As your due date approaches, or perhaps you’ve passed it, most expectant moms are ready to give birth. You feel huge, uncomfortable, tired and just want the baby to come. At the same time, you wish to avoid an induction and go into labour naturally. If this sounds like you, did you know that there are several natural ways to help promote labour? Read on for my 5 top recommended ways to avoid Labour Induction.
1 Nipple Stimulation
Inexpensive, medication-free and allows control over the labour induction process. A large Cochrane Review in 2005 looked at the evidence for breast/nipple stimulation. When using the breast pump, significantly more women when into labor within 72 hours if they had an already ripened cervix. Nipple stimulation can also help reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage. Compared to pitocin (synthetic oxytocin), there were no differences in delivery rates, c-section rates or meconium staining. **Note that most studies are done in low-risk populations. How to perform properly? Start with one breast at a time and take breaks. For self-stimulation, most studies had patients perform for one hour, three times per day, alternating breasts every 15 minutes. When using a breast pump, set to ‘normal’ and alternate breasts every 15 minutes for one hour.
2 Birthing Ball
Birthing balls are excellent for relieving pain and increasing self-confidence during labour. It can help promote optimal positioning of the fetus and and reduce pain during contractions. As for labour induction, sitting on the birthing ball can relax important ligaments, tendons and muscles in the pelvic floor, and encourage the fetus into position for head engagement.
Delicious nutritious dates. They do more than help you poop during pregnancy. 6 dates per day for four weeks. (⅓ cup of dates fruit per day in grams) starting at 36 weeks of pregnancy has been shown to help ripen the cervix reduce the need for labour augmentation with oxytocin. Medjool dates are delicious and work really well in energy ball recipes
4 Natural Oxytocin Push
The ‘cuddle’ hormone, oxytocin initiates contractions during labour and helps with expulsion of the fetus. A disruption in the release of oxytocin can lead to stalled labour. If you have gone past your due date, we want to focus on activities that naturally increase oxytocin production to help initiate contractions. Going for a mani/pedi, getting a pregnancy massage, cuddling with your partner, walking the outside with the dog and having intercourse are all potential ways to naturally increase oxytocin. If you find yourself doing something as a chore (i.e. your doctor told you to have intercourse) and there is not actual enjoyment, this can only increase anxiety and make matters worse. Pick an activity you enjoy and stick with it!
Labour induction acupuncture can help with softening of the cervix, encourage proper positioning of the fetus, and improve pain management during labour. Women who receive acupuncture near their due date are more likely to labour spontaneously and less likely to require a cesarean section. Treatment success rates varies between individuals, depending on due date, number of previous births and pre-existing conditions.
Breech baby? Acupuncture can also helps! The best time to try and turn a baby is 32-37 weeks when the baby still has room to change in the uterus.
If avoiding induction is apart of your plan and you want some more advice, contact us today!
Dr. Laura von Hagen, M.Sc, ND always knew she wanted to be a doctor. Working as a teaching assistant for medical students during her Master’s, she saw first hand the damage poor diet & lifestyle, environmental toxins and stress can do to the body. She felt empowered to make a difference in our healthcare system, and choose to pursue Naturopathic Medicine. Prior to becoming an ND, she completed a Bachelor’s of Science with Specialization in Kinesiology at Queen’s University. Dr. von Hagen was then accepted into the exclusive Master’s of Science in Clinical Anatomy at Western University, where she travelled to Africa for a Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in Rwanda (MNCHR) internship with CIDA. It was on this life-changing journey she wrote her thesis entitled “Lifestyle Interventions for Improving Gestational Outcomes: A Cross-Cultural Report”. She has a clinical focus in hormonal disorders, reproductive health and fertility.
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