Expected Due Date. We know the date so well we can even dream about it. Not really that it matters that much though: only around 5% of babies are born exactly on their EDD. So when the day arrives, we are waiting patiently or impatiently. That might be the hardest emotional part of the pregnancy for some: I call it The Waiting Game. If you feel comfortable, you can try some things to try to induce birth naturally. I tell you about 8 different ones.
The Waiting Game
We wait to have contractions, for the waters to break, for the baby to suddenly pop out. And then we start counting the days as they pass. We wonder if there is anything that we could be doing to change the situation. The reality is that only when both the baby and the mother are ready labour will start. In the meantime, try enjoying the last few moments of being two human beings in one unique body and feel connected to your baby for when the time comes.
There are a few things that you can try to induce birth naturally. Some are evidence-based and others are ‘popular knowledge’. Remember that it’s your body and your mind and your baby is connected to these too. There are no tricks that work for everyone, so only try what you feel comfortable with. Please follow the advice of your midwife and GP and ask them any doubts.
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What can you do to induce birth naturally?
The enzyme bromelain is known to help the ripening of the cervix and soften the uterus. Plus, pineapple is a diuretic, that means it causes elimination of water through the urine. Consequently helping to move the bladder and might move the baby too.
Eat spicy food
Mexican or Indian food, for example. Some people say the baby will move more and it could start labour.
Walk, walk, walk
Gravity and the movement of your hips helps the baby to move down into the pelvis and make pressure on your cervix. If you go up slopes or stairs, the inclination of your body can help the baby to move down appropriately.
Raspberry leaf tea (not raspberry tea!)
Drinking raspberry leaf tea causes contractions in the uterus. It strengthens and tonifies the uterus and helps the muscles to start contracting.
Prostaglandins are the hormones used in some types of induction of labour. It is useful to know that the semen contains prostaglandins. In addition, orgasms release oxytocin which is a hormone that causes contractions in your uterus. However, if your waters have broken or your mucus plug has come out, it is not recommended to have sexual intercourses due to the risk of infection.
Stimulate your nipples
With your fingers or with a breast milk pump. Oxytocin also enables breastfeeding and produces breast milk. As mentioned above, oxytocin also causes contractions in your uterus. This is in fact why your uterus will go back to its normal size after giving birth: thanks to the oxytocin!
Acupuncture / Acupressure
Performed by a professional specialised in pregnancy and birth. Acupressure is a similar technique to acupuncture but it uses physical pressure instead of needles. The professional makes direct pressure in specific areas of the body to help induce labour.
They might give you instructions to do it at home with your partner, friend or family member: pressure in the area for a few seconds, rest for a minute and repeat, up to three sessions per day. The pressure areas our specialist suggested were: large intestine 4 point (LI4), spleen 6 point (SP6), bladder 32 point (BL32).
Try to not feel frustrated if nothing seems to work: it will happen sooner or later, when baby and mum are ready. Your body is the most comfortable place in the world for the baby right now, it’s hard to want to change that!
I truly wish you have a birth, feeling empowered as a woman and as a mother. You’ve got this!