A Natural Intervention is Still an Intervention
We have talked about what we recommend to our clients for helping prepare their bodies for labor as well as various tips for induction day but there are a lot of opinions out there about what else can help. “Natural” interventions or tips that can be recommended by your favorite Midwife Facebook, or Doctor Google can be great, but also dangerous if you do not have someone that understands what method you are interested in trying and your specific medical history.
Also, while these ideas are more “natural”, they are also still an intervention intended to help progress labor in a way that your body was not intending. And they can be wonderful tools to help start or continue your labor, but you should speak with your real midwife or doctor to ensure these interventions are safe for you! As your doulas in Raleigh, we are always available to help you talk through your options and help you reach a decision you are comfortable with making based on the information you have learned from your doctor.
Some of the most common natural tips for inducing labor are:
Many people claim to be essential oils experts, and many times they are not Certified Herbalists. Essential oils can be great, but they can also very dangerous if you have not been properly trained or had a thorough health history to understand how the oils will work with your body. It is important to talk to an expert in essential oils about which ones can benefit you, and which ones will not.
Walking and Exercise
Movement in generally is good. Especially standing because gravity will help have your baby’s head hit your cervix and get things warmed up. You don't want to do anything too strenuous, or anything that you have not been doing regularly during your pregnancy. Take this time to walk to get some ice cream, or hold hands with your partner, or watch your other children skip ahead of you. Exercise out of your normal routine is not recommended.
You will probably be given something to help ripen your cervix, and one of the main ingredients in those ripening medications is Prostaglandin. Prostaglandin is also an ingredient in sperm. Though there are no studies showing a direct link between sex and going into labor, it can be a great way to connect with your partner prior to the birth of your baby. But, if you don’t feel up to having sex, there is absolutely no reason to do so. And not having sex will not mean that your cervix will not be ready to birth your baby.
Drinking castor oil can clear out your bowels, and sometimes start contractions. However, the clearing out of your bowels can be very uncomfortable or embarrassing if you are not prepared for the effects of the oil. Definitely talk to your doctor or midwife prior to using as castor oil and really understand the discomfort you could experience if you choose to this method.
Herbs and Teas
Red Raspberry Tea and Black and Blue Cohosh Tea, in particular, are two common teas that loves to recommend. However, anytime you ingest something during pregnancy it is important to know how they will effect you, your body, and the baby. Checking with your actual doctor or midwife prior to having a tea or herb is highly recommended as some could be contraindicated based on your medical history, and/or your newborn’s health.
Evening Primrose Oil (EPO)
EPO comes in capsules that you can either insert into your vagina or take orally to help induce labor. While this has been practiced for centuries, there are no studies directly linking it to inducing labor. It may also help soften the cervix. However, it can be linked to gastrointestinal pain, headaches, and may act as a blood thinner. Because of these possible side effects, speaking with your medical provider is necessary before proceeding.
Acupuncture can be a great way to help release oxytocin and relax your body prior to labor. We recommend speaking with a licensed acupuncturist prior to your appointment to see if you are a good candidate to acupuncture and how amazing it can feel for both your mind and body.
Labor stimulating massage
Our massage therapist does a labor stimulating massage for clients past 40 weeks and with a doctor or midwife’s permission. This massage is not intended to induce you but rather relax your muscles, open your hips, and provide relief to muscles that may be sore or tight due to normal pregnancy discomforts. While you are obtaining permission from your doctor or midwife, you can also ask if there is any indication in your medical history that a massage might not be recommended for you.
We hope this gave you real reasons to speak with your medical team prior to any “natural” at home induction. But the most important aspect of the common natural induction tips is you will not have a failed induction if you do not try one or all of these!