Expecting moms, it’s time to take control of your delivery! Discover safe and natural strategies for inducing labor at home, with expert guidance from doctors. From acupressure to walking, learn the best home remedies for accelerating labor and achieving the birth you want with these proven strategies for inducing labor at home.
You’re keeping a close watch on the calendar as your due date approaches, either with anticipation or anxiety. If the due date passes without any sign of progress, though, you may feel compelled to initiate the process yourself.
“I meet a lot of pregnant women who are sick of it, want it to be over, and ask me, ‘What else can I do?'” says Dr. Jonathan Schaffir, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology in Columbus, Ohio.
More than half of pregnant women, according to a 2001 research by Dr. Schaffir and colleagues, resort to non-pharmacological techniques to speed labor when their due dates near or pass, but fewer than half of those women disclose their plans to their doctors or midwives. Doctors and midwives express concern about this, noting that while some traditional remedies may be effective, others may have dangerous side effects.
Even in the last weeks of pregnancy, crucial fetal development is still taken on. Parents-to-be are advised to wait until after 39 weeks of pregnancy before contemplating induction measures (including medicines) unless a medical induction is essential. This is true even if they have back pain, can’t sleep, and must always go to the bathroom.
Even then, you and your doctor should weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each option carefully. These are some tried and true methods for bringing on labor in the comfort of your own home.
As a newborn suckles for long periods of time, the stimulation of the nipple causes the pituitary gland to secrete the contraction-inducing hormone oxytocin. This is the same potent hormone that triggers your milk let-down reflex and can cause severe uterine cramps. Studies show that naturally increasing oxytocin can be just as effective as its synthetic version, Pitocin, inducing labor.
Forty percent of women who massaged their nipples for one to three hours per day gave delivery within three days, compared to only six percent of women in the control group, according to an analysis of the Cochrane Database involving 719 women who were 37 weeks pregnant or later.
Nevertheless, this approach is impractical (who has the leisure to do this for hours on end? ) and dangerous. We know it works. However, extreme caution must be exercised to avoid overstimulating the uterus and causing the contractions to be excessively forceful or too frequently spaced. Having the baby’s heart rate monitored by a medical professional is another important step in ensuring a positive outcome.”
Acupuncture and Herbs
Midwives have recommended both blue cohosh and evening primrose oil as natural remedies for easing labor or inducing it. Each herb has a reasonable proposed mode of action, but they also each have possible drawbacks. Have a conversation with your doctor or midwife before trying any herbs to speed up the labor process.
The cervix may be prepared for labor by taking evening primrose oil in capsule form or by rubbing the oil directly on the cervix. Yet, its use has not been found to induce labor any earlier in the few published research that has investigated its efficacy. However, some research suggests it may make labor more difficult by increasing the risk of problems during delivery (such as arrested descent of the fetus in the birth canal).
There are two types of cohosh that have a long history of treating menstruation problems: blue (Caulophyllum) and black (Cimicifuga). Nevertheless, blue cohosh should be avoided during pregnancy as some research has linked it to potentially fatal adverse effects.
The uterus is said to be toned by drinking raspberry leaf tea in the weeks preceding up to the due date. However, this has not been demonstrated to have any influence on labor. Furthermore, many studies have found promise in the use of acupuncture to induce labor naturally, while others have found a connection between acupuncture and increased gestational length.
While studies on the topic have shown conflicting consequences, testimonials abound of late infants making their appearance shortly after the parents engaged in some passionate physical activity. Semen, which contains prostaglandins, lipids that soften the cervix, is introduced to the vagina during penis-in-vagina sex, which is also utilized for medical induction. The potential labor-inducing benefits aren’t exclusive to penetrative or partnered sex; orgasm can also cause significant uterine contractions.
According to a study of 200 healthy pregnant women, having intercourse beyond 36 weeks reduced the likelihood that a woman would go over her due date or need an induction of labor. Another study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology revealed no link between sexual activity and a longer or shorter pregnancy.
So what’s the final word? Dr. S. believes it won’t hurt to attempt if a lady has a low risk for early delivery and no placenta previa.
Spicy Food and Castor Oil
Castor oil has long been advocated as a natural method for inducing labor by midwives. The herbal laxative is thought to encourage prostaglandin release and prompt the adjacent uterus into action by stimulating the intestinal smooth muscle.
Even though different studies have come to different conclusions, one small clinical experiment did find that giving castor oil to full-term pregnant women made them more likely to go into labor within 24 hours. Nevertheless, as Myers points out, dealing with unpleasant side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration may be a real challenge.
A more secure option for pregnant women who have already passed the 39th week of their pregnancies? Spicy food may have the same impact without the negative side effects (but be ready for heartburn and swollen ankles because spicy food is hard on your digestive system.).
Practice and endurance
Forty-three percent of women in Dr. Schaffir’s study reported increasing their physical activity in the week leading up to delivery. Dr. Schaffir notes that while exercise is beneficial, it has not been shown to hasten labor.
His finest piece of advice for overdue expectant mothers who can’t wait for labor to begin? Instead of trying to force labor with home cures, focus on eating well, getting enough rest, and savoring the last few days of pregnancy. The best and healthiest labor is one that begins on its own, Dr. Schaffir explains.
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