Common Question: "I am 39 weeks, the doctor, midwife, care provider says that while they support natural birth, if I go over 40, 41 (insert number), they will induce me. I want to avoid an induction, what natural means can I use to induce labor?"
We are ready at the end to have our babies, aren't we?
This question usually brings on a flurry of activity, opinions, ideas on what actually starts labor. First of all, we need to look at the facts.
For each person, the reasons may be different as to why a care provider may be suggesting an induction. Most of them, have protocols they have set up and follow. Unless there is a medical reason or it is a law, you usually have an option to opt out of their normal protocols and choose an alternative course of action. An induction is not something they can force on you, unless you or the baby is in medical need of it, even then, it can be difficult.
You are not trying to be difficult. You just want what is best for your baby, so you turn to "natural" methods. You are done being pregnant and since the care provider has said the baby is ready, you are ready.
First of all: We need to know what has to happen in order for labor to begin. There is a series of events that have to happen. Generally, while preterm labor can be an issue, often, in a healthy pregnancy, labor begins when the baby decides it is ready to be born.
(Science of what happens)(Layman's article on the same topic)
When the baby is ready, the hormones are released to begin the process of labor. However, if these hormones are stirred, and baby is head down, but not quite in the right position, often contractions start, stop, start, stop. This can also happen with larger babies, uterus that needs a little more exercise, or positions like posterior, breech etc. Or if the mom has encouraged labor on her own with herbs, castor oil or other means.
The hormones are often not steady when they are being induced by alternative means, natural or otherwise. Drugs used for inductions are often powerful enough to override the hormones and induce labor anyhow, but sometimes they can even fail.
The danger in natural induction methods, especially when not overseen by a medical professional is the risks of overdosing on herbs, exhaustion, lack of sleep from up and down contractions, dehydration, and others. Often moms will have lack of sleep and when labor really hits, they are too tired to go through it and put themselves at risks of other interventions.
Here are some articles to read on the pros and cons of natural and drug induced induction.
My encouragement to mothers is to have patience. The baby usually knows when it should come. If your doctor insists on medical reasons for an induction, pay close attention. Check out the baby. Listen to your doctor and weigh what they say with care. They care for you for a reason.
However, research the pros and cons of induction and discuss them with your doctor and why you are not wanting to go that route. Ask them if there would be any reason why you cannot have a couple more days and then reevaluate.
Here are some things usually that you can do, without risk, in most cases, to you or your baby. As with any exercise or regime, speak to your care provider before beginning anything.
At 32-34 weeks, I recommend all mothers, if okayed by their care provider, begin seeking chiropractic care on a weekly or twice weekly basis to help with position.
Regular exercise should be repeated, walking, swimming and other low level forms of exercise.
At 38 weeks on, I recommend a repeating pattern of exercise to help encourage a good position. This is if the baby is in a head down position.
25-30 pelvic tilts - Rest
25-30 hula hoop motion in either direction on an exercise ball- Rest
10 lunges with leg up on chair on each leg - alternating legs (View this to see what I mean by lunges Lunge-Spinning Babies)
Repeat this pattern twice a day. When you get closer to your due date, repeat this more like 3 to 4 times a day. The repeating motion helps encourage the baby into a good position, which also will help your aches and pains as well.
These exercises can be repeated while in labor as well!
In the end, research even natural methods of natural induction. They are not always worth trying!
Babies usually come when they are ready! Labor is much easier when left to it's own timing usually as well.