labour

Inducing Labour Naturally – What Works, and What Doesn’t.

Many women, when they are in the last stages of their pregnancy, or are past their due date, start looking for ways that they can help Mother Nature along and get labour started. Some methods for inducing labour work, some don’t — some are harmless, and others ways to induce labour can be quite dangerous.

Ways to Induce Labor Naturally

1. Let’s Talk About Sex

Sex has long been thought to help induce labour – does it help or is this a myth that the men made up? While not certain, there is some merit to this theory; Semen contains prostaglandins, and prostaglandins soften the cervix and prepare to open. In addition, the women’s orgasm produces oxytocin, the hormone that causes contractions. So, while there may not be enough of these hormones to make a difference, it may be worth a try to induce labour!

2. Eggplant Parmesan

This labour induction method gained popularity when a news story began circulating about a restaurant named Scalini’s in Georgia. Apparently, in the past 23 years, over 300 women have gone into labour within two days of eating the eggplant parmigiana. It isn’t the eggplant or the parmesan, but rather the oregano and basil that are often in this dish that may have properties that may cause contractions. However, how much is needed, or how much is safe, is not known. So, enjoy your pasta, but do not go overboard or use essential oils of oregano or basil to try to induce labour.

3. Castor Oil

Castor oil causes diarrhea, and the cramps can cause sympathetic cramping in your uterus. However, this method isn’t proven, and it can actually be dangerous for both mom and baby. If the diarrhea is severe, the mom can become dehydrated and weak, and less able to handle the rigors of labour. I’d steer clear of this one.

4. Bumpy Car Rides

I have heard a lot of people say that they are going to riding in their truck on very bumpy roads to try to get labour started. Although believed by many and generally harmless as the baby is well protected in the womb, there isn’t any evidence that this will really work for inducing labor naturally.

5. Herbs and Homeopathics

Things like Blue or Black cohosh, red raspberry leaf tea, and evening of primrose oil are said by some to induce labour. There are various truths and fallacies associated with these (too many to get into here). Suffice it to say, there are some dangers and you should not try any of these without the direct care and supervision of your healthcare provider.

6. Stripping the Membranes

I can speak from experience to this method – it hurts like ^%$#*! My doctor recommended this as my blood pressure was rising and he wanted to move things along without using Pitocin (that I understand is awful) or other clinical means. Basically, the doctor inserts their finger(s) into your cervix pulling the membranes away from the mouth of the cervix thus stretching and irritating your cervix. Sometimes this will start the production of prostaglandins to start labour. I went into labour about 10 hours after having this done, but some women may need to have this done a few times in order for it to work.

Last Tip: Talk to Your Doctor or Midwife

Talk to your health care provider and take caution before using any labour induction technique. The main thing is to remember that, although it can be hard to wait, the baby will come when he or she is ready.

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Natural Labour Induction Methods

There are a lot of natural labour induction methods out there. Which ones work, and which ones are just dangerous? Eggplant Parmesan? Sex? Castor Oil? Herbs? Red Raspberry Tea? Find out – and share your comments below!

Labor Inducing Eggplant Parmesan

One of the methods of self-inducing labor that’s been sweeping the internet in recent years is the myth that eggplant will start labor. This maternity myth started when a news story began circulating about a restaurant in Georgia named Scalini’s. Apparently the mothers of over 300 babies have gone into labor in the past 23 years, within 48 hours of eating the eggplant parmegiana.

The funny part is, it may just be that the dish causes the women to go into labor, but it’s not the eggplant. The herbs Oregano and Basil have properties that may cause contractions, though it is not yet known how or in what quantities. This is why, in aromatherapy circles, these herbs and essential oils are to be avoided whenever possible during pregnancy.

Sex to Induce Labor

Semen contains prostaglandins. Prostaglandins cause the cervix to “ripen”, or soften and prepare to open. While it is debatable whether there are enough prostaglandins in semen to have any real effect, it is not a terrible way to keep hope alive and while away the last weeks of your pregnancy. Another great side effect is the fact that orgasms produce oxytocin, the hormone that causes contractions. So, between the two, there is a pretty good case for the cure for pregnancy.

Evening Primrose Oil and Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Neither will actually induce labor. While some lay midwives will argue that statement about the Evening Primrose, which is the reason it is not recommended until 36 weeks or “full term”, almost all sources with experience agree that it does nothing that the body was not ready to do on its own. I will repeat this at the end of this section, to make sure you understand this, as there is a lot of confusion and misconception surrounding these two substances.

