Has your due date come and gone? Only 30% of women deliver within 10 days of their due date, that’s including before and after, according to Science Daily. But I bet your doctor has started suggesting to induce you with pitocin, which is exactly what you DON’T want, right? You’ve come this far, a whole 9 months of pregnancy and you’re ready for that baby to come! And to start the labor and delivery with drugs? No, sir!
Sometimes needing to have your baby arrive at a certain time is a medical necessity. That is perfectly understandable, especially when there is risk of harm to you or your baby. So you may be eager to know if and how to induce labor a natural way.
How To Induce Labor – Can It Be Done?
Absolutely. Some believe it can’t, some do. Sometimes it just depends on who you’re talking to and their experiences. I doesn’t work for everyone, and it may work great for others.
Many methods have research showing that they are helpful. But that does not mean that they will always work, or that they will at all. Your body and your baby send many complicated signals back and forth during your pregnancy and your baby’s growth. Many factors are at play when the time for birth arrives.
A number of physiological signals have to be in the correct order. Levels of hormones and key nutrients and enzymes have to be at certain levels in your body. So trying just any method of natural induction may not work effectively if your body isn’t at the correct state.
Your cervix has to be ripe, soft, and in a state of dilation. These methods will be ineffective if your cervix isn’t quite ready, and sometimes is still just becomes a waiting game until it is.
It’s hard to know if just any one method is successful for you or not as well.
When I was pregnant with my first boy, I was SUPER anxious to give birth such that I didn’t want to go back to work the Monday I was due. So I walked and walked for a long time the day before he came.
I also had intercourse with my husband, plus stimulated two acupressure points meant for labor induction, all on the same day. And yes, I went into labor the next morning. But I have no way of knowing which thing I did actually got the job done.
Now, to point out, I had seen my doctor the day before and he’d been telling me for nearly three weeks that my cervix was ripe and ready. So all odds were in my favor.
So, yes, I’m living proof. But my experience is no guarantee as well. I honestly believe that having those positive thoughts and wishing for your baby to come has a directly influent over your baby’s emotional state as well; you’re connected right? So they share how you feel and the thoughts you entertain.
What Techniques Seem to Work?
You’ll find all sorts of tales across the internet of things that produce labor, many are old wives tales. But many also have some research backing them.
I’ve listed them here in order of most effective to least effective, according to doctors and midwives alike.
- Walking – The motion of walking draws your baby downward to the birth canal, adding pressure to your cervix, thus helping it to ripen. It releases the endorphins that are already waiting to help you along in your labor too. **This was suggested by my doctor.
- Sex – There is an element in semen, prostoglandins, that can stimulate your cervix to dilate, a natural hormone that simply plays a role in the entire birth cycle, from implantation on. Also, having an orgasm triggers the release of oxytocin, the natural hormone that starts contractions. **This was also suggested by my doctor. (Some women even orgasm during labor.)
- Acupuncture/Acupressure – There are points all over the body where nerves and lines of energy flow that correlate to other areas of the body. When energy is trapped for some reason, rubbing the affected area can release the energy needed for the body to function more properly.
- Webbing between your thumb and forefinger – Massage and squeeze, applying pressure to the softer tissue for a few moments at a time. Do for both hands. **This was suggested by my Lamaze instructor.
- Roof of the Mouth – Press upwards and massage with your thumb for a few moments. You can even press a sucker into it for easier pressure. **This was suggested by my Bradley correspondent.
- Nipple Stimulation – Similar to sex, oxytocin is released here naturally. But this method seems to work better after giving birth with nursing for contractions that help shrink the uterus back down. **I tried this a little, but just felt silly doing so. 😛
- Massage – Relaxing and feeling good also release oxytocin that can lead to natural contractions. But levels of the hormone released this way are less than actual sexual relations. Use your Natural Stretch Oil to get relaxed.
- Raspberry Leaf Tea – Some mothers find that regular drinking of this tea which helps tone the uterus and prepare it for birth helps it along p tremendously.
All in all, your best bet is to do a number of different things in conjunction with each other. If you only try one thing it may not lead to what you desire. The more the better.
This mommy has a bunch of suggestions that her midwife recommended to help gradually put her body into a ready state for natural induction. You may want to look at these options too:
What Things Don’t Seem to Work?
Here is where we hit some of the old wives tales. All three below lean on the fact that they will get your bowels moving, thus stimulating the nearby uterus simply by location. The may work for a rare few, but odds aren’t in your favor with these ones.
- spicy foods – can lead to diarrhea, which some women have in early stages of labor, or even before labor begins (I did)
- castor oil – will honestly just make you sick from both ends
- jumping – altogether just funny if tried
There’s an episode of Cheers where Carla is ready to have her baby, and she’s jumping down the stairs and shaking her obviously fake belly. It’s pretty ludicrous. 😀
To summarize, if you’re anxious and ready, it’s worth a shot. Now I DO NOT support these methods of you are not at least 39 weeks along and counting. Once you’ve crossed this time point, you can go into labor at any moment, and your baby has had a very healthy level of complete development in utero.
Be sure to try at the very least walking and sex. Modern medicine backs these two methods more so than any other, and that was good enough for me. Be sure that you are absolutely ready as well because even though it took my body around 12 hours to kick in, it may be much quicker for you.
There’s also the episode of Friends when Rachel is bulging pregnant, ready to get her baby out. And her doctor instructs her to have sex, but Ross won’t have it because they’re not in that kind of a relationship anymore. But then he’s frustrated at her attempts when her water breaks as he starts to get ‘fresh.’ A funny must-see. 🙂
Once that labor is started, there are things you can do to move it along as well so you don’t plateau have more natural pain relief. Keep in mind that all these methods discussed will also naturally help your labor progress as well.
I’m sure there a some things that have worked great for you that I might have missed too. What things have you done in the past to help your labor start? And hopefully it wasn’t pitocin.