How to go into labor? If you’re approaching the end of your pregnancy, you’re probably beginning to wonder what might be your options if you exceed your due date. In this article, we will explore the question of what can be done to encourage labor. Always remember to consult with your doctor before taking any sort of action. This is critically important for you and your baby’s health and well-being. Never even think about attempting any sort of technique until you have reached your fortieth week of pregnancy.
While doctors have proven methods for inducing labor that can be used in controlled situations, there are other more natural approaches that in some cases will help to boost the chance that labor will occur more quickly.
- 1 Medical Approaches to Inducing Labor
- 2 How To Go Into Labor Naturally
- 2.1 Acupuncture
- 2.2 Massage
- 2.3 Castor oil
- 2.4 Black and blue cohosh
- 2.5 Pineapple
- 2.6 Cumin tea
- 2.7 Walking
- 2.8 Acupressure
- 2.9 Spiced tea
- 2.10 Spicy food
- 2.11 Understand the mind body connection
- 2.12 Evening primrose oil
- 2.13 Black currant oil
- 2.14 Flaxseed oil
- 2.15 Borage oil
- 2.16 Try a bumpy car ride
- 2.17 Visualization
- 2.18 Health during pregnancy
Medical Approaches to Inducing Labor
If your doctor decides that your labor needs to be induced, he or she may choose from a variety of different methods. Let’s go over a few of them here:
Pitocin is a synthetic substance that mimics oxytocin, a hormone. Using Pitocin is a very common method for making labor begin. If your doctor decides to use Pitocin, he or she will probably give it to you intravenously. Doing so will help ensure the most accurate regulation of the amount administered. After you are given the hormone, your medical team will monitor your baby to ensure that everything remains normal.
Amniotomy is a procedure in which a doctor breaks a tiny hold in the amniotic sac. Labor should start (if they haven’t already begun) once the amniotic fluid has been released. You should be aware that one drawback of this procedure is you will risk infection if you don’t continue with labor after the water has broken.
Prostaglandin gel contains prostaglandin, a hormone. Medical professionals will apply this gel to your cervix. This can cause labor to begin within a few hours of application. In many cases, however, the gel is used along with Pitocin.
Remember that inducing labor is always a very serious decision.
How To Go Into Labor Naturally
Below is a list of natural methods you can try (once you get permission from your doctor):
Acupuncture is a facet of Chinese medicine that has been practiced for thousands of years. If you undergo acupuncture, the professional will use tiny needles on specific parts of your body. Acupuncture is believed to deal with the problem of blocked energy. A study that was conducted at the University of North Carolina discovered that women who underwent acupuncture had a greater probability of beginning labor without needing medical intervention.
Additionally, the women in the study who got acupuncture were much less likely to need a cesarean section. Make sure to talk to your doctor or midwife before undergoing acupuncture and ensure that the practitioner you select for the acupuncture procedure is properly qualified and experienced in treating pregnant women. If you’d like to read more about acupuncture, we highly recommend this book.
Enjoying massage carried out by a professional massage therapist who regularly does pregnancy massage might help with the timeliness of your labor. Massage will also probably help you relax. Make sure that the massage therapist you choose has substantial experience with pregnant clients.
Before considering using castor oil, you should know that there are certain risks involved with this approach. One such risk is the fact that it causes diarrhea, and this could make you dehydrated. If you do use castor oil, you must be especially careful to stay well-hydrated with water and coconut water. It is thought that taking castor oil might help to induce labor because of the contractions it can cause in smooth muscles. Take only high quality food grade castor oil. See Price
Remember to consult with your doctor or midwife before trying castor oil.
Black and blue cohosh
It is essential that you get permission from your doctor before using these substances. Also, you will need to use it in consultation with a qualified herbalist. You should be aware that cohashes can raise blood pressure, making them problematic for many pregnant women. It is thought that black and blue cohash can help encourage labor.
It is believed that eating large amount of pineapple can help to encourage labor in many cases. Don’t eat so much of it that you have acidity problems in your stomach or esophagus. Pineapple has bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme. Bromelain can aid in softening the cervix and possibly encouraging labor. It can potentially help to make the labor easier as well as possibly hasten it.
Additionally, it is thought that pineapple’s effect on the stomach (stimulation) can extend to the uterus. It’s important that the pineapple you eat be completely fresh and recently cut. The bromelain enzyme protein will shrink if the pineapple is exposed to the air for an extended period of time.
Avoid canned pineapple, as the canning process also eliminates the enzyme. If you have the necessary equipment, juice the whole pineapple (including the inner core). This will make it easier for you to consume a large amount. Avoid unripe pineapples, as it is thought that they might make miscarriage a greater risk. If you find that pineapple causes diarrhea, make sure to stay hydrated with plenty of water.
