So many of my friends are pregnant!!! I must admit, ask me after my first pregnancy and I was jealous of any pregnant women I saw. Three pregnancies later and looking at a pregnant woman, well let’s just say there are no jealous feelings anymore. Being up all night getting belted around in the ribs doesn’t carry the same kind of gushy mum to be as it once did.
Having been fortunate enough to carry three pregnancies to term, my first time mummy friends will often come to me for advice.
One of the topics that always comes up is “at the end of my pregnancy what can I do to induce labour?” This conversation usually starts around the 30 week mark. It’s that mark that says you are almost there but really another 10 weeks is still a bloody long time.
My answer is always the same. Once you have gone through a full pregnancy the general urgency to get the baby out should subside, well it did with me anyway. When you’re nearing 40 weeks and if the baby is happy and you’re healthy what’s another day cooking!
This is probably why Autumn came 10 days past her estimated due date…… yep, 10 days. It’s seems unusual that OB’s and midwives will let women go that far anymore, that or we are just getting way too impatient and busy, but after a little begging on my hands and knees my OB agreed to let me hang in there (with some close monitoring of course). The baby was happy so I was happy. I felt no need to be dragging her out because once she was out she was out for good.
My OB gave me until +10 to naturally go into labour or I was to be induced. I am not against being induced but I still don’t see the need to get things going if everyone was healthy. Why the rush!! I also wanted to give having a natural birth a go and going into spontaneous labour was my best chance at achieving this.
So, to get my labour going here are the list of things that I tried. Please note, do not try any of this without speaking to your doctor.
1: Drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea. Raspberry Leaf Tea is a uterine toner and can put a woman into labour. I started drinking this at 32 weeks. Some would say this is way too early and for some women it definitely will be. For me, I had a cup and felt absolutely nothing which was an indicator my body is not sensitive to the tea. I started on a cup a day and worked my way up to literally sculling litres of the stuff by 41 weeks.
2: Evening Primrose Oil Capsules to ripen and soften the cervix. At 34 weeks I started inserting evening primrose oil up my lady bit before I went to bed. I started with one capsule and worked my way up to 3 closer to my due date. It’s supposed to take up to 2 weeks to work.
3: Walking. I walked and walked and walked and by the time I was 41 weeks I was running. Running up anything I could find. Stairs, hill you name it. I must have looked like a total crazy woman.
4: Bouncing on my fit ball. I did a lot of fit ball work through my pregnancies to encourage the baby to be in the best position for birth (read my article about why here).
5: Curry. I think I ate curry for a full two weeks, the hotter the better. Did anyone say burning ring of fire?!
6: Acupuncture. I started with acupuncture at 38 weeks. My acupuncturist started off very soft and by 41 weeks was so intense it was rather uncomfortable.
7: Massage and pressure points. I would go and see the all-time pregnancy guru Gabby Targett from A Labour of Love. She was my biggest support in trying for a natural birth and did the ultimate pregnancy massage whilst working on my pressure points. At my last massage I cold definitely feel my uterus kicking into gear when she pushed on the ‘spots’. It was quite a surreal feeling and I’m sure helped get things going.
8: Sex. Look, we tried. Enough said about that….
9: Homeopathic drops. I drank two bottles of some concoction.
10: Nipple stimulation. I tried it, I didn’t like it. But I did give it a fair crack once I started having contractions. Anything to give labour a good kick along.
11: A stretch an sweep. Ask your OB….
12: Drinking Castor Oil and orange juice. If anyone is about to slap me for encouraging this please stop now. I am not encouraging or advising. I’m talking about what I tried myself. I drank my first concoction at 40 + 5 days. I knew I was on a time limit and time was running out fast. The first time I took it I didn’t feel any different, it just made me go to the toilet. I tried it again at 41 + 1 days. I don’t’ know if it was the contractions of being cleaned out on the toilet or if it was actually doing something but I definitely felt that wave of menstrual cramps start to kick in. After a couple of hours though, there was nothing.
My contractions started the next day at 10am (41 + 2 days). What kicked it in do you think? I have no idea. Surly by then I was bound to go into labour at some point wasn’t it?!
Despite all of my efforts to go into natural labour I still had Autumn at 41 + 3 days and from first my contraction at 10am I was still 2.5cm at 5am THE NEXT DAY. I was under the false assumption that at least all of my efforts would amount to a quick and successful dilation?!
The universe had other plans and 30 hours from my first contraction to my last heave hoe my beautiful Autumn came into this world. She is the strongest, most defiant child I have ever met and I still believe she was in my tummy saying go away mum, this is my choice, I will come when I’m ready.
She came out sleeping and feeding well and was an absolutely perfect little girl.
I find that if a baby is happy and healthy and able to come into the world when they are ready, they greet us with strength and a readiness to attack this amazing world we live in.
Many of my friends swear that some of these methods worked for them so whatever you decide on your journey good luck!!! And a huge welcome to the little miracle on the other side.
Do you think anything worked for you?