Evening primrose oil is an excellent source of prostaglandins, which we already determined readies your cervix for labor. It can be taken orally as soon as 34 weeks, and can be applied directly to the cervix at full term (36 weeks). The general recommendation is two 500mg capsules per day until week 38, at which time you increase to 3-4 per day. The entire capsule can be inserted vaginally (inserted just before bed, it will dissolve before the first time you wake to use the bathroom), or you can use the oil on your fingers for your perineal massage, then also rub on your cervix (assuming you can reach it). Applying directly to the cervix is optimal, but the beneficial ingredients are absorbed through the external skin or the stomach also.

Red raspberry leaf tea is a uterine tonic used by Native Americans for thousands of years. It tones your uterus by helping to “focus” your Braxton Hicks contractions. Think of its job as helping your uterus do more effective exercising while you are pregnant. It does not “cause” contractions and can be safely used throughout pregnancy. It is contraindicated for those having complications “just in case”, however, by most doctors who do not understand its use. Many women safely use it from the moment they learn they are pregnant at six weeks until months after delivery. (It helps to tone the uterus after delivery as well, shrinking it back to size more quickly and reducing bleeding.)

Again, neither of these actually causes labor to start!

Please share your experiences in the comments section below!

More labour induction methods…

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When Men Experience Labour Pain

If you had the chance to have your husband or boyfriend experience what it was like to give birth, would you? Sure, many women who have given birth will tell you it is a pain like no other. And, I am sure there are many men who think it can’t be as bad as we make it out to be and that they would endure it better than the women. The screams and cries of a woman in labour have elicited fear and have been the topic of movies,comedy routines, and more.

Well, here are a couple of men who thought women exaggerate the pain. They were up for the challenge – with their wives are by their side.

Me? I think my husband has a solid appreciation for the pain of childbirth, and why would I want to inflict that pain on him (he’s a pretty darn good guy, after all)? What do you think?

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How To Prepare for Labour and Delivery

Although nothing anybody says can ever completely prepare a woman for the day she delivers her first baby, there are some simple suggestions that should help make this amazing experience a little bit easier.

First of all there are three very honest realities about childbirth that your doctor, mother, grandmother, and maybe even your best friend will probably not tell you.

1 – Unless you have an exceptionally carefree attitude about life in general, you will be shocked if and when your water breaks.

2 – Unless you have an extraordinary ability to see into the future, you will be scared to death during the first hour or so of labor.

3 – Unless you have an extremely high tolerance for pain, you will feel excruciating, seemingly unending waves of pain.

These simple facts come from personal experience and are not intended to instill unnecessary fear. Each woman’s experience is different, so not all details will apply to everyone.

But if you take the time to consider options to prepare yourself for that big day, you may benefit by being as ready as anyone can possibly be for the consequences of childbirth.

Believe this much for sure, you will appreciate almost any helpful hints you can remember when you realize you’re going into labor. Most pregnant people will find the following recommendations valuable for reducing stress for you and your labor partner on the day you deliver your first baby.

1 – Pack your bag to take to the hospital at least a month in advance. Nobody can positively predict your exact due date and your baby is actually the person who decides when your delivery will occur.

2 – Make a checklist for what you want to take. You should definitely include: a mirror and your makeup bag (believe it or not when you’re not staring at that little miracle in your arms, you will want to look at yourself especially when the parade of visitors start marching into your hospital room); two or three nightgowns (preferably comfortable ones that provide optimal coverage of your post-pregnancy physique); a hair brush and hair dryer (every hospital has showers, soap, and towels); an outfit to wear home from the hospital (and don’t choose cute little pre-pregnancy clothes because nobody loses the weight they gained in nine months immediately after giving birth and it will only annoy you if you can’t fit into the only outfit you have to go home in).

3 – Have a list of phone numbers of the people you can call any time of the day or night for help. (Don’t even try to handle it alone – YOU WILL NEED AND WANT HELP when this exciting, emotional event begins to occur.)

There’s several signs that labor has started. Warning signals vary from woman to woman. Some people know what it is the second it hits them, while others may not recognize what’s happening for hours. Don’t expect the promises or predictions made by medical professionals or even experienced great-grandmothers to actually come true for you. In most cases some combination of destiny and mother nature determine the details of your long-awaited delivery.
Some simple indicators that you’re going into labor range from a mild backache to piercing stabs of pain and vary from a feeling of general discomfort to an abrupt release of water.

Follow your instincts.

If you don’t feel right, but you’re not screaming in pain, call your doctor. If something suddenly takes your breath away, makes you feel faint, breaks you down to the floor or wakes you in the middle of the night, forget the doctor, stay as calm as possible and call for whomever can come to help you the fastest.If your water does break in the stereotypical way, gushing uncontrollably all over the place, don’t freak out. Maintain your control as much as humanly possible at this point and realize you cannot stop this rushing release running like a river out of your body. You can keep putting towels between your legs to try to soak it up, but your shorts or sweatpants are still going to get wet.

