I am now at 39 weeks and want my baby to arrive yesterday! I am ready to not be pregnant anymore. During my last visit to my obstetrician/gynecologist, I asked if there were any natural methods to help speed up the process and hopefully get this baby out!
Here are the tips that I would like to share with you that may help your baby make its appearance sooner than later. I was told that these methods only work if you are right at the edge of going into labor.
(Note: Always consult with your medical provider before trying any of these methods.)
- Sex. This is the last thing I want to do with the substantial watermelon that is taking up my entire midsection. They recommend sex every 4 hours to receive an adequate dose of prostaglandin. (I don’t know about you, but I cannot imagine having sex every 4 hours even when I wasn’t pregnant!) This method is supposed to help move things along by using the small amounts of prostaglandin found in each dose of semen to soften the cervix.
- Nipple Stimulation. This may release oxytocin, the natural form of Pitocin. You can rub your nipples yourself, have a partner do it for you, or run hot water over your chest for approximately 10 minutes, 3 times a day. My doctor said it may or may not work – but it is fun, so why not give it a go?
- Evening Primrose Oil. This may help to soften the cervix and act as a prostaglandin. Most medical providers recommend inserting a capsule at night right before you go to bed.
- Stripping or Sweeping the Membranes. This is usually done at 40 weeks and is performed by a doctor, nurse, or midwife. The medical provider places their fingers into the opening of the cervix and separates the amniotic sac from the uterus. The procedure can be pretty uncomfortable and feel like very strong menstrual cramps that may accompany spotting. I have friends that swear by this and have stated that their labor began the next day to two days after the procedure was administered.
There are several things that the ob-gyn stated do not work but many people will still try.
- Spicy food. This does nothing to help labor along, but could cause indigestion or heartburn in some women. I thankfully have not had any problems with spicy food, but many women cannot tolerate it during pregnancy.
- Walking. This is a great way to stay in shape, help alleviate hip and leg discomfort, help with varicose veins, and reduce stress. This might help women during the early stages of labor, but there is no evidence to suggest that it does anything to help induce labor.
- Acupuncture. This has not been studied in the United States but has been used in different parts of Asia for centuries to help kick start labor.
- Massage. This is something that several friends have told me helps to reduce the amount of time you are in labor, but I haven’t heard anyone state that it helped induce labor. If nothing else, it is something that feels good and is relaxing.
- Castor Oil. This can cause explosive diarrhea and dehydration. My medical provider is strongly against this method.
- Black or Blue Cohosh. This method can cause a lot of bleeding and may act like estrogen in the body. This was also something I was warned not to try.