimulate labour in overdue mothers to be had a success rate of 88%.
Acupressure is also believed to help induce labor. Various pressure points are safe to press starting at 37 weeks. You can increase pressure the closer you are to your due date and during labor itself. But prior to applying acupressure to yourself, make sure you get proper instruction from a trained acupressure professional.
In Acu8 Health, Our experienced practitioners provide acupuncture, acupressure and cupping to help induce labor. For more information, please call 08 9387 3389.