Ways to start off labour naturally – ridiculous old wives tales or valid methods ?
Posted February 16, 2008on:
As you approach the end of pregnancy you can bet that somebody somewhere will give you some kind of advice on how to kick start the impending birth. As an impatient and inquisitive mum to be I have looked into such things and the fact seems to stand that it’s baby that starts off the process, although know one knows how it is reckoned by the medical powers that be that the bubs in the belly releases a hormone that kicks it all off.
At this late stage in pregnancy is where there seems to be mass clashing of the general medical doods (yes, thats a technical term, I just decided) and slightly crazy, hormone fuelled impatient mums to be all hyped up on wanting their little bubs to finally arrive. It’s easy to see how a pregnant woman after pushing 40 weeks of being occupied by a little human being draining her of goodness and making her swell to biblical proportions can get a little fed up. For example, I didn’t think I had gotten that big until now when I woke up a few days ago and realized that I am a gargantuan beast and now I long for the day when I can finally ditch the maternity clothes and get back to my jeans. It is also perfectly natural (at least I tell myself this) that towards this late stage that your mind gets pretty preoccupied with baby thoughts, after all there’s the whole giving birth thing – I have to keep telling myself that yes it bloody hurts but that it’s not going to last forever and that the pains bringing me little Bean (though don’t try telling me this when I am demanding gas and air like a diva as I’m likely to tell you to bog off). Nights get filled with baby related dreams, this week so far in my dreams I have given birth, left my baby somewhere and forgotten where that somewhere is and been a soldier shooting Nazis ( though I don’t think thats a typical maternal type of dream!). And when I try to keep myself occupied doing stuff I get a lovely kick from Bean, yesterday afternoon I saw a small lump of what I took to be a foot sticking out at my left hand side. Basically my point is that most pregnant women, if they are honest get very fed up towards the 40 week mark.
Medical types however think with a clear head and let us know, to our disgust that there’s no actual medically proven way to help kick start labour and even if a woman says ” I tried eating a really hot curry and went into labour that night” they shoot her down in flames by saying it was probably just a coincidence and give such helpful sayings as “baby will come when baby’s ready”. In fairness every pregnant woman knows this secretly but is in denial !
Anyway I round off with a list of “natural ways to tip you into labour”that I have found out so far. As for whether any of them work is not for me to say or recommend but some of them are funny. I am of the opinion that these things have been devised to do more to keep pregnant mums busy rather than actually helping starting labour….
- Sex – ah the old favourite, have sex, depending on the individual by this late stage you’re either lovin it or hating it. I did find some research that suggests that oral sex , ie. swallowing , gets more prostagladins into you as the guts absorbs it better, although you may prefer to keep this nugget of info to yourself else…
- Castor Oil – yuck, tastes like poop , word on the street is that it can be mixed with orange juice and drank, though it does tend to settle into layers. Some people recommend whooping it up in a blender with ice cream and banana. Sounds lovely till you realize that the whole point to this is to make you make you have one big bowel clearout that may trigger off the uterus to contract. If it worked then ace, and some women swear by it, however I would be more concerned with an hour on the loo and some bad ring sting not being what you want imminently before labour…
- Walking – yes we all walk but a long walk is given time and time again as a method. I can attest to this working for me on more than one occasion following a “sweep” but then again things may have started anyway. My tip is that if you’re going to channel an energy burst and go off mooching about for hours that you at least take a mobile with you !
- Raspberry Leaf Tea – ahhh my nemesis. Views are divided on when’s the safest time to start taking this, 36 weeks is the safest bet. First and Second trimesters not a good time as it can make your uterus contract a bit. Medically it’s linked by a fair bit of research to giving you more effective contractions and a shorter second stage of labour so I have been taking it on and off for a couple of weeks now. I bought mine from Whittards in tea bag form but word on the street is that Holland and Barrat do a tablet form as it must be said the tea is an acquired taste. I drink the tea when cooled down cold with a smidge of blackcurrant squash in, but try not to look in the cup its like green bog water. Will it help labour? I’ll let you know !
- Nipple Stimulation – sounds good, until you discover it’s not the kind of thing you can incorporate into a romantic moment with a loved one or any form of self gratification. Oh no my friend its 15 minutes each nipple over several hours in the hope of stimulating your body to release a hormone that may trigger labour. Initially sounds fun, then, lets face it would get a bit boring and I for one and not prepared to sit there for hours rolling my nipples like some kind of odd bod.
- Eating fresh Pineapple – meant to help you release the enzyme bromelain that in turn softens the cervix. This means eating fresh pineapple only (not canned or juice as the enzymes get lost in the canning process apparently). But we’re not talking about a bit of pineapple, you would need to eat loads of fresh pineapple to get anywhere near the levels of enzymes needed. It’s more likely to act like castor oil and lead to not so fun times on the loo.
- Eating Curry – again it seems if it makes you pooh it’s a goer!
- Blowing up balloons – creating abdominal pressure to shove bubs down !