Natural Induction Methods

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Methods to “Help Mother Nature” Along

Dear mommies to be,

If you are reading this, chances are you are at the end of your third trimester and you want to get things “moving along”, or you may be scheduled for an induction and desire to start labor on your own. The methods mentioned below are methods that I have personally used to effectively start my own labor. I have also seen these methods work well for many women.

* I am a firm believer that these methods will not work if your body and your baby are not ready! Please keep in mind that your body is very smart, and if these methods below don’t work for you there is a reason… please do not get frustrated! Before you know it you will be holding that sweet baby in your arms, you will be staring at those tiny pink feet, those perfect ten little toes…

1. Sex

How does it work?

* Semen contains a Prostaglandin, which can help ripen and “soften” the cervix. One study I read also found that a female orgasm may cause the cervix to dilate as much as 2 cm!

* Many women simply do not feel like having sex in their last trimester, or may not have a partner. If this is the case, move to step #2.

2. Evening Primrose Oil

Directions: * Take three capsules a day from the beginning of your 36th week until the beginning of week 37.

* Take 2capsules a day for the last three weeks of your pregnancy (starting on week 37).

* Starting on your due dateor39 weeks: Continue to take 2 capsules a day by mouth, and insert 2 Evening Primrose oil (gel- caps) in the vagina at bedtime.

What is Evening Primrose Oil and How Does it Work?

Evening Primrose Oil acts as a prostaglandin, which ripens or softens the cervix.

This ripens and softens the cervical tissues and increases the flexibility of the pelvic ligaments. This allows the baby to “engage” into the pelvis, which puts pressure on the cervix. This pressure on the cervix assists with dilation. You want to buy the oil capsules. You can usually find these at your local pharmacy or natural health food store.

3. Breast and Nipple Stimulation:

* Starting on your due date or 39 weeks. WARNING: Breast/nipple stimulation can be a very powerful and productive way to start contractions. It is NOT recommended for anyone less than 39 weeks!

* Start by applying warm compresses to both breasts

* Uncover one breast and apply an electric breast pump (most effective)

* Pump for 15 minutes, remove pump, and place warm compress back on breast.

* Repeat above procedure on the other breast.

* continue this alternation technique until you start having regular, strong, and rhythmic contractions (usually 20-30 minutes)

* Once you are having contractions that are regular, strong, and rhythmic, stop pumping.

* This is a good time to walk, as walking causes the baby’s head to put pressure on your cervix. Don’t overdo it! Go for a good walk 30-45 min, make sure to take a water bottle with you and drink!

* If your contractions begin to decline in strength or regularity, resume breast stimulation with breast pump for 5 min/side until the strength and regularity resumes. Contractions should be a minimum of (5) minutes apart lasting 60-90 seconds.

Common Questions


Q. How does breast/nipple stimulation work?

A. Breast/nipple stimulation causes the release of the hormone Oxytocin, which can lead to contractions. Pitocin (Oxytocin) is the medication that is given via IV in the hospital for labor induction.

Q. I do not have an electric pump… what should I do?

A. You can roll your nipple between your thumb and forefingers; it is also more effective if you can “express” some colostrum periodically to use as a lubricant. Expressing colostrum also aids in the release of the hormone Oxytocin.

Q. I was having regular, strong, rhythmic contractions but they stopped as soon as I sat/laid down… now what?

A. I would not repeat the pumping/stimulation process more than 4 times in one day. If it is not working then STOP! Take a warm bath, drink plenty of water, and get some rest! *This method will not work if your body and baby are not ready, get a good night’s sleep and give it another try the next day.

Q. I pumped and now I am having regular, strong, rhythmic contractions… what do I do now?

A. You want to start timing your contractions. Effective contractions that will cause your cervix to dilate should be at least 5 minutes apart lasting 60-90 seconds.

* This is a good time to take a warm bath, and try to relax. This is also a good time to “practice” your breathing and relaxation methods. I encourage patients to light some candles, put some nice soft music on, and even put a little lavender oil in the bath. *Keep drinking plenty of water!

* You can eat a light meal at this time (if you feel hungry at all)

Q. When should I go to the hospital?

A. When your contractions are 3-5 minutes apart, lasting for 60-90 seconds. It is very upsetting to go into the birth center/hospital only to find out that this is “false labor” and to be sent home! I advise patients to walk a little, take a warm bath, and lay down on your left side for 15 minutes or so. If you are still contracting, it may very well be time to go into the hospital!

* Contractions that are difficult to walk & talk through, and “stop you in your tracts” are typically contractions that are making a change to your cervix!