If your due date has come and gone with still no sign of baby, you are not alone. In fact, fewer than 10% of women actually give birth on their due dates. While that last stretch can be a frustrating combination of exhaustion, discomfort and excitement to meet your little one, it’s important to remember the due date is really more of an estimate than an exact science.
Women have been having babies since the beginning of time and the birth of a baby is a process that unfolds naturally when your baby is ready. While it’s not uncommon for doctors to induce labor, this is not typically done unless a medical need arises. Caregivers will often choose to induce if a pregnancy goes beyond 42 weeks. At this late stage the quality / function of the placenta can be compromised, amniotic fluid can become low or tainted with meconium, and the continued growth of baby can make delivery difficult for both mother and child.
One of the most common questions asked by women approaching or past their due dates is what can be done to induce labor naturally. While there are no proven, non-medical way for inducing labor naturally, the methods below are some of the most popular ways women try to stimulate labor. As with anything related to your pregnancy, it is important to check with your doctor or midwife regarding safety before attempting to induce labor yourself.
Making Love – Sex is what got you in to this situation in the first place and as it turns out, it just may be what could get you out of it as well. Semen contains prostaglandins which are thought to soften or ripen the cervix and stimulate contractions.
Walking – Many women believe a nice long walk was all it took to kick-start their labor. Walking will serve to move your baby further down in to the pelvis placing pressure on your cervix and potentially bringing on contractions. If you choose to go this route, don’t overdo it as exhausting yourself during a long walk could deplete your energy leaving you completely spent with nothing left to put towards your delivery should it actually get started after your trek.
Breast / Nipple Stimulation – Another popular way to naturally bring on labor is through breast /nipple stimulation. Doctors agree this can cause the release of oxytocin which is known to induce labor.
Acupressure – Different from acupuncture, which can only be done by a trained professional, acupressure involves placing pressure on specific points in the body. There are four areas in particular that have been associated with inducing labor. One is on the hand, another on the foot; there is one on the lower back, and the last one is in the neck. A quick internet search will provide details on their exact location as well as pressure application methods.
Eggplant- There is popular myth among mothers-to-be that eggplant parmigiana can induce labor. This can be a tasty way get things moving.
Evening Primrose Oil – Evening Primrose Oil can be taken orally in the form of capsule or inserted vaginally. Primrose oil is thought to produce prostaglandins which soften the cervix preparing it for delivery and potentially stimulating contractions.
Whether you opt to try one of these or sit back and let nature take its course, it’s important to discuss your options with your doctor or caregiver before attempting to induce labor on your own. Just remember, no woman ever stayed pregnant forever. Be patient because you’ll be holding your precious little one before you know it and soon enough embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. Don't forget to switch over to Promise Prenatal Stage 3 for recovery and breastfeeding once your bundle of joy arrives. From all of us here at Promise Prenatal, we wish you a safe delivery and a lifetime of happiness with your newest addition!