Advice on how to bring on labour if you are waiting for your baby to arrive with information on popular natural remedies you could try.
If your due date has come and gone with no sign that your baby is ready to make an appearance it can be incredibly frustrating. While there is no denying that your baby will be born when he or she is ready, there are a few remedies you can try to help spur their arrival on a little.
While the vast majority of 'natural' labour induction remedies are based on old wives tales rather than scientific recommendations many women swear by them to give their expected babies a nudge in the right direction. However, there is no guarantee that they will work for you, although at least giving them a try will give you something to occupy the wait!
It is important to note that you should always consult your midwife or doctor before trying any labour induction techniques especially if you have experienced any medical complications or difficulties through your pregnancy. You should also refrain from practicing labour inducing techniques until you've reached your due date.
So if you've been okay-ed by your Dr here are some remedies you can try to bring on labour naturally....
Take a walk - Going for gently walks (making sure that you don't overexert yourself and wear yourself out before labour starts) is thought to help bring on labour as the movement encourages your baby to adopt an appropriate birthing position and engage their head if they have not done so before. Additionally, being in an upright position enables your baby's head to exert pressure on your cervix and this helps to stimulate the release of oxytocin, the body's contraction hormone.
Have a relaxing bath - Some believe that you won't go into labour until you are mentally ready so if you are feeling anxious about the impending birth taking a relaxing bath can help. Try adding a drop or two of clary sage essential oil as this is this is thought to help reduce labour stress and may even stimulate uterine contractions. You could also ask your partner to give you a relaxing massage.
Stimulate your nipples - Periodically stimulating your nipples is thought to bring on contractions by 'encouraging' the release of oxytocin into the body; this hormone plays an important role in the dilation of the cervix and in uterine contractions throughout labour. Oxytocin is also involved in the release of milk during breastfeeding so by mimicking a baby's sucking action labour may be cued. The idea is to gently massage the whole areola area of each breast with the palm of your hand. You would need to do this for roughly 15 - 20 minutes several times a day but when effective this is said to bring on very strong contractions so approach with care!
Eat spicy foods - Many swear by eating spicy foods to bring on labour however there is little evidence that this is actually the case. The theory goes that as the cervix and part of the digestive system are connected by the same neural network, stimulating one will stimulate the other. It is certainly true that the bowel is often stimulated during early labour as the cervix begins to dilate however there is little evidence that the reverse is true. It is on this believe that caster oil is often recommended - take heed, this is unlikely to speed things up and instead may make you very sick and dehydrated which isn't a great way to start labour. So, if you enjoy a nice spicy curry then why not indulge just in case but if you have a sensitive stomach or suffer with heartburn it may be better to give this remedy a miss!
Try Raspberry Leaf Tea - While raspberry leaf tea is thought by many to bring on labour it is actually more effective in preparing and strengthening the uterus for a smoother birth. It can be taken in tea or tablet form after the 34th week of pregnancy and while it may not make baby come any earlier, it may make the birthing process a little easier.
Acupuncture and homeopathy - Complementary therapies can be useful in relaxing you in preparation for labour and can also be used throughout to reduce discomfort and stress. Some believe that when carried out by a qualified practitioner they can also help to induce labour.
Have sex - If you feel up to it having some pre-baby sex can help to bring on labour. The movement can help to stimulate the oxytocin release that initiates contractions (this hormone is also produced during orgasm so it needn't be full sex if you can't negotiate it!) and semen contains prostaglandins that help to soften the cervix in preparation for dilation. While sex during pregnancy will not harm your baby, you should refrain if your waters have already broken as this could cause an infection.
Bounce on a birthing ball - Spending time sitting and rocking on your birth ball is not only incredibly comforting on your back and pelvis during the final stages of pregnancy but can also help to get labour started as it provides a gentle, less energetic way to get your baby into an optimum birthing position and encourage their head to engage.
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