Saturday, January 23, 2010

Natural approaches to inducing labor

By MamaM

I was worried earlier today that I would be way overdue with this baby. I wouldn't really be bothered by this, but I know my doctors would be. They made me schedule an induction date at 41 weeks (Jan. 26) just in case, but it looks like baby may come any time now--I've been having regular contractions for the past several hours, though I think I've got a ways to go before they hit a minute long.

For the past several days, I've been trying some natural remedies to help move things along. Who knows? Maybe they've worked! I'll share some of them with you, but note, these remedies typically don't work and shouldn't be tried unless you are 40 weeks or over. The baby and cervix need to be ready for induction.

Walking: I've been working out my entire pregnancy, but for the past two months, it's been mostly walking on the treadmill. I've been walking at 3.0 mph for at least 45 minutes nearly every day to help jiggle the baby around and push her down lower into my pelvis. Walking is especially effective once labor has begun.

Sex: Yes, your husband/partner will be happy to learn that semen has prostaglandins in it that help ripen the cervix. Also been employing this method daily for the past week.

Clary sage oil: I bought a small vial of this essential oil last night and dabbed some on my neck and wrists. I'm actually not crazy about the scent, but it's supposed to help. I also took a shower with a few drops on a sponge.

Nipple stimulation: Rubbing or sucking on the nipples stimulates the release of oxytocin, a natural inducer that stimulates contractions. I tried doing this for a while, but then read that it may take up to three one-hour sessions for three days to be effective if contractions haven't started yet! So I quit. Another approach is to put a warm cloth across the nipples.

Massage: Thanks to a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law, I was able to get a one-hour pre-natal massage and 25-minute foot reflexology massage tonight. Heaven! Except that this was the time that my contractions started to become pretty regular. During my hour-and-a-half treatment, I counted 11 contractions that I really had to breathe through. Maybe it was the foot massage; there are certain pressure points in your feet that are supposed to help induce labor. Plus, anything that helps relax and de-stress the body and mind is good for mom and baby. It gave me good practice to relax my body and remain calm while dealing with some pain.

I had originally planned on tweeting during my labor, but we have failed to build a strong enough Twitter following and, truth be told, it was probably a little crazy to think I could do that. So instead I'm going to try to sleep off these contractions before heading to the hospital and within a few days, I hope baby and birth story are here to share with you!

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