The days before birth can be an exhausting, uncomfortable and frustrating time for a mother to be. Thankfully, there are a number of natural ways to induce labour which you can practise safely at home, or with the help of a licensed professional.
Here are 15 methods to induce labour which have proven highly effective in the past and which could work for you:
1. Reduce stress
Waiting around for the birth can often cause internal stress levels to rise, which in turn may delay the natural onset of labour. When a ‘whole life’ approach is taken regarding natural ways to induce labour, it’s encouraged to look at the woman’s internal and external environments to assess levels of stress, fatigue and fears surrounding the birthing process.
2. Try acupuncture
Performed by a licensed acupuncturist, this natural way to induce labour opens up the energy pathways from foot to head, providing for a whole body relaxation that can aid in labour.
3. Stimulate your nipples
Stimulating the nipples by hand or with a breast pump can release oxytocin, which can cause uterine contractions. With a breast pump, you can stimulate the nipples and areola for five minutes, repeating every 15 minutes for one hour.
4. Gain mental clarity
You may be prepared for the baby with physical things (their room, the car, the house, etc), but how are you feeling mentally? If you feel any sort of anxiety, stress, fear or unpreparedness surrounding labour, birth and life with a baby, it is very possible that your emotions are telling your body to not go into labour.
5. Indulge in a massage
Best performed by a registered massage therapist who specialises in prenatal care, induction massage concentrates on the areas of the piriformis and gluteus muscles, to open up the mother’s hips. Be sure to get up slowly following the massage and support your belly as you may physically feel it drop.
6. Have sex
Semen has been known to help ripen the cervix since it contains prostaglandins, and the female orgasm can bring on uterine contractions. As long as your water has not broken, sex is one of the most effective natural ways to induce labour.
7. Consider Homeopathics
Herbal remedies can be highly effective natural ways to induce labour. Most commonly used are the herbs blue and black cohosh. Always get advice from a naturopath or doctor for the safest and most effective dose.
8. Discover acupressure
There are certain pressure points on your back, inner ankle and the webbing between your thumb and index finger that can trigger contractions. Apply pressure to these areas for two to five minutes, repeating every 15 minutes until contractions are strong and regular.
9. Drink red raspberry leaf tea
Drinking this tea daily, approximately three to 12 cups, can help establish a regular contraction pattern. This herb is known as a uterine tonic that strengthens the uterine muscle and makes contractions more effective.
10. Eat castor oil or spicy food
Essentially these natural ways to induce labour work by inducing peristalsis of the intestines, which can trigger uterine contractions. Use with caution and under the recommendation of a certified naturopath or doctor.
11. Get active
Activities such as climbing the stairs and doing lunges help to open the hips, and getting out into nature can aid in your body being more in tune with the process of labour.
12. Take evening primrose oil
Found in your local drug store among the vitamins and supplements, evening primrose oil helps to soften and ripen the cervix. You can take this orally by swallowing two to three 500 mg capsules daily or take it vaginally by inserting two to three capsules directly to the cervix before bed. Of course, check with your doctor before taking any supplements.
13. Book a stretch and sweep
Performed by your obstetrician or midwife, a stretch and sweep is the stretching of the cervix and sweeping of the membranes. You can expect tenderness and some bleeding from the cervix.
14. Rely on gravity
Often when you lie down or sit, your contractions will slow and sometimes even stall. To establish a regular pattern, try standing as much as possible or use the support of a birthing ball.
15. Relax with a bath or shower
Sometimes allowing your body to rest is effective in the overall process of labour. It can aid relaxation which can help bring on contractions. That is actually often used as a test to see if what a mama is experiencing is actually labour — if the tightening, cramping and pressure goes away when in the bath or shower, then it is most likely not labour.
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