Labor induction refers to the stimulation of birth contractions during pregnancy to achieve a vaginal birth before labor begins on its own. Unless there is a medical issue, (if the health of the mother or child is at risk) most doctors recommend allowing labor to happen naturally. However, if you’re full-term and you feel that induction is the best option for you, consult an experienced OBGYN in San Antonio before proceeding. It’s important to first understand the risks and reasons for labor induction before undergoing it to ensure that you and your baby remain healthy.
If you are over 40 weeks pregnant, you can easily stimulate labor contractions using acupressure techniques. Examples of such techniques include massaging pressure points in your hands and feet such as, slowly rubbing the webbing between your thumb and index finger, or pressing the spot slightly above the inside of your ankle bones.
Go on light, regular walks on flat surfaces to stimulate the baby to move into the birth canal and induce labor. Wear comfortable shoes and avoid straining yourself. Massaging your nipples in a motion similar to how your baby will nurse releases chemicals into the reproductive system that cause the uterus to contract, thereby inducing labor. Lastly, try exercises that move the hips and legs around such as squatting, rolling your pelvis in circles and walking lunges. They may stimulate water to break and induce labor.
Foods and Supplements
Another method of inducing labor is incorporating labor-inducing foods into your diet. These include spicy dishes, eggplants, pineapple, balsamic vinegar, and basil, among others. Make sure they are all healthy foods that will not negatively affect pregnancy. If you want to add labor-inducing castor oil, talk to your doctor first. Castor oil should be taken when you’re about 40 weeks pregnant. Drinking castor oil may cause dehydration from diarrhea or make you too tired to deliver effectively.
You can also try labor-inducing herbal supplements such as raspberry leaf tea or primrose oil. Consult your doctor about the benefits and potential risks of herbal supplements and take them with caution as some may be harmful to you. They are mostly consumed orally but some can be used vaginally. Raspberry leaf can also cause diarrhea.
For most expectant women, doing regular exercises and physical activity is safe. However, the doctor or midwife may advise against specific types of physical activity depending on your overall health and that of the unborn child. If you have a heart condition, anemia, a weak cervix, Placenta Previa, or other such complications, the doctor may advise you to avoid exercises. Generally, high-impact exercises that significantly increase your body temperature should be avoided. Stop exercising if you experience symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, swelling, vaginal bleeding, or regular contractions.
If natural methods don’t work for you, discuss medical induction methods with your physician. He or she may suggest methods such as stripping your membranes, artificially rupturing your membranes or they might decide to give you medications. Stripping your membranes involves the midwife or doctor inserting a finger into your vagina and moving it around in order to separate the membrane of the amniotic sac from the uterine wall. The doctor may also physically rupture this membrane, and in the process break your water. If both options seem intrusive, the doctor will recommend medications such as oxytocin or prostaglandin to soften the cervix and stimulate labor.