7 Ways to Naturally Induce Labour
Hopefully you'll understand that only 4% of babies come on their due date. If not, take a look at this post to learn more.
Infact, your baby can arrive is considered 'on time' when they arrive any time between 37 weeks and 42 weeks - that's a huge 5 week window.
However, statistics show that the average first-time mother has her baby eight days after due date. This is not 'late' - this is still before the 42 week mark.
And interestingly, even though my first baby came a couple of days after due date, my second when 15 days over due date, arriving at 42 weeks and 1 day.
So I know what it's like to be fed up and waiting for baby. Those last couple of weeks saw me googling natural inductions and, quite frankly, doing better research than the FBI!
So I'm here to share you with you some wonderful methods for natural induction...
I know sooooo many women who have sworn that a treatment of Reflexology brought on their labour. Reflexology works on the theory that the feet mirror body and so pressing specific points on the feet it will stimulate specific areas in your body. So after around 38 weeks pregnant, some mothers choose to use Reflexology techniques to stimulate the uterus and cervix, aswell as fuel the production of Oxytocin which in turn, will bring labour on naturally. It's a wonderful, relaxing treatment, so win win in my eyes! If you find its bit "woo woo" you may be interested to know that some NHS trusts actually recommend these "complementary therapies" to their mums, to bring on labour.
2) Raspberry Leaf Tea
Raspberry Leaf Tea is a herbal remedy known to have properties that stimulate and strengthen the muscles in your uterus to help it work during labour. It's great to have during late pregnancy as a natural uterine tonic and one study shows that it shortens the second stage of labour and significantly reduces the need for forceps delivery. Apparently there's not any evidence to suggest it effectively induces labour.
Now believe me, when you feel like a beached whale, sex is the last thing you fancy at the end of your pregnancy but just hear me out...sex can induce labour in two different ways. Firstly, the male semen contains a hormone called prostaglandin , which ripens the cervix and can essentially get things going. Secondly, the female orgasm (and just sex generally) produces tonnes of oxytocin; an essential hormone which actually brings on labour and gets it all kick-started. So think this: hugs before drugs!
4) Acupuncture and Acupressure
Acupuncture involves placing very fine needles into certain points in your body that are known to stimulate certain channels eg the uterus/cervix. Acupressure, is applying pressure using your fingers and thumbs to certain points. Both have been used to help soften and dilate the cervix with onset of labour contractions. They may provide a way of reducing labour pain and avoiding a medical induction with other methods such as prostaglandins. You can read more on trials here.
5) Clary Sage Oil
Clary sage essential oil is derived from the salvia sclarea herb. It has a sweet, nutty smell and can help reduce pain, fear and tension and may also help speed up your labour. Some people swear by it, insisting they went into labour shortly after bathing in it, or simply rubbing it on their bump. There's definitely some truth behind it because guidelines say to strictly not go near the stuff until 37 weeks pregnant, as it really can bring on labour.
6) Castor Oil
I've heard this stuff is like melted tea lights, odd description isn't it? If you choose to use it, it is likely to have a dramatic effect on your bowels, explosive impact intact. However, it does work for some people. If you did decide to go down this route, start the day with a tablespoon mixed into food or fruit juice. Then stand back and wait for the fireworks!
This is definitely one very few people have heard of, but one I know midwives have used, when they themselves have gone past their due date. Like clary sage oil, it's a natural homeopathic remedy, and is believed to act directly on the uterus and cervix. Taken orally, you can get it from a good practitioner in homeopathy who can advise quantities and safety of it, to support your journey.
It may seem obvious, but a good ole walk can do wonders during late pregnancy (assuming you're still comfortable and safe to do so). Some people even walk during the early stages of labour, as a way of remaining active and helping things progress along. It's thought that the rhythmic pressure of your baby’s head on your cervix could stimulate the release of oxytocin, a hormone that triggers contractions. Plus, we all know we get a rush of endorphins after a good workout, it's the same here. A nice walk to get you relaxed and into that feel-good state you want to be in, for birth.
These are hand picked options for inducting labour. You may be wondering what I tried...I have tried Reflexology, Raspberry Leaf Tea, Sex, Clary Sage Oil and Walking. If only I knew about acupuncture and castor oil at the time...
As for the day that I finally went into labour with Sonny, I had gone on a 90 minute vigorous walk, came home and bathed in Clary Sage Oil and then got jiggy (if you know what I mean!). I went into labour a few hours later and he was with us that night. Whether it was those methods, or that he was just genuinely ready to come at that time, we'll never know. But ultimately, my advice is stay relaxed and give things a go if it makes you feel better about it.
For more tips and tricks, plus tonnes of practical techniques to get ready motherhood then join my Hypnobirthing Course today. For more information on all my upcoming courses, click here.
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Let's face it, so many myths fly around when you're pregnant, and sometimes you're so overwhelmed that it's hard to know who and what to believe.
I thought I'd debunk some myths for you, and set a few things straight...
One of my biggest pet peeves as a Birth Educator is hearing stories from dad and birth partners who rendered themselves "useless", "a spare part" as they "watched from the side lines" while loved ones agonise through labour.
THIS IS SO NOT HOW BIRTH SHOULD BE.
Something I share with all my clients is practical, specific ways your Birth Partner can support you.
Going into birth knowing they have the tools to help not only makes you feel more in control, but your birth partner too. You'll both be much more confident in your roles, and how you can support each other.