Bringing on Labour
You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.
Franklin P. Jones
You’re as prepared as you’ll ever be – practically, physically and emotionally. The nursery is begging for an occupant. You’ve savoured the joys of pregnancy and endured the occasional hardships. Just one problem - you’re a week past your due date and feel like you may have dreamt it all - perhaps there’s no baby coming after all. They say all good things come to those who wait and you are determined to let your baby enter the world when it deems fit. But, your doctor has set an induction date and you’re starting to agree! Enough is enough after all.
Thousands of woman before you have given nature a helping hand and taken steps to bring on labour. Please remember, while you may be frustrated with waiting, you should never try to induce labour before your due date and always ask for the advice of a doctor or midwife.
Here are some suggestions that have helped others to get things going:
Oxytocin, a hormone that causes contractions, is released in the body when the breasts are stimulated. Therefore, gently but firmly massaging the whole areola may help to induce labour. Massage with the palm of your hand, for about 15 minutes per breast, several times a day.
Arguably the best method of inducing labour, having sex can help to stimulate the uterus into action and trigger the release of the hormone oxytocin. Semen contains a high concentration of prostaglandins which helps to soften the cervix in preparation for labour. While uncomfortable, having sex at this stage is perfectly safe unless your waters have already broken. Sex should also be avoided if you have a low-lying placenta or have had vaginal bleeding.
Going for a gentle walk can encourage your baby into a good position for labour and can help baby's head to exert pressure on your cervix. This in turn helps to stimulate the release of oxytocin - the ‘contraction hormone’. Remember to take it slow – you are not at your most limber right now and you need to conserve energy for labour!
Most importantly, have a massage and a long lazy bath and try to relax and not obsess about when labour will start – your baby will arrive and these few frustrating days will be quickly forgotten.