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Preparing For Labor

Natural Labor Inductions

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.

The Primers:

-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.

-Sex. 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.

-Raspberry 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).


The Inducers:

-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.

-Herbs. 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.


Fine Options for just about anyone
Miscellaneous Methods:
-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.

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Natural labor induction
http://gentlebirth.org/archives/natinduc.html

Natural induction methods
http://www.mother-care.ca/induction_meth.htm

Accupressure points and herbs (not a great idea!)
http://www.birthsource.com/articlefile/Article44.html

Sex as a labor inducing method (and some brief nipple stimulation info)
http://www.parentsplace.com/expert/midwife/qas/0,,239755_100246,00.html

Possible natural labor induction methods and potential risks
http://www.parentsplace.com/pregnancy/labor/qas/0,,239068_100422,00.html

Natural Labor induction methods- Do they worK?
http://www.parentsta.....article.asp?id=1481&sourceloc=MyYahoo

Truth and Myth of the Natural labor induction methods:
http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/62/71738.htm?printing=true

Medical and Alternative options for labor induction:
http://transitiontoparenthood.com/ttp/parented/pregnancy/induction.htm
http://www.aafp.org/afp/20030515/2123.html

Castor oil- Risks and Benefits:
http://www.storknet.com/cubbies/childbirth/exah2.htm

Membrane stripping starts labor in 2/3 of women 40+ weeks pregnant within 72 hours.
http://pregnancyandbaby.com/inside/look/136.htm
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I have used those links as sources. Also, the following books:
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

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Preparing for Labor by Amber