Natural Methods of Labor Induction

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You’ve waited for the last nine months to meet your little one! You’ve been growing a baby for almost a year! And now your ankles are swollen, your back hurts, you have heartburn and you can’t sleep. Growing your baby is hard work!

You’re almost to your estimated due date (EDD), you’re almost 39 weeks, so you begin to think about maybe getting this kiddo here a little sooner. Just by a few days. So you do a google search! And you compile a list of every natural method of labor induction you can find – everything from spicy food at that great little restaurant on Sunset Blvd, to Chiropractic care combined with Acupuncture.

Maybe you read a few blogs about the prostaglandins in semen and decided to get cozy and increase some oxytocin. Maybe the thought of doing anything other than holding hands causes more stress than you’d care to think about. But then again, maybe you read this article in About Health, and found that sex may not start labor.

Perhaps you’ve read about acupuncture and are ready to book your appointment immediately, and WebMD seemed to confirm it’s effectivity, but your co-worker had acupuncture treatments and is convinced that they did nothing.

In this information age, there is so much content available to us, and most of it is contradictory. And unfortunately,  – or fortunately, depending on how you look at it – there is no answer for the question, “how can I naturally induce labor?”

So you call your doula.

She tells you that each woman is different. Each baby is different. Because there have to be synchronized hormonal releases from your baby, your cervix, your placenta and your pituitary gland, there is no sure fire natural method of labor induction. If all of the other factors are already in place (your baby is in an optimal position, your cervix is ripe, your bags are packed and YOU’RE READY), then any one of the methods listed above might be just the trick to jump start your labor.

BUT, if your baby is not in position, your cervix is not ready or anything else is not in place for this birth, then you can swallow all the castor oil in the world and it’ll only result in some very uncomfortable toilet time. And even though the last few days are hard, sometimes REALLY hard, there are some amazing things going on inside your body and your baby’s body. Cutting that time short may result in some challenges for baby. The March of Dimes has some very sobering stats on pre-term birth.

So in an effort to reduce pre-term birth, ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) has released some guidelines regarding inductions and have found that limiting elective inductions prior to 39 weeks drastically reduced admissions to NICUs. So maybe you decide that you can wait a few more days. It’s still uncomfortable, but your doula has a few fabulous ideas for that back pain, and she’s got just the right words of comfort and encouragement.