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How to Induce Labour

Jun 21, 2011 at 1:24 PM Chime in now

How to Induce Labour Naturally: A Guide

Masterfile

By LIANNE PHILLIPSON-WEBB
 
For 40 weeks you've been pregnant and waiting for this. The anticipation of meeting that very tiny person can be overwhelming. And within that excitement is a very real need to get some relief from the aches and pains that the last weeks of your pregnancy can wreak. It’s time for your baby to meet the world! Wondering what you can safely do to get your labour started?

Midwife, Jennifer Goldberg of Community Midwives of Toronto says, “If all is well, don’t push it along.” However, if  you’re overdue and there no immediate medical concerns for baby to come out, there are a defintely a few things that might help to get this show on the road.
 
These tips for getting labour started naturally are amongst the most popular remedies. Anecdotal evidence abounds, but because most of these methods haven’t been medically proven, definitely check in with your health care provider before getting started.
 
NIPPLE STIMULATION
Need to know The stimulation promotes the release of a hormone called oxytocin, which causes contractions.

How to Massaging the entire nipple and  areola area (the darker skin circling the nipple) with firm yet gentle pressure is thought to mimic the nursing of a newborn. Massage one breast at a time for about five minutes and then wait for 15 minutes to see what the effects are.  Continue if needed, pausing during contractions and stopping as contractions become 3 minutes apart or are 1 minute in length.
 
SEX
Need to know Having intercourse also stimulates the release the contraction hormoe oxytocin. Additionally, semen contains prostaglandins, which will help soften or ripen the cervix. It's more likely to be effective the more ripe your cervix.

How to Your most comfortable method of intercourse is safe, provided your waters haven't broken and you have neither a low-lying placenta of vaginal bleeding. The prostaglandins can also be absorbed through oral sex.  
 
PINEAPPLE
Need to know Fresh pineapple is rich in the enzyme bromelain, which is thought to soften the cervix and help bring on labour.  

How to You'd have to eat a lot of pineapple, perhaps as many as seven to reap the debated benefits of bromelain, and rememeber it has to be fresh—juice or canned doesn't count.
 
CASTOR OIL
Need to know Castor oil stimulates the bowels to contract—usually with diarrhea occurring after eating or drinking the oil. As the bowels lie next to the uterus, the hope is that the bowel contractions will in turn stimulate the uterus to contract, thus moving labour along.

How to It is not recommended, because the ensuing nausea and diarrhea may cause dehydration, but it is usually mixed with orange juice.
 
SPICY FOODS
Need to know  Eating any kind of spicy food stimulates the bowels, and as with caster oil, the close proximity of the contracting intestines may in turn stimulates the uterus also to contract.  Not that all spicy food causes diarrhea, but it certainly moves fibre through the bowels faster.

How to Eat one meal and see how it goes.  Be careful not to go too hot, as it may also cause uncomfortable heartburn. 
 
RED RASPBERRY LEAF TEA
Need to know This tea is known for it's use during pregnancy. It helps to strengthen the pelvic and uterine muscles, so that once labor does start the muscles will be more efficient, improving contractions.  

How to For toning or ripening the uterus and providing extra nutrients to mom, Goldberg recommends a daily herbal infusion tea of red raspberry leaf, stinging nettle, lemon balm, and red clover, available from your herbal dispensary.
 
BLUE COHOSH AND BLACK COHOSH
Need to know These two herbs work together to strengthen and regulate uterine contractions.  Although there are no studies to prove this, anecdotal evidence suggests that it's safe for use beyond 40 weeks gestation, but not before.
How to There have been reported cases or usage of these herbs being linked to newborn neurological complications or birth defects. Always consult your health care provider before considering.

TAKING A WALK
Need to know Although walking usually isn’t that comfortable at the late stage of pregnancy, the constant impact of a baby’s head on the cervix may cause your cervex to contract and continue those contractions. 

How to Walk for as long as is comfortable without exhausting yourself. If false labour (start and stop) is haunting you, try to get out for a walk as it starts to keep it going. Even around the block could help keep the contractions going.  
 
If there’s one certainty to pregnancy, it's that it will come to an end.  Maybe not as soon as you’d like it to, but I was once told, it’s better for her to be in than out if you aren’t at 40 weeks. Try to rest up and relax for what’s to come. 
 


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