Natural Ways to Bring on Labour
By Suzanne Swan
If waters have not broken, you can successfully start or accelerate labour by using the following suggestions. It is important to note that no natural course to starting labour will bring on a baby that is not ready to be born. All these methods act to increase the release of oxytocin and aid the strength of contractions.
If waters have broken, do not put anything into your vagina (ie. Penis, fingers, vaginal exams unless absolutely necessary). Take Vitamin C (calcium ascorbate powder) a half tsp every 2-3 hrs to prevent infection. Take your temperature 3 hourly whilst waiting for labour to start. See an acupuncturist or apply the acupressure points. Check the waters, they should be clear.
- Make love a lot - semen contains prostaglandins - get lots in there. Legs up the wall after making love
- Visit an acupuncturist
- Orgasms - whichever way suits you. Clitoral stimulation increases oxytocin, which increases uterine contractions
- Wash the floor, gently jogging, squatting up and down to assist baby's head to move down more (only if in anterior position), walk up a hill or walk up and down stairs.
- Evening primrose oil - to help ripen cervix (internal and vaginally)
- Homoeopathic Caulophyllum 200 - consult a homoeopath for exact dosage and use.
- Herbal tinctures specific for your case - consult a naturopath.
- Nipple stimulation- see below
- Acupressure points - most effective pressure points to induce labour
- Darkness and solitude can sometimes assist to accelerate labour, Releasing fears and feelings will allow the hormones to flow
- Spend time with a very new little baby. Or Watch a birth film.
- Relax and don't worry - visualize the cervix opening, labour is happening. The baby will come when the time is right.
How Does Nipple Stimulation Work?
Nipple stimulation should mimic the motion of a suckling newborn. When your nipples are stimulated in this way, the hormone oxytocin is released into your body. Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for uterine contractions during labour.
How To Do Nipple Stimulation
- Only stimulate one nipple at a time.
- Use your thumb and forefinger to gently roll roll your nipple.
- Start with your thumb and forefinger at the areola, and gently pull down over the nipple. This should cause the nipple to become erect. This can be achieved orally be licking (or gently sucking) the nipple. If using a breast pump, pump until the nipple is erect.
- Continue to stimulate the nipple for about a minute once it is erect.
- Take a break for 2-4 minutes.
- Then repeat the above steps on your other nipple.
- After you have waited another 2-4 minutes, repeat on the original nipples. Repeat this process.
Before having an medical induction, request a relatively simple hospital procedure of Membrane sweeping and stretching. – this involves insertion of the index finger and rotation in a circular motion on the cervix – this is believed to increase the release of prostaglandins. Labour may then commence within three days. Prostaglandin gel can bring strong contractions on however within 6 to 12 hours if it has no effect then an oxytocin drip is used. Request it be started slowly and build up slowly. Remain mobile. Try not to be hooked up to continuous foetal heart monitoring unless the baby is at risk. Instead request intermittent monitoring so you can move around and be comfortable. Alternatively, the use of breaking of the membranes to start labour is often followed by an Oxytocin drip if labour does not start within an hour after membrane rupture (request some more time to start labour yourself - walking stairs, nipple stimulation, SP6 Acupressure point). Try to avoid routine induction. Check that the risk of the baby staying in the womb is greater than the risk of induction. Opening a cervix before it is ripe can be painful path to take.