Induced labour is a medical treatment to start labour
Ask anything about induced labour
Can rubbing my nipples cause labor?
When a woman's nipples are stimulated, her body releases the hormone oxytocin -- the same one that kicks off labor by causing the uterus to start contracting. (Pitocin, the drug that doctors used to induce labor, is a synthetic version of oxytocin.) Rubbing nipples may start contractions, but is unlikely to trigger actual labor unless her body is otherwise ready (your cervix is thinning and dilating, too, for example). What's more, very long or strong contractions from nipple stimulation can even be dangerous for your baby's heart. As vaginal labor requires uterine contractions to move the baby down the birth canal, many women use nipple stimulation to try to encourage these contractions. Should I try nipple stimulation? Whether you’re still waiting to reach your baby’s due date, or the 40-week mark has already come and gone, you might be curious about natural ways to induce labor. With your doctor’s approval, there are some ways you can get things rolling at home. One of the most effective things you can do is actually nipple stimulation. Here’s what you need to know about this practice, how to do it, and what questions you’ll want to ask your doctor. Note: If you have a high-risk pregnancy, nipple stimulation might be dangerous. Always talk to your doctor before trying any induction techniques. Is it safe to induce at home? In a study published in the journal Birth, 201 women were asked if they tried to induce labor naturally at home. Of the group, about half said they tried at least one method, such as eating spicy food or having sex. You should always speak to your doctor before trying any induction techniques. That being said, the majority of home induction methods aren’t backed by scientific evidence, so their effectiveness is mostly measured by anecdotal accounts. The effectiveness of nipple stimulation does have some solid scientific evidence. But depending on your medical history, the method may or may not be safe for you to try. If you’re concerned with going far past your due date, here are some questions you might want to ask your doctor: What monitoring do you use after 40 weeks? What types of natural or at-home induction methods do you recommend, if any? What types of induction methods do you perform medically if labor doesn’t begin on its own? At what point would you consider medically inducing labor if it doesn’t begin on its own? At what point do you recommend I come to the hospital once contractions begin? What’s the deal with nipple stimulation? Rubbing or rolling your nipples helps the body release oxytocin. Oxytocin plays a role in arousal, initiating labor, and bonding between mother and child. This hormone also makes the uterus contract after labor, helping it return to its prepregnancy size. Stimulating the breasts may also help bring on full labor by making contractions stronger and longer. In fact, in traditional inductions, doctors often use the drug Pitocin, which is a synthetic form of oxytocin. In a study published in Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, a group of 390 Turkish pregnant women were randomly assigned to one of three groups during their labors: nipple stimulation, uterine stimulation, and control. The results were compelling. The women in the nipple stimulation group had the shortest durations of each phase of labor and delivery. According to the study, the average duration was 3.8 hours for the first phase (dilation), 16 minutes for the second phase (pushing and delivery), and five minutes for the third phase (delivery of the placenta). Even more interesting, none of the women in the nipple stimulation or uterine stimulation groups needed to have a cesarean delivery. By comparison, many women in the control group needed other induction methods, like synthetic oxytocin, to get things going. Over 8 percent of women in the control group had a cesarean delivery. How do I perform nipple stimulation? Before you get started, note that this method of labor stimulation is only recommended for normal pregnancies. Its effects in late pregnancy can be powerful. On the other hand, light or occasional sucking or tugging on breasts during earlier pregnancy is not likely to bring on labor. Step 1: Choose your tool For the best results, you want to mimic a baby’s latch as closely as you can. You can use your fingers, a breast pump, or even your partner’s mouth to stimulate your nipples. If you have an older baby or toddler who is still nursing, that might also provide good stimulation. Shop for a breast pump. Step 2: Focus on the areola The areola is the dark circle that surrounds your actual nipple. When babies nurse, they massage the areola, not just the nipple itself. Use your fingers or palm to gently rub your areola through thin clothing or directly on the skin. Step 3: Use care It is possible to get too much of a good thing. Follow these guidelines to prevent overstimulation: Focus on one breast at a time. Limit stimulation to just