Don’t worry about what other people will think about your dripping drawers when you get to the hospital. You’re about to deliver a baby -you’re not supposed to look calm, classy, elegant or graceful! Just concentrate on getting to the hospital safely. You may feel like you’re in the middle of an earthquake that will surely destroy the entire planet and assume everyone else will realize the urgency of this occasion. But they probably won’t react with any alarm because the reality is your world is the only place that has been hit by this tidal wave of emotional trauma.

What to expect when you get to the hospital…

To wait and wait some more; to fill out forms; to find yourself pacing the halls until they assign you to a room; to see other women in similar situations; to be told your doctor has been delayed; to scream at your labor partner when he forgets what to say and what not to say to try to make you feel better; to forget something on your check list and to deal with the labor pain getting worse before it gets better.

What not to expect when you arrive at the hospital…

Everyone to accommodate you; everything to occur as you planned; any immediate results; everyone to be organized; your labor partner to be perfect; to find friendly faces among the other pregnant people; to hear your doctor tell you to start pushing your little miracle out as soon as he examines you; to get painkillers prescribed in mere minutes; and to be able to remember all the things you learned to try to prepare for this day.

Other Do’s and Don’t’s:

  • Do try to maintain your focus.
  • Do try to preserve your precious energy (You will need it especially if you happen to be one of those poor souls whose pregnancy just won’t end and your labor lasts for longer than a day or two)
  • Don’t hesitate to tell your doctor or nurses exactly how you feel.
  • Don’t hesitate to ask any question that pops into your head.
  • Do listen to what your doctor and nurses tell you.
  • Do listen to what your body is saying.
  • Do listen to what you’re feeling in your heart.
  • Do listen to what your labor partner is commanding you to do.
  • Don’t forget how long you waited for this day to arrive and how special this date will be to you forever.
  • Don’t forget how much you want this little baby to arrive healthy and what a blessing this tiny person will always be to you.
  • And finally trust your gut instincts, your doctor’s words of wisdom, your partner’s suggestions to soothe you and your ears when you hear the sound of your baby’s first cry announcing his official arrival into this world.

The rest of this incredible experience will probably proceed with no major problems, following the same intense, phenomenal pattern of the billions of births that occurred before the day of your delivery.

Believe it or not, no matter how much the pains of labor torture your pregnant body or how many hours the process takes before your first baby actually bounces into this world – you will forget about how much your killer contractions hurt and how time seemed to standstill as your labor lasted and lasted and lasted…

Also believe your life will never be the same from this day on. Your new job as a mommy will be the most rewarding, most exhausting, and most challenging career of your life. Nothing in the universe can begin to compete with the passion, love, and wonder you’ll experience as you watch this tiny person grow and you feel like he’s really your own heart and soul with little arms and legs.

Treasure every moment of the miracle of motherhood.

Danielle Hollister Web Site: Ezine for Writers – BellaOnline

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First Week Home with Baby

The first week of your baby’s life brings big adjustments for both of you. You are adjusting to being a mother and caring for your baby and your baby is adjusting to life outside the womb. It is a time of great joy — and possibly immense fear! Although you’ve been preparing for the birth of your baby for months, now he is here and depending on you for everything which can seem overwhelming. Don’t expect too much of yourself during these first days! If anyone offers you help — take it!

During your baby’s first few weeks of life, he will be concentrating on getting to know you and his surroundings. Your baby needs to be handled so that life outside the womb seems as little different as possible to life inside the womb. Your baby’s needs, while they may seem overwhelming to you, are really simple: food, warmth and comfort from cuddling. Wrap him snugly and warmly, hold him closely, handle him slowly, and feed him when he’s hungry. Your baby will have the routing and sucking reflexes as well as tongue thrust. These are needed to get nourishment from the breast or bottle. You can also use this time to bond with your baby with lots of skin to skin contact.

Whether you decide to breast or bottle feed, feeding in the first few weeks is not an effortless process. Try to have early feeding sessions in a quiet setting with as few distractions as possible. Make sure you are in a comfortable position as it takes new babies a while to eat and you don’t want to end up stiff and sore. Cuddle and caress your baby as feeding time is a wonderful opportunity to show your baby how much he is loved.

If you are breastfeeding, be patient while you and your baby are getting the hang of it! The benefits of breastfeeding are many and in order for it to be successful, it is important to start out right. Keep in mind though it may take several weeks until you both feel comfortable and get a feeding schedule down.