Here is a recipe for a pineapple and mango smoothie:
One cup of orange juice, half a cup of vanilla yogurt, one cup of freshly chopped pineapple (including the core), one cup of chopped mangos, and ice. Put all the ingredients (except the ice) in a blender and blend. Add in the ice after that and blend again.
Let one teaspoon of cumin seeds steep for at least five minutes in one cup of boiling water. You should only have one cup of cumin tea maximum per day. Some people think it’s helpful to also put a raw cube of potato to steep in the tea before drinking it. It is believed that cumin tea helps to encourage labor.
It can be very helpful to take long walks each day. This is useful because it causes movement in the pelvic area. It might also help the baby get into a position that’s better for birth, and is likely to assist in making contractions start or become stronger. Try to make your walks from about half an hour to several hours in length.
You should try to keep someone with you when you do this and stay close to home, in case you start having contractions. Going for a slow walk can be a great form of meditation. Just remember to focus on your breathing and the beauty in your surroundings. Meditation can be key to relaxation for many people.
The three most important acupressure points that help to encourage labor include between the thumb and forefinger; four finger widths above the inner ankle; and just behind the ridge that’s found behind your teeth, on the roof of your mouth. Gently massaging these areas might help you go into labor.
Drink tea with ginger, cloves, and cinnamon. You should enjoy just one small glass of this each hour over 6 hours (you should not have any more than 6 glasses total). If you find that this does not have the desired effect (encouraging labor), wait for 24 hours and then try drinking the tea again (using the same procedure). You should only try this twice. If it fails on the second try, abandon the method.
Some people feel that eating spicy food helps encourage labor contractions, but there is no proof that this is the case. Some people believe that spicy food can encourage the body’s production of prostaglandin, a hormone. Prostaglandin is thought to encourage the beginning of labor. It is also thought that the contractions of the digestive system that spicy food is capable of causing can in some way extend to the uterus and the rest of the reproductive system.
Examples of spicy foods could include ones with cayenne pepper, black pepper, garlic, hot chili powder, Cajun seasoning, hot curry powder, Jamaican jerk seasoning, mustard powder, spicy paprika, Tobasco pepper, horseradish powder, or a number of other spices.
Understand the mind body connection
Don’t underestimate how important the mind body connection really is. Did you know that if you’re scared or very nervous, the adrenaline that your body will release will actually have an inhibiting effect on the hormone that makes labor begin (oxytocin). This is one of several reasons why it’s so critical for you to stay calm and relaxed.
Many believe that there are several things you can do to make your mental state as optimal as possible for labor to begin. One is to sip a bit of herbal tea and actually speak to your baby. Your conversation can include telling them all the things you will do to make sure they are safe and healthy. Imagine what your baby’s responses are.
Another thing you can do is to talk to someone you trust about your deepest fears and most significant thoughts, concerns, and expectations are concerning having a baby. If you feel that birth stories other people have told you are hampering you, let them go. If you have trouble doing that, write them down and then rip up the piece of paper.
The third recommendation is to write out a list of the things you think that you need to do before the birth, and then prioritize the items that are most important. This will make you realize that the less important things can wait, and you will feel less anxious.
Evening primrose oil
Evening primrose oil is believed to contain substances that your body can transform into prostaglandins, hormones that help prepare the cervix for the labor process. Evening primrose oil is available in capsule form, and can be purchased at most health food stores. It is generally thought that one should take between 500 and 2,000 milligrams of evening primrose oil per day, but you should start off with lower doses at first. See Price
Many midwives in various parts of the world use evening primrose oil with their patients. You should be aware that in one study, however, women who took evening primrose oil experienced longer labors than those who did not. You should also know that evening primrose oil can have a thinning effect on the blood and sometimes has unpleasant side effects such as gastrointestinal upset and headaches.
Black currant oil
Like evening primrose oil, black currant oil is thought to lead to softening of the cervix (which helps lead to labor). Black currant oil has a rare and beneficial omega-6 fat called GLA (gamma-linolenic acid). GLA has anti-inflammatory effects. It is also found in borage oil and evening primrose oil. You should be able to find black currant oil in capsule form at your local health food store. See Price
Flax seed oil is thought to have some effect on softening of the cervix (which helps foster the beginning of labor). Flaxseed oil has a number of benefits for pregnant women and their babies (such as omega-3 fats), but there has been indication of some potential dangers, as well. Remember to ask your doctor whether you should take flaxseed oil before making any decisions. You should be able to find flax seed oil in any health food store. See Price
Like evening primrose oil, borage oil is believed to foster softening of the cervix (which is necessary for labor to begin). You should be aware that borage oil might have pyrroldizidine alkaloids that can cause liver damage. Make sure to consult with your doctor before taking this type of oil. See Price
Try a bumpy car ride
Going on a bumpy car ride might help labor begin more quickly. Make sure to be with someone who can help you if labor begins, and that you’ll be able to quickly get to wherever you plan to give birth.
