Natural Ways to Start Labour

Natural Ways to Start Labour

Have you got a little bit of get this baby out-itis? Check out our tips for helping.

So by this point you’re probably answering every call with “Hi, no the baby isn’t born yet”, you probably have 22 unread messages some from people you didn’t even know were following your pregnancy (no, Jade, friend from 8th grade, I probably won’t let you know when labour starts) and you may be totally.over.it.

So, what can you do to help?

The first one is probably an eye roller because you’ve probably been told a million times, but try and remind yourself that baby will come when they and your body are ready.

Some light stats on spontaneous birth to help (based on first time parents)

  • Only 4-5% will birth on their due date
  • 26% will birth between 37 – 38 weeks
  • 57.5% will birth between 39 – 41 weeks
  • Only 6.5% will birth at 41 weeks or later

 

If you’re into affirmations, there are a few which may help you:

There’s beauty in the growth of my belly and the rest of my body. My baby is getting healthier and stronger.

Any day now, my life will change for the better with you in it.

My body knows when and how to birth my baby.

Outside of mindset, there are some things proven and some not, that are believed to help get labour started if your body is already on it’s way and becoming ready. It is important that you are full term to try most of these (outside of those that are safe the whole way through pregnancy), and it is recommended to discuss with your doctor before trying so they can consider your individual medical situation.

  1. Exercise (without overdoing it)– Exercise can be anything that gets the heart rate up, such as a long walk or cleaning. Even if this method doesn’t work, it’s a great way to relieve stress and keep your body strong for the task ahead. Curb walking is a good one to add to this (one foot on the road and one foot on the curb) – be sure to use caution though if you are near where there may be cars. Another one is gently bouncing or rocking on fit/birth ball.
  2. Sex - Theoretically, there are multiple reasons why having sex could start labour. For example, sexual activity, especially having an orgasm, can release oxytocin, which may help jumpstart uterine contractions. Also, for pregnant people who have sex with men, there are prostaglandin hormones in semen that might help ripen the cervix. Having sex is safe during the final weeks of pregnancy for most people, but you shouldn’t have sex after your water has broken. Doing so can increase your risk for infection.
  3. Nipple stimulation - Nipple stimulation can stimulate oxytocin production. Oxytocin is the hormone that causes the uterus to contract and the breast to eject milk.
  4. Acupuncture - Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years. The exact way that acupuncture works is unclear.
  5. Eating dates - Some research shows that eating dates in the final weeks of pregnancy increases cervical ripening and cervical dilation at the start of labour & decreases the need for Pitocin use during labour
  6. Relax – This one goes against exercise, but the need for everyone may be different so it’s great to try both if they are suitable for you. It is believed that our body may not produce the hormones needed to start labour if we are stressed or overly fatigued – this is based on the idea that our body wants to ensure we are in a safe environment before we bring our babies earthside. So a relaxing bath or meditation may just do the trick
  7. Raspberry leaf tea – Drinking tea or taking the capsules can aid to tone the muscles of your uterus so they work more efficiently in labour. It is recommended to start taking it from 34 weeks, but if your past this and you’ve not started yet then it may still help to get your body prepped. Some people believe taking a lot at the end of your pregnancy can start contractions and whilst the jury is out on this one there are worries that large amounts right away can cause strong contractions which can distress baby. So, whenever you start taking it, it is important to gradually increase the amounts starting with one cup or capsule a day.
  8. Eating pineapple - Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which is thought to soften the cervix. One pineapple contains a very small amount of bromelain, so you’d have to eat a lot of pineapple for it to have much effect, which probably wouldn’t be great for your stomach. But this one is great, if you already enjoy pineapple in general amounts.
  9. Clary sage – Clary sage oil has been shown in some cases to increase the levels of oxytocin in your body, which is what starts and continues contractions. Be sure to look into safe use of oils though and definitely double check this one with your doctor.

 

I hope this has given you all a few ideas as potential options, it is important though that you check them all over with your doctor or midwife though as we cannot assess your medical situation and do not offer this as medical advice.

Did you feel any particular methods worked for you?

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