Reasons to Have a Doula or Midwife for Your Birth
Do the pregnancy or birth processes seem a little daunting? Doulas and midwives are great people to have by your side during the birthing process. Read why!
Pregnancy is a beautiful process, but when you’re toward the end, you’re probably ready to meet your baby sooner rather than later! If you’re due soon, there are some activities you can do to help naturally induce labor. Read on to see some methods that can help naturally induce labor and help you see your little one as soon as possible.
Before getting started, it is important to note that it is advised you speak with your healthcare provider to determine which activities work for your lifestyle and progress in pregnancy. Avoid consuming anything such as supplements before consulting your doctor. It is not recommended to try to induce labor before 39 weeks, especially at home without medical supervision, and the safest labor is one that happens on its own. In fact, naturally-occuring labor can mean better development of your child and easier postpartum recovery for you.
That being said, there are some easy and generally harmless ways to help naturally start labor if you have gone past 40 weeks and want to safely try to get the ball rolling. Many might be anecdotal and not backed by many studies, but many parents swear by some of these techniques. At the very least, these activities can help manage your pre-birth stress so you can feel your best when you do go into labor!
There’s a reason why exercise is mentioned on almost every health list, and it’s because it has so many benefits. While pregnant, especially if you are close to or past your due date, you’ll want to keep exercise pretty minimal to avoid any energy or exhaustion. Taking a simple stroll around the neighborhood can be enough to raise your heart rate to improve blood circulation, relieve stress, and some even say it can help move your baby into a better position to start labor – even though there’s no scientific evidence. Either way, it’s nice to move your body!
Speaking of moving your body, having sex is an often-suggested activity to help induce labor naturally. You might not be feeling in the mood at this stage, but if you are, it doesn’t hurt to try as long as you don’t have placenta previa. Studies are mixed on whether sex actually helps naturally induce labor, but there are some potentially promising outcomes. Semen contains cervix-softening fats called prostaglandins, which may help induce labor, and orgasm can lead to strong uterine contractions.
If you aren’t in the mood for the above, then a massage might be a good alternative. Getting a massage can help raise your body’s level of oxytocin, a hormone that can help bring on labor contractions. Some massage therapists focus on natal massages, helping expecting mothers find relief. This could also be a great time to work in some acupressure, which some studies suggest may help naturally induce labor. No matter what, you get to have a nice, relaxing massage, which might help take your mind off of your due date.
Changing up how you sleep might not induce labor, but it may help your body and your baby get in the right position to make labor a little easier and ready to go. The progression of labor may be impacted by the position of your baby, and sleeping in new positions can help guide their head toward your pelvis. When sleeping, avoid lying on your back and instead lay on your side as far to your stomach as you can. Getting some comfortable sleep can also help your body feel healthier and more relaxed.
Castor oil is often mentioned as a natural way to induce labor, as it causes intestinal spasms that may stimulate your uterus into having contractions, but there are potential side effects such severe stomach upset – definitely not something you want to deal with while in labor. Eating spicy food may have a similar, but more manageable, effect. Though there is very little science to support this, many expecting parents have gone for their favorite spicy meal to try to help move things along. It might cause heartburn, but you might also get a tasty meal and labor out of it!
This might be the most frustrating suggestion, but it might also be the best! As mentioned before, the safest labor is one that starts on its own. While it can feel overwhelming to get close to your due date or go past it, your body is moving at its own speed and doing what it needs to do. Practicing the above activities may help increase your enjoyment of the final days of pregnancy, but there is no guarantee that they will help induce labor. Being patient, on the other hand, is almost always successful! Get rest, eat well, and reduce your stress while you wait.
If you are expecting and are in your last few weeks, you’ve got this! You have had an incredible first, second, and third trimester, and you will be able to meet your baby soon. If you are concerned about missing your due date or are too uncomfortable, speak with your doctor to find the right solution for you, and discuss the best natural ways to induce labor. While it’s easier said than done, stick through your final days of being pregnant and you will have an amazing reward!