Most new moms feel and experience:

  • Exhaustion!
  • Bloody vaginal discharge for the first week or so
  • Discomfort or pain in the perineal area if you had a vaginal delivery
  • Incision pain or numbness if you had a cesarean delivery
  • Abdominal cramping (afterpains) as the uterus contracts
  • Elation or depression or swings between both
  • Breast discomfort or engorgement
  • Fears about your adequacy as a mother
  • Profuse sweating after the first couple of days

Although it may be tempting to try to be a ‘supermom’, now is not the time. The best advice that I received as an new mom was to accept the help of others, eat regular meals and sleep when the baby sleeps. Now it’s my turn to pass that advice on to you.

Natural Labour Induction Methods, Part Two

Castor Oil to Bring on Labor

First let me just say that I do not recommend this method. That is because I used it with my second child and it was just about the most horrible mistake I could have made (other than maybe getting another epidural, anyway).

The theory behind this induction method is that the castor oil causes diarrhea and the diarrheal cramps cause sympathetic cramping in your uterus, another smooth muscle. This is another of the methods that “won’t work if you’re not already ready anyway”, as the sympathetic cramping will be ineffectual if all conditions are not already optimal for labor. In my case, my contractions began 10 minutes after my first dose of oil, hours before the diarrhea began. Therefore, it could not have been the castor oil that brought on labor in my case, and I caused myself all that trouble for nothing.

There has been much debate over whether taking castor oil to induce labor will cause the baby to have its first bowel movement in the womb before birth. This pre-birth bowel movement, called meconium, can be dangerous, because if baby inhales some of it it can cause pneumonia in the lungs. Meconium is also a widely-held signal that the baby is in some sort of distress. Most professionals with any experience with castor oil inductions agree that this is untrue. They have found that there is no increased occurrence of meconium in castor oil induced labors over spontaneous labors.

The real danger lies in the mother when using castor oil for labor induction. With the severity of the diarrhea, a laboring woman can quickly become dehydrated. Especially in a typically highly managed hospital birth where a woman is allowed few fluids. Dehydration makes one tired and less able to endure through physical activity. Plus, not only does this endanger breastfeeding (proper hydration is necessary to make adequate milk), but a dehydrated uterus is an aggravated uterus, and an aggravated uterus causes more pain for the mother. More pain makes a woman less able to handle natural child birth and puts her and the baby at increased risk for a snowball of interventions.

Nipple Stimulation to Self-induce

This is a practice often recommended by midwives when a woman is long past due or when labor is stalled. Nipple stimulation causes the release of oxytocin, the same hormone that causes uterine contractions. Many women report, however, that the contractions produced from this method are much stronger and more painful than natural labor, but are not any more effective. Please note: In order to use this method for induction, you must stimulate the nipples for long periods of time. The usual recommendation is 15 minutes of continual stimulation on each nipple each hour for several hours. So, the amount of stimulation you may experience during intimacy, while nursing an older child, or while pumping your breasts while pregnant will not cause you to go into labor. The general recommendation on these activities is to abstain from them when your condition warrants doctor recommended pelvic rest. Please check with your practitioner before trying this.

Acupressure/Acupuncture for Inducing or Augmenting Labor

There are two points on your body that will cause uterine contractions. They are always warned against during pregnancy, though they are widely believed to be another labor inducing method that will not work if you are not already ready to deliver. These points are about four finger-widths above the inner ankle on your calf, and in the webbing between your thumb and forefinger. You will know when you’ve found the spot because it will be very sore. You rub your calf, or pinch the webbing on your hand, in a circular motion for 30-60 second at a time, taking 1-2 minute breaks in between.

Stripping Membranes

There is a procedure your doctor or midwife can perform called “stripping” or “sweeping” your membranes. The healthcare professional will insert their finger(s) into your cervix and sweep from side to side, pulling the membranes (bag of water) away from the mouth of the cervix and the lower uterus, and in the process stretching and irritating your cervix. Sometimes this will generate local production of prostaglandins and enough of the necessary hormones to start labor. Sometimes it takes 3 or 4 attempts to begin labor. Many women find this to be a very uncomfortable, if not painful, procedure. This is a medical intervention and should be taken as seriously as any medical induction method.

Herbs and Homeopathic Remedies

All substances that would fall in this category, such as Blue and Black Cohosh are general considered to be as unsafe as medical interventions, and if they are to be used must be used only under the recommendation and supervision of your doctor or midwife.

More…

Jessica Hudson is owner of Eva Lillian Maternity & Nursing Boutique. She is not medically trained and is not recommending any of the above. She has compiled this information from many different authoritative sources, and provides the above for informational purposes only. To read more such articles, please visit
http://www.evalillian.com/articles.html