Natural labor induction options
I like to divide up the options into "Primers" and "Inducers."
The primers should be safe for almost all women and should be safe at any time in the weeks preceeding labor. The inducers
are best left alone until you are at least 39 weeks (or if you are trying to go into labor naturally and you have a medically
necessary induction scheduled prior to that date). For all of them it is best to talk to your care provider first. You are
likely to get different opinions. If that happens, consult reputable books and other sources of information to help you make
the right decision for you and your baby.
-Relaxation. Stress can supress the flow of oxytocin.
Sometimes reading a good book, going out to dinner or taking a warm bath can be the best things to bring on labor.
Semen contains prostaglandins which ripen the cervix. Orgasm can trigger contractions.
-Walking bouncing/rocking on
a birthing ball. Gravity can help the baby descend into the pelvis. Any pressure they put on the cervix can help make changes.
LEAF tea. Will help tone your uterus and make contractions before, during and after labor more effective. Buy this at health
food stores. Drink 1-2 cups a days starting any time in pregnancy. You can drink more cups as your pregnancy reaches term.
Just keep up with drinking water too.
-Evening Primrose Oil. It will help soften your cervix and hasten effacement
and dilation. Start around 37 weeks. Buy it at drugstores. About 1500mg a day either ingested orally or inserted vaginally
(lay down for a while after inserting).
-Nipple Stimulation. Releases oxytocin. Can be done
with hand or breast pump. Good alternative to pitocin to pick up labor as augmentation. Can cause contractions that are too
strong so it is best to do this with supervision. If you do this, stop as soon as contractions get started so you minimize
the risk of uterine hyperstimulation. Talk to your care provider before attempting this. Inadvertent n.s. durind foreplay
or intercourse shouldn't be to worrisome.
-Membrane Stripping. Stirs up prostaglandins. It is done by your care provider
using their finger to separate the amniotic sac from the cervix. B/c of the potential for infection and rupture of membranes
(though small, they are real) it is best to wait till 40+ weeks and do it as an alternative to chemical induction. Stick with
sex otherwise (same thing, less risky though). Be sure and tell your caregiver that you don't want this done b/c some do it
without your knowledge.
-Acupressure. There are various points that are supposed to trigger labor. One is the roof
of your mouth so suck on a lollipop or your thumb. The other is 4 fingerwidths up on your calf from the inside left ankle.
Apply pressure for 15 seconds, release and repeat.
Options that are best avoided (talk to your care provider for
sure before trying any of them):
-Castor oil. The biggest risk is dehydration from excessive bowel movements. This
can decrease the amniotic fluid levels and cause maternal problems as well. It can also cause cramping which is unpleasant
and possibly mistaken for contractions. Hemmorhoids as a result of the bms can be unpleasant. A really rapid labor is a possible
result too, especially if you take more than "recommended." There have been no conclusive studies indicating whether it can
cause baby to pass meconium in utero. Some moms take that to mean it won't happen; others take it to mean that it could happen.
One possible reason for a connection is that moms try this when they are post date and baby is already at a greater risk of
passing meconium. Impossible to know if it would have happened with or without the castor oil. Meconium would probably be
more a result of a fast labor (more stress to baby) than the castor oil. Castor oil can also not be undone if problems arise.
Finally, if your cervix is not favorable, you have very few prelabor signs and you haven't hit your EDD yet then the odds
of it working are not too high. If you are right on the verge of labor then it might cause some activity. Weigh out the pros
and cons before proceeding. If you still want to try it then stay safe by drinking plenty of sports drink.
Blue Cohosh can significantly raise your blood pressure. Black cohosh can too to a lesser degree. If you are anemic they can
be risky. There isn't enough known about the herbs to show that they are safe. It would be best to avoid the herbal methods.
Options for just about anyone
-Fresh pineapple, balsamic dressing, spicy foods, eggplant parmasean,
bumpy car ride, exercise... Some of them have some science behind them. Spicy foods can irritate the bowels like castor oil
but to a lesser degree. Fresh pineapple has some chemical in it that works as a prostaglandin to help ripen the cervix.
http://gentlebirth.org/archives/natinduc.htmlNatural induction methods
http://www.mother-care.ca/induction_meth.htmAccupressure points and herbs (not a great idea!)
http://www.birthsource.com/articlefile/Article44.htmlSex as a labor inducing method (and some brief nipple stimulation info)
http://www.parentsplace.com/expert/midwife/qas/0,,239755_100246,00.htmlPossible natural labor induction methods and potential risks
http://www.parentsplace.com/pregnancy/labor/qas/0,,239068_100422,00.htmlNatural Labor induction methods- Do they worK?
Truth and Myth of the Natural labor induction methods:
http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/62/71738.htm?printing=trueMedical and Alternative options for labor induction:
http://transitiontoparenthood.com/ttp/parented/pregnancy/induction.htmhttp://www.aafp.org/afp/20030515/2123.htmlCastor oil- Risks and Benefits:
http://www.storknet.com/cubbies/childbirth/exah2.htmMembrane stripping starts labor in 2/3 of women 40+ weeks pregnant within 72 hours.
I have used those links as sources. Also, the
Planning Your Pregnancy and Birth by the American College of OB/Gyns
The Thinking Woman's Guide to
a Better Birth by Henci Goer
Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn by Penny Simkin