by Andrea Stainbrook
For many pregnant women there comes a point where you are ready to be done being pregnant. You want to meet your baby! Sometimes it is out of eagerness, or sometimes it’s because you have been past your due date…for a while. Sometimes your doctor lets you know a medical induction will be happening soon so you want to do everything in your power to coerce this baby to come on its own if you can. Whatever the reason we are all in search of safe things we can do try to and convince our babies to emerge.
First off before doing anything that may be known to cause labor you should check in with your care provider. They will advise you if the option you want to do is a good fit for you.
The number one thing to do is to get oxytocin flowing.
Oxytocin is known as the “love hormone.” This hormone is important as it plays a huge role in labor. It causes your uterus to contract! So releasing this hormone is a good way for a body to potentially go into labor.
5 Ways to Stimulate Oxytocin
- RELAX- Being chill creates a perfect, comfortable environment for oxytocin to be released. If you are tense, anxious, or fearful you may release adrenaline which will actually counter the oxytocin.
- SEXY TIME- Orgasms release a burst of oxytocin. So getting in the mood will help your body get in the mood to give birth. If your partner is a male, the sperm acts as a cervical ripener which is a bonus. Even just simply being romantic helps. Watch your wedding video, or reminisce about the day you first met.
- NIPPLE STIMULATION- Our bodies release oxytocin when a baby latches to nurse. By stimulating our nipples we can get our body to react in a way that is similar to when a baby is trying to feed. The trick here is having someone else stimulate your nipples. Breast pumps can be used, or a partner can hand express your breasts to simulate that body sensation of nursing your baby.
- MASSAGE- Relaxing into a massage is a good way to get that love hormone flowing. Whether a partner or a friend is willing to help or you go to a massage therapist, the results should be a more relaxed mood and oxytocin release.
- FEEL GOOD ACTIVITY- Watch a silly rom-com that makes you smile! Cuddle with your partner! Cuddle your older kiddo! Take a stroll in nature. LAUGH.
If you are feeling good, relaxing the best you can, and releasing oxytocin, you are setting yourself up for labor to begin. Stressing out raises cortisol levels and adrenaline. These fight the hormones that make it easier for labor to start. A relaxed body is one that wants to go into labor.
Other labor inducing ideas:
Getting up and moving is believed to be helpful. It causes your pelvis to move and open. This helps the baby navigate its way down and perhaps baby gets the message to begin labor. Walking, bouncing on an exercise ball, and doing some squats are ok things to try. Swimming is great to alleviate the gravitational pull on your belly. Dancing is a fabulous way to incorporate movement and release the love hormone at the same time! Turn on some music, sing along, and go to town!
Some may use food as a means to start labor. Some of these have scientific backing and some have anecdotal backing. These are good to again mention to your care provider as each provider has their own lines of thinking about these.
- Dates (These have some science that shows it helps ripen the cervix when consuming 6 a day for 4 weeks.)
- Pineapple (No official studies exist on eating fresh pineapple per se but it contains an enzyme believed to soften the cervix.)
- Eggplant or Spicy Foods (The idea is these upset your digestive system, which then can upset your uterus and cause it to contract.)
- Bananas (The thought process behind these are to help you maintain proper potassium levels so that your muscles contract normally.)
- Thyme tea (Is thought to bring on uterine contractions.)
- Red raspberry leaf tea (Although there is currently no scientific evidence supporting it as an induction method is believed to help tone the uterus.)
- Licorice root (Real licorice, not the candy 😉 , contains the chemical
glycyrrhizin. This chemical may increase the production of prostaglandins.)
Another option is trying holistic care. Acupressure points can be used. Some massage therapists may be trained in this knowledge. Regular chiropractic visits with a Webster Technique trained chiropractor can help keep your pelvis aligned and your baby in a good position.
As you are waiting for the big day of the birth of your baby you may want to try some of these. Bottom line do what feels good to you and only do as much as you want to do. Doing all the things doesn’t necessarily increase your chances. Only your baby will truly decide when the perfect time is.