As the end of pregnancy approaches, many women become anxious to complete the process and meet their baby. Labor is a long -awaited event, but if the due date comes and goes and no baby arrives, there are natural methods that can help to induce labor. Some may wonder when it is safe to try to naturally induce labor, and how to go about accomplishing it.
Natural labor induction should never be attempted until at least the 40 week mark. This will allow for the few days’ miscalculation of the due date. It’s vital that the baby is full-term before attempting induction. If the woman’s body is not ready for childbirth, natural induction methods probably won’t work. If the body is not ready to go into labor, all attempts may just cause frustration more than anything else. All techniques mentioned in this article should be discussed with a doctor prior to attempting any of them.
If your contractions have already started but labor has not yet begun, walking can help to progress things. By standing upright, gravity will help bring the baby down further into the pelvis. Also, as the legs as hips move and bounce, the baby is further assisted into moving into position in preparation for childbirth (1).
There is no doubt that a woman ready to give birth will more than likely not feel like engaging in sexual intercourse. However, sex works to induce labor two ways. First of all, the prostaglandins that are found in the man’s semen can actually stimulate contractions by softening the cervix. In addition, the hormones released when a woman orgasms can also stimulate labor (1).
Taking Blue Or Black Cohosh
If the woman is having weak or irregular contractions, cohosh can help. Blue cohosh can make contractions stronger, while black cohosh can regulate the contractions, making them more effective. It is important to note that not a great deal of studies have been done on the safety and effectiveness of using cohosh to stimulate labor. Using the herbs should be done carefully (1).
Massaging the nipples can stimulate the release of oxytocin, which is the natural form of pitocin (the synthetic form of oxytocin used to induce labor). Oxytocin causes contractions, which can progress into labor. This is a controversial method of inducing labor because of its relationship with excessively long, strong uterine contractions. These strong contractions can also cause the baby’s heart rate to slow down, which is why caution is always used with nipple stimulation. Nipple stimulation should only be conducted if closely monitored by a doctor (1).
Women have been using castor oil to induce labor for many years. It supposedly causes spasms in the intestines, which surround the uterus at the end of pregnancy. These spasms then cause the uterus to cramp and contract, which may result in labor. Two ounces of castor oil are mixed with six ounces of orange juice, and consumed as a beverage. Please note that castor oil will probably cause the bowels to empty within a couple of hours – by means of diarrhea, or possibly even vomiting. Labor is likely to start soon after that (2).
Stripping The Membranes
Stripping the membranes – another term for “water breaking” – will help to get labor started. The doctor will place his or her finger up the vagina and through the cervix to break the water. Although this process is often painful, it is usually successful in getting labor started. This is because hormones like prostaglandins are released from the water breaking, which helps to get the body ready for labor (2).
Acupressure involves using pressure points in certain spots on the body to induce labor. Certain pressure points can even help with pain relief during labor. There are two pressure points that can be stimulated to produce contractions. The first one is located in the webbing of the thumb and index finger. The other is located four finger-widths above the inside of the ankle bone. Firm pressure should be applied to either area for at least 30-60 seconds, and then released for 1-2 minutes, then repeated until contractions start (2).
It’s important to use caution if trying the cohosh and nipple stimulation methods. These can cause hyperstimulation of the uterus, allowing little rest between contractions. This can cause the baby to receive less oxygen, and possibly cause the baby’s heart rate to slow down. All of these techniques should be discussed with a doctor prior to attempting any.
Many of these natural ways to induce labor can be quite effective if the body is ready for childbirth. They work even better if contractions have already started.
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