five minutes, and wait another 15 before trying again. Take a break from nipple stimulation during contractions. Stop nipple stimulation when contractions are three minutes apart or less, and one minute in length or longer. Always speak with your doctor before using nipple stimulation to induce labor. What are some other safe labor inducing techniques? You can also use nipple stimulation in combination with other natural labor inducing techniques. Most methods you’ll read about don’t have scientific backing, so don’t be discouraged if they don’t send you into the hospital in full labor soon after trying them. If you’re full-term and have your doctor’s permission, try the following: exercise sex spicy foods bumpy car ride evening primrose oil red raspberry leaf tea When should you head to the hospital? When the day comes, you’ll likely know you’re going into labor. You’ll feel your baby drop lower into your pelvis, lose your mucus plug, and you’ll probably start to get regular contractions. In the early stages of labor, these contractions may feel like dull pressure or mild discomfort. Start timing the contractions as soon as you notice them. In the early stages, contractions may be 5 to 20 minutes apart and last around 30 to 60 seconds. As you approach active labor, they’ll likely get stronger and more uncomfortable. The time between contractions will shorten to 2 to 4 minutes, and they’ll last between 60 and 90 seconds. If your water breaks before contractions begin, call your doctor to find out the next steps. Also let your doctor know if you experience any bleeding. Otherwise, you might consider heading to the hospital when your contractions have been just five minutes apart for over an hour. Your individual timeline will depend on a number of factors, so it’s best to always keep an open line of communication with your doctor. What’s the takeaway? The end of pregnancy can be a trying time. You may be uncomfortable, exhausted, and anxious to meet your baby. The good news is, no matter how you might feel, you won’t be pregnant forever. Speak with your doctor about what actions might be safe for you to try. Otherwise, try to have some patience, take care of yourself, and rest as much as you can before the marathon of labor begins. The bottom line Nipple stimulation is an effective way to induce labor, backed by scientific research. Massaging the nipples releases the hormone oxytocin in the body. This helps initiate labor and makes contractions longer and stronger. Speak with your doctor about whether nipple stimulation is safe for you to try. Feature Image Source
Is there a way to help my water to break at home?
Women can get their water to break with the help of a doctor, but it is not safe for them to attempt to break their water at home. However, there are many natural methods that women can use to encourage labor to begin once the pregnancy has reached full term. Can you make your water break at home? There are no proven safe ways for a woman to break her water at home. It can be dangerous if the water breaks before natural labor begins or before the baby is fully developed. During the natural process of labor, the water breaks when the baby's head puts pressure on the amniotic sac, causing it to rupture. Women will notice either a gush or a trickle of water coming out of the vagina. Many doctors say that women must give birth within 12–24 hours of the water breaking. After this time, a doctor may recommend a cesarean delivery to ensure the safety of the woman and the baby. This is because it is easier for bacteria to get into the uterus after the water breaks. This increases the risk of infection, which is a major complication that puts both the woman and the baby at risk. It may also make the birth more difficult. It is particularly dangerous to use artificial instruments to rupture the amniotic sac, as this can introduce bacteria into the uterus and cause infections. It could also injure the baby. How to induce labor safely? The end of pregnancy can be exhausting. People believe that there are many ways to induce labor, from eating spicy food to going for long walks. There is little evidence to support most of these ideas. However, the following methods may safely help to induce labor, if the woman's body is ready. Women should only consider using these techniques to encourage the natural onset of labor once the pregnancy has reached full term. They should also confirm first with a doctor that their pregnancy is a low risk. The following tips can help you induce labor: Have sex: Having sex, particularly vaginal penetration, may help to start labour. It is not clear whether this is due to hormonal changes, physical stimulation, or something else. A 2014 study found a link between having sex during the last week of pregnancy and going into labor. Women whose water has already broken should not have sex as this can increase the risk of infection. Try nipple stimulation: Nipple stimulation may be a natural way to get the body to release oxytocin, a hormone that plays a key role in both labor and breast-feeding. Learn more about how nipple stimulation can induce labor. Eat some dates: A small 2011 study asked women to eat six dates per day during the last 4 weeks of their pregnancy. The researchers found that 96 percent of the women who ate dates had spontaneous labor, compared to 79 percent of those who did not. The women who ate dates also had greater dilation of their cervix during labour. Content source Featured image source
