Naturally Inducing Labor
Are you pregnant? The last weeks of pregnancy can be uncomfortable.
When you are near term, you may have discussed inducing labor with your doctor.
Did you know that there are natural ways to induce labor? Don't try to induce
labor if you are less than 40 weeks pregnant. But if you and your doctor or
midwife have decided to induce labor, be aware that methods exist of Naturally Inducing
Please read our article further down on this page - "Naturally
Inducing Labor". It was written by a woman who had two pregnancies that
went past their due dates. Learn which methods of Naturally Inducing Labor worked
for her. This article is not intended to be medical advice. Be sure to check
with your doctor before undertaking any actions that might affect your pregnancy.
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our exclusive Feature Article:
Naturally Inducing Labor
An array of doubts and worries are associated with the last weeks of pregnancy. Both
of my pregnancies went past the due date, so I am more than familiar with the anxiety
of wondering if you might be pregnant forever. During my first pregnancy, I received
prenatal care in the typical contemporary hospital, where induction is very popular.
My doctors even suggested inducing labor before the 40 week mark. I personally consider
medical induction a last resort, and I know many women feel the same way, so it helps
to know there are a few natural ways to help start active labor.
It is important to realize that it's never wise to try to induce labor in any way
if you are less than 40 weeks pregnant. If your due date is inaccurate, you do not
want to risk giving birth to a baby that will have difficulties surviving outside
the womb. It is also best to always be under the supervision of a doctor or midwife
when trying to induce labor naturally. Even if you just have a casual phone conversation
about natural induction, it is important that your care provider is at least aware
of your actions so they can give you the best of care.
One of the least invasive ways to naturally induce labor is walking. Not only is it
good exercise for pregnant women, but the upright motion can help move the baby into
the birthing position. If you are having pre labor contractions, you may also find
that walking can help you feel more comfortable during them. I personally used my
treadmill several times every week for exercise during both of my pregnancies, and
though it helped keep me in shape, I am not certain if it truly helped bring on contractions.
Prostaglandins help ripen and soften the cervix. A ripened cervix promotes dilation
and helps move the baby deeper into the pelvis. These things can help trigger labor.
Prostaglandins are present in semen, which is one reason that intercourse can help
induce labor. Also, you can increase prostaglandin levels by using evening primrose
oil. This method is very simple, since evening primrose oil is available almost anywhere
that sells vitamins and supplements. Evening primrose oil can be taken orally as early
as 34 weeks. After 38 weeks, evening primrose oil capsules can also be inserted vaginally
to come in direct contact with the cervix. I did not know about this method until
I was already overdue with my first baby, so the evening primrose did little to stimulate
that labor. However, I used the time table recommended above during my second pregnancy,
and gave birth only two days after my due date and after only six hours of labor.
I do think this method contributed to the ease of my second labor.
For years, women have used castor oil to induce labor. It is thought that the intestinal
spasm caused by ingesting castor oil can also trigger contractions in the uterus.
However, castor oil has a very unpleasant taste, and the side effects of castor oil
can be very uncomfortable and unpleasant for a pregnant woman. There is also some
speculation about the association between castor oil and meconium staining. I tried
this method with both pregnancies. It never triggered my labor, but I did experience
all of the unpleasant side effects.
A common herbal method used to induce labor is the use of black and blue cohosh. These
herbs are thought to make uterine contractions stronger and more regular. Together,
they can help make contractions more effective. Keep in mind there have been no studies
to prove the safety and effectiveness of these herbs. I never tried this method because
I was uncomfortable with the warnings I had read about concerning black and blue cohosh.
Nipple stimulation is another method used to naturally induce labor. Nipple stimulation
releases oxytocin, and oxytocin is the hormone that causes contractions. These contractions
sometimes lead into labor. Many practitioners are not fond of this method, since it
can lead to the longer and stronger uterine contractions associated with the slowing
of the fetal heart rate. However, it is also believed that because the oxytocin produced
by nipple stimulation is natural, it is safer than using Pitocin, or synthetic oxytocin.
Either way, it is best to use this method only with the close supervision and monitoring
of your doctor or midwife. Keep in mind that hours of stimulation may be necessary
to get strong contractions started, so this method can be quite inconvenient unless
you are truly trying to avoid medical induction.
The most important thing to remember is that you shouldn't be discouraged if your
labor does not start right away. It is common for induction to fail if your body is
not otherwise ready for labor. It is important to relax, because stress itself can
cause further delay of your labor. Your baby will arrive on his or her own time, sooner
or later. Your joyous celebration of life can happen whether your baby is on time
or a little late.
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