It's Been A Long 9 Months
If you're anything like me, the closer you get to your due date, the more anxious you are to hold your little bundle of joy in your arms. There is no doubt that having a new baby is an exciting, and emotional time. Having said that, unless you are already facing a chemical induction for a medical reason, it is best to wait until you are at least 41 weeks gestation before you try any of these methods. Being uncomfortable is not a reason to try to induce your labor, and believe me, if that baby is not ready to be born yet, no amount of trying at home will make it happen. It is also important to note that none of these methods to jump-start your labor will work for you if your cervix is not ripe, but some of these things may help to soften your cervix.
Many people believe that sexual intercourse can help jump-start labor in pregnant women. However, at 9 months pregnant, sex is likely not high on your list of things to do. An unfamiliar body, and just a general feeling of discomfort can make the thought of having sex very unappealing. That being said, if you're feeling up to it, sex can help you go into labor, and here's how:
- Sex can help ripen your cervix. Semen is the best natural source of prostaglandins, which help the cervix to soften and dilate. When these prostaglandins are deposited on your cervix during intercourse it can help put you on track to start your labor.
- Orgasms, along with nipple stimulation, cause your body to produce oxytocin. This hormone is known to cause contractions. In fact, pitocin (a drug used to induce labor) is a synthetic form of oxytocin.
For centuries, before the innovation of the synthetic hormones they can now use to induce labor, midwives used different herbs to help prepare pregnant women's bodies for birth. Bear in mind though, that there is not regulation by the Food and Drug Administration of the herbal industry so there is not standard or "norm" for selling these herbs. These substances are generally considered unsafe as medical interventions, and they should only be used under the supervision of your midwife or doctor.
- Black Cohosh: The use of black cohosh can make contractions more effective by helping to make them occur at regular intervals. It comes either alcohol-based or water-based, but should never be taken in capsule form. Blood thinning has been shown to be cause by black cohosh, leading to excessive blood loss during pregnancy. Do not use black cohosh if you have any blood clotting disorder or anemia.
- Blue Cohosh: Blue cohosh, which has been used to strengthen uterine contractions, is similar to black cohosh. These herbs are normally used together to help induce labor.
Cravings Cravings Cravings
Over the years, different foods have been rumored to send women into labor. These foods range from Mexican to Chinese, and pineapple to licorice. Even eggplant parmesan was considered quite the fad for a time amongst women seeking out relief from their giant pregnant bellies. Spicy foods, or really any food that might irritate your bowels, can cause intestinal contractions, which in turn can bring on sympathetic uterine contractions. This may or may not send you into labor, but there is a good chance you'll end up with a bit of a tummy ache or heart burn. Pineapple and some other tropical fruits, on the other hand, contain enzymes that can help ripen your cervix. These fruits have to be eaten in their natural form, not canned.
Some women find acupressure to be helpful in inducing labor, but this will only work if your body is ready for labor. Below is a video that shows how to use acupressure to induce labor.
Acupressure How To Video
Using castor oil to induce labor is about as unpleasant as it sounds. Castor oil causes intestinal cramping as well as diarrhea. These two things stimulate the uterus, and can result in uterine contractions. Once again, this will not be effective if you're not already close to labor. Also, there has been some controversy around whether or not taking castor oil to induce labor may cause a baby to pass their first bowel movement in the womb. If this bowel movement, also know as meconium, is inhaled by the baby it can cause aspiration pneumonia, which is a serious condition that is potentially fatal.
Walking (Sometimes Called Waddling)
Walking uses the force of gravity to help ripen your cervix, and aid in engaging the baby in the birth canal, and it's easy. You do it all of the time, unless your on bed rest. So make an effort to walk a little more every day, it's good exercise, and you might get to meet your little one a little sooner.
Stripping Your Membranes
Stripping your membranes is done by separating your bag of water from your cervix. This is thought to help encourage labor to start in some women. Only your health care provider can strip your membranes. Do not try this yourself.
I touched on this earlier, but nipple stimulation signals to your body to produce oxytocin, which can start your contractions.
Evening Primerose Oil
Evening Primerose Oil can be purchased in capsules, and is said to help soften the cervix.
Raspberry Leaf Tea
Raspberry leaf tea is not actually know to induce labor, but is thought to help tone the cervix, and thereby help with labor.
Aside from drugs your receive from a health care professional, the only safe way to start your labor is the tried and true method of waiting it out. Remember, no woman stays pregnant forever, and you will be holding your little bundle of joy in your arms before you know it!
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