Make sure you are in a relaxed place (such as lying in bed) and position when you do this visualization. Actively visualize the feeling of labor contractions, as well as how you will feel when your baby is born. To make everything seem more realistic, imagine who will be there with you, the sounds that you might hear, and other elements of your likely environment.
If you have difficulty with being calm enough to really focus, try meditation. There are many guided meditation recordings that you can find online. It’s possible that you’ll find some options that are specifically designed for pregnant women, but a general one will be fine if that is all that you can find.
Health during pregnancy
Don’t underestimate how critically important maternal health is during pregnancy. Making sure that good practices are maintained will help ensure that everything later on (such as labor) goes as smoothly as possible.
Let’s go over some of the things you can do to have a healthy pregnancy below:
- Remember to take special prenatal supplements containing the proper amount of iron and folic acid. Folic acid is especially important during the early stages of pregnancy. It will help to reduce the risk of spinal bifida and other neural tube birth defects. Talk to your doctor to find out exactly how much folic acid and iron you need.
- Increase your level of protein intake to about 70 grams daily. Make sure that you’re getting enough calcium, too. Many women do not get the amount of calcium they need generally, so take extra care to make sure you do during pregnancy. Calcium needs do not increase in pregnancy.
- Avoid cold deli meats, raw seafood, unpasteurized juice and dairy products, and under cooked meat and eggs. These foods could cause you to ingest harmful bacteria that could affect both you and your baby. Your baby will be especially vulnerable.
- Be careful with your fish intake and do your research. Certain types of fish tend to have alarming levels of contaminants (such as mercury) that could harm your baby.
- Make sure to get excellent prenatal care from a medical doctor (and perhaps a midwife, if you choose) throughout your pregnancy, and receive the necessary screenings. You should make your first appointment as soon as you know you are pregnant.
- Make sure to get enough exercise. This is important to ensure you have the strength you need to deal with all the extra weight you will have to carry. It will also help with circulation problems in the legs, and will make labor easier for you. There has been indication that getting physical exercise during pregnancy can reduce the risk of preterm delivery as well as of gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Experts say that physically active women are generally not only better prepared for the labor process but also enjoy a faster recovery. It can even make you less likely to get varicose veins and backaches, and will help with constipation. Exercise will additionally assist in reducing your stress level. When exercising, always avoid becoming dehydrated.
- You’ll find that low-impact forms of exercise are best. Some examples might be low-impact aerobics, cycling, walking, and swimming. Don’t take part in activities with a risk of being hit in the abdominal area, such as ice hockey, kickboxing, basketball, or soccer.
- Never drink any alcohol during pregnancy. Even very small amounts of alcohol can cause serious and irreversible problems for your baby. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a very real consequence of drinking during pregnancy.
- Never smoke during pregnancy. Smoking can lead to miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and many other problems. If you’re a smoker, go to a medical professional for assistance in quitting immediately.
- Ensure that you get enough rest and relaxation, especially in your first and third trimesters. Try massage, yoga, deep breathing, and stretching. Remember that your psychological state is very important to health during (and after) pregnancy. You should be able to find special yoga classes for pregnant women if that interests you.
- Reduce your intake of caffeine. It’s generally recommended that you have less than about one 8-ounce cup of strong coffee per day, at maximum. Having more than that could make you more likely to suffer a miscarriage. Cutting down on your caffeine (and ideally switching completely to decaf) will help you stay more relaxed, too.
- Pay attention to your oral health. Go to your dentist for a cleaning and general checkup as soon as you can. Hormone changes could make you more susceptible to certain dental problems that will need attention. They could interfere with your general health and even the health of your baby.
- Carefully avoid dangers in the environment, such as chemicals, radiation, heavy metals, solvents, pesticides, and certain cleaning products, as well as lead that might be put in drinking water by old pipes.
- Attend to your emotional health and well-being. This is essential to health, and is especially important if you are having problems with high blood pressure.
- Make sure you get enough sleep every night. Making sure that you are reasonably physically active will help you achieve this. Try sipping hot camomile tea or milk with honey at night to help you sleep.
- Do pelvic floor exercises (also called Kegel exercises). You can also get more information on these from your doctor, midwife, or medical team.
- Also avoid any kind of activities that might put you at risk of falling, such as gymnastics, horseback riding, and downhill skiing. This is critically important, as a fall could seriously hurt the baby.
- Never scuba dive while pregnant. Doing so could cause many lasting health problems for your baby because of the gas bubbles that will get into its blood.
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