As we all know, a normal pregnancy due date is calculated at 40 weeks of pregnancy. If you are beyond 40 weeks, you may feel uncomfortable, impatient and excited to get the birthing process started. However, if an induction date is coming and your baby still hasn’t given any signs, you might want to give them a gentle nudge. Besides medical interventions, there are also a number of natural ways to start labor to be tried at home.
Your labor is naturally controlled but you might need a little help in some circumstances. If your health care provider decides you and your baby would benefit from delivering sooner rather than later, he or she might suggest inducing labor. The first way to induce labor is by medical intervention and the other is through several tips at home.
Medical induction approaches
- Using medications
Your doctors can cause a contraction by inserting a tablet or gel into your vagina or through an IV. These medicines could include:
- Oxytocin: The body naturally produces the hormone oxytocin to stimulate contractions. Pitocin and Syntocinon are brand name medications of oxytocin. They can be given through an IV at low doses to stimulate contractions.
- Prostaglandin: Suppositories are inserted into the vagina during the evening, causing the uterus to go into labor by morning. One advantage of this method is that the mother is free to move around the labor room.
- Artificial rupture of membranes (AROM): Also known as amniotomy, this method may be performed by a midwife or obstetrician to accelerate labor. When the amniotic sac breaks or ruptures, the production of prostaglandin increases, speeding up contractions. In order to induce labor, some health care providers might suggest rupturing the amniotic membrane artificially.
Natural induction approaches
If you don’t want to induce labor artificially, there are also various methods of natural and non-medical ways to ripen the cervix and induce labor. However, further research is needed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of these methods. Some ways to start labor at home could include:
- Nipple stimulation: This is a natural form of labor induction that you can easily do it yourself with an electric breastfeeding pump. Nipple stimulation or breast massage might release the hormone oxytocin, which can lead to contractions. The concept is the same as when the baby nurses right after birth that help stimulate contractions and slow the bleeding.
- Exercise: Walking or stair climbing can get labor initiated. This way helps to stir your baby head downward in your body. Once the baby’s head puts pressure on the cervix, labor could start more easily. Try walking for 15-20 minutes or climbing one or two floors. Getting out in the fresh air can also be beneficial. Exercise by this way may also boost your energy.
- Herbal supplements: Evening primrose oil, which is prescribed in capsule form to be taken three times a day or rubbed directly on the cervix, is believed to help soften the cervix and prepare it for labor. Meanwhile, raspberry tea is often recommended weeks before the due date.
Before trying any natural methods, be sure to talk to your midwife or doctor. This is particularly important if there are any complications in your pregnancy.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: February 8, 2017 | Last Modified: December 9, 2019
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Inducing labor. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/induction-labour.aspx. Accessed August 11, 2016.