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Giving your baby a natural eviction notice.

August 30, 2010
By Laura Krueger Rowe

So our due date is next week.  Amazing.  Where did time go?
I belong to a website for pregnant women - and I feel like I’m the ONLY ONE in my “Due in September” board who is not trying every single trick under the sun to get the baby to be born early.  Am I crazy for enjoying pregnancy?  Am I weird to relish the feeling of this mystery person rolling around inside of me?  I mean, seriously - I”m not even to my due date yet!  Whats the rush?

Our second daughter came “late” - 11 days after her due date.  To be honest, it wasn’t until I reached 40wks and a couple days that I started trying some of the “natural induction” methods to increase chances of going into labor on my own.  I am quite fearful of medical intervention/induction - and felt that inducing labor naturally would be my best bet to keep on track towards a natural labor and delivery as we had planned. 

In this post, I’ll cover a few natural induction methods along with their pros and cons.  If you are in the same shoes as I am - please talk to your ob/gyn or midwife before starting any of these!!!!  It is also very important to remember that if your body is not ready to go into labor - nothing you can do/try will FORCE it to!!!

Evening Primrose Oil    
This is one I tried personally.  You can purchase EPO in capsule form and take orally or insert vaginally.  Evening primrose oil acts as a prostaglandin, which ripens and softens the cervix. 

Castor Oil
My midwife advised AGAINST the use of castor oil - so I personally have never done it - nor would I recommend it after doing my own research - but some women swear by it!  Basically - it works as a laxative - and the belief is that the constant going to the bathroom will cause labor to begin.  Sure, you’ll end up with horrible diarrhea - but the baby will come when you want it to.  Hmmm …  There is also some belief that castor oil increases the chance of your baby passing meconium while in utero - an often times risky thing.

Nipple Stimulation/Sex
What some couples would find to be the “fun” option (heck, better than awful diarrhea, right?) 
Its been shown that nipple stimulation and female orgasm release oxytocin - which can cause uterine contractions - which of course can lead to labor starting.  These techniques are especially helpful when the Mom-to-be is in stalled labor or already showing some signs of labor (ie: dilated but not contracting).  Also, semen has the highest amount of prostaglandins - which will help to “ripen” the cervix. 

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Another thing I personally tried. It serves as a uterine toner.  I actually drank it daily the last 3-4 wks of my pregnancies.  Not a labor inducer, necessarily - more like a labor helper!

Acupuncture/Acupressure
This is what I believe helped me the most my last pregnancy.  I was 41wks and 2 days pregnant and had an acupuncture session done.  I was a little nervous - I had never had acupuncture before!  But it was the most wonderful experience - leaving me relaxed and feeling wonderful.  That night and the following night I slept so well, which, for being 41wks pregnant, was amazing!!!  I woke up the next morning in labor - and in less than 5hrs after waking, our daughter was born.  After her birth, we figured out that it had been exactly 36 hours from acupuncture until birth.  So I highly recommend this option!

Sweeping/Stripping the Membranes
I have personally heard nothing good about this method.  I have had several friends who complained about heavy bleeding and lots of pain after having their membranes stripped - so it never appealed to me!  Basically, your care provider stretches your cervix open enough in order to manually strip away your amniotic membrane from the walls of the uterus.  Risks include infection and of couse - premature rupture of membranes. 

Black or Blue Cohosh
Believed to be useful in coordinating uterine contractions - take these herbs only with your care givers direction and supervision.  In rare cases, post partum hemorrhage has been linked to cohosh.

Spicy food, bumpy car rides, lots of walking …
Hey, if you can handle these things - go for it!  I’ve also heard of labor cookies, labor salad, eating pepperoni, eating eggplant parmesean, eating pineapple - I’m sure the list goes on and on!!!  Feel free to comment and add your own!

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