BodyICE Woman

Natural Ways to Induce Labour

Tips for Going Into Natural Labour

Going into labour can brings great anticipation and a rollercoaster of emotions. Constantly wondering, is today the day?

As your due date creeps up, you might be wondering how you can help to get the process started and avoid an induction of labour. There are some natural methods that you can try to help you bring on labour after 37 weeks’ gestation. It is important to always check with your healthcare provider before trying any methods to naturally induce labour.

Breast Stimulation

Breast stimulation has been shown to reduce the number of women who require an induction of labour within 72 hours. Breast stimulation promotes the body to release oxytocin (the love hormone), which causes uterine contractions and therefore beginning labour. Stimulation of the breast and areola for 60min a day can increase the peak oxytocin level in the body and therefore naturally induce labour within 72 hours. Each breast should be stimulated for 15 minutes on each side and alternated for a total of 1 h per day. Stimulation can be in the form of antenatally expressing colostrum or by massaging the breast and nipple.  For any breast tenderness during pregnancy, try warming the BodyICE Woman Breast Pads and placing on your breasts for 10 – 20 minutes.

Breast pads for tenderness

 

Dates

Dates to start labour

Eating 6-7 dates (60-80g) a day from 36-38 weeks has been shown to decrease the need for induction by 50%, encourage the cervix to start shortening for labour and decreasing the length of labour by around 4 hours and decrease the risk of having a postpartum haemorrhage (blood loss greater than 500ml) after birth. Dates contain serotonin and linolenic acid (which is broken down into prostaglandins). Serotonin can contribute to smooth muscle contractions and linolenic acid can help to ripen the cervix (when converted to prostaglandins).

Sex!

Semen contains a hormone called prostaglandin, which helps to soften the cervix to encourage labour to start. It is important not to have sexual intercourse if your waters have broken as this may increase your risk of infection. If you aren’t feeling up to having sexual intercourse, being intimate with your partner in other ways can also help bring on labour. Oxytocin (aka the love hormone) can also be released through cuddling, dancing, talking and being close with your partner.

Gravity

Being upright helps your baby move further down into the pelvis, putting pressure onto the cervix, encouraging it to start changing for labour. Going for a walk can also improve your mood, reduce anxiety and relax you – which can all help you with going into labour. Some great ways to utilise gravity include: going for a walk, gutter walking (one foot up on the gutter, one down on the road) and bouncing on a birth ball.

Gravity for natural labour

 

  

Acupuncture and acupressure

A trained health professional inserts thin needles or applies pressure in specific points in your body to help you relax and encourage labour to begin. Available evidence suggests that acupuncture and acupressure can help prepare the cervix for labour within 24 hours.

Remember, a watched pot doesn’t boil…

So, try your best to distract yourself and enjoy the last few days of being pregnant (easier said than done sometimes). Try to have some fun, laugh and be silly with your partner to get your natural oxytocin flowing.

 

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