In the long run, it doesn't matter if your baby is one of the 9% who are born on their due date, if they were a few
days early, or many days late. However, during pregnancy, the waiting game can feel a lot more stressful than it will when you look back. You are likely uncomfortable, sleepless (though not as sleepless as you will be later), and tired of people telling you to be patient.
Labor induction is something best left to the experts. However, if you are close to your due date (especially if you are past it), and your baby is showing few or no signs of being ready to deliver, below are some safe methods you can try. Every women is different so keep in mind that for some these works wonders and for some it just doesn't.
Need tips on on labor and delivery, click here, and for post partum recovery - click here. For nursing click here. (feel free to browse for tons more on pregnancy, and baby care).
9 ways to safely and naturally induce labor:
1. Sex: Supposedly the most effective method is to have (safe) sex, however this may be when your husband is least inclined. It is however, safe - will not hurt the baby and no dads, no matter how well endowed you think you are - the baby cannot hold on, will not get "dented" and cannot see it. Now the tough part is getting the almost mom in the mood too. If your water is broken please avoid anything internal as you will risk introducing an infection into your womb.
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2. Bouncing ball: Not to do any fancy moves just to sit on it and bounce slightly. This will help get baby's head engaged and in the right position to move down. Try not to visualise a ball coming out and you should be good to go!
3. Walking: Walking is great for getting the head engaged and walking up stairs in particular is extremely effective, I had to walk a few floors due to electric issues the day I went into early labor with my son, who was showing no signs of coming 2 weeks early like he did. It's not easy, or comfortable (specially since you are waddling not walking at this point), and I would not recommend doing it alone at 40 weeks pregnant, so take your husband or someone with you along for the exercise.
4. Evening primrose oil: is known to soften the cervix. You have to however make holes in the tablet and insert it as far into your cervix as you can. It supposedly makes pushing easier too, but I would personally be worried about infections, so make sure your hands and everything else you touch at the time are really clean. Incase you are wondering what happens to the tablet, or shell it dissolves. Some women start this process daily at 36 weeks, but please wait until you are full term or have an Okay from your doctor (or some indication that your baby may be late).
5. Vinegar: in a shot glass, like a shot, every day. Balsamic works fine, but as a shot is quite ghastly.
6. Red Raspberry tea extract: is actually safe while nursing too and is recommended to make your letdown reflex while nursing start faster. Start this a little earlier, and it may even help prime your cervix into labor. The science behind this is the oxytocin release, that causes contractions, and is also responsible for milk flow.
7. Breast pump: Nipple stimulation of any form is helpful but the breast pump for a few minutes a day will get that oxytocin following too, which causes uterine contractions and sets you up for dilation. It's traumatic, to see what the pump does to you before you have milk flowing (I had tried it on to figure it out before my son was born), but in desperate times..
8. Pineapple & unripe Papaya: Pineapple is known to help you get your period when you are late (it never worked for me with my severe polycystic ovarian syndrome, but I know people who swear by it). Similarly, it helps some go into labor due to the enzyme bromelain which softens the cervix. Unripe papaya which is unsafe during pregnancy as it contains a substance called latex that can send you into early labor, may now give you the push you need. Large amounts of these fruits are needed to do the trick, so stock up.
9. Spicy food: Spicy food can have a laxative effect on your cervix just like on your bowels and is recommended for sending you into labor. It is not fun though if you have severe heartburn and are guzzling antacids with the spice.
Wondering why I left out the one that's supposedly most effective? Castor oil!
It is apparently the most effective but is also extremely unsafe as it has a very strong laxative effect that will affect you on the delivery table but can affect your baby and cause them to pass a motion (of meconium - early poop) in the womb. This can send them into distress and may cause you to need a C-section. It is not recommended by professionals and I've even heard a rumor that there are some countries where the mother can get into trouble with child protective services for using castor oil. So, stay far far away, moms.
And hang in there, while your child is literally hanging out in there. It seems like forever, but your baby will be here soon.
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