Getting your baby into the right position for birth
If your baby is in a head-down position, with the back of his head slightly towards the front of your tummy (anterior position), your labour is likely to be shorter and easier. Most babies get into this position by the end of pregnancy. In an anterior position, your baby fits snugly into the curve of your pelvis. During labour, your baby will curl his back over, and tuck his chin into his chest. Your labour and birth should progress easily if your baby is in this position, because: During contractions, the top of your baby's head puts rounded and even pressure on the neck of your uterus (cervix). This helps your cervix to widen, and your body to produce the hormones you need for labour. During the pushing stage, your baby moves through your pelvis at an angle, so that the smallest area of his head comes first. Try putting on a tight polo neck without tucking in your chin and you'll understand how this works! When your baby gets to the bottom of your pelvis, he turns his head slightly, so that the widest part of his head is in the widest part of your pelvis. The back of his head can then slip underneath your pubic bone. As he is born, his face sweeps across the area between your vagina and back passage (perineum). Can I really make my baby get into the right position for birth? Adopting a hands-and-knees position for 10 minutes, twice a day, can help to move your baby into an anterior position in late pregnancy. This technique (OFP) is tried-and-tested. However, all doctors may not recommend OFP in pregnancy because of the lack of written evidence. Most doctors may still encourage you to try the positions during labour, as you may be more comfortable in them once your contractions start. You could try to stay in upright or forward postures regularly in every-day life, rather than for short bursts. But this might not affect how your baby lies at birth. How can I improve my baby's position during labour? If your baby is in a posterior position when labour starts, you can still use postures and movements to try and help your baby to turn and relieve your pain. It's common for posterior babies to change position during labour, and most get themselves into an anterior position by the pushing stage. You may feel slight niggling pains for several days before labour really starts. This can be tiring, but may be a sign that your baby is trying to turn into an anterior position. You may find that one of the best positions is on all fours. In this position, your baby drops away from your spine, helping to relieve backache and hopefully helping him to turn, too. Here are some tips for coping with pre-labour and early labour: Get plenty of rest at night. Vary your daytime activities from walking and moving around, to adopting all-fours or knees-to-chest positions. Knees –to-chest position is when you're on your knees with your head, shoulders and upper chest on the floor or mattress, with your bottom in the air. Lean forwards during contractions, and try pelvic rocking on a birth ball. Eat and drink regularly to keep your strength up and stay hydrated. Try to stay relaxed and positive. Content source Featured image source
7 Strategies to make labour easier
Labour is the hardest physical task that a woman experiences. Since a normal delivery takes less time to heal and doesn’t leave any visible scars on a woman’s body, most women aim to deliver vaginally. In order to do so, the mother needs to prepare her body accordingly. Although labour is a long and painful task, there are some things that you can definitely do to make it easier and smoother for you. 1. Do Squats Daily Squats is the most beneficial exercise for every woman looking forward to delivery close to their due date. Due to its role in facilitating smoother deliveries, squats are considered to be the best exercise for easy labour. The best way to do squats is using a medicine ball, keeping it between the lower back and the wall and rotating the toes and knees as wide apart as possible. It is recommended to do 15 squats daily in this position for expecting mothers to have a great delivery experience. 2. Practice Yoga After consulting your gynecologist, practice yoga during pregnancy regularly. Not only does it help to relax the body and make it flexible but also improves your breathing and prepares the body for labour. Various yoga asanas help to make the pelvic muscles more flexible to ease labour. It helps to get rid of stress and also provides relief from the aches and pains of pregnancy. Women who practice yoga during pregnancy suffer from fewer health problems. 3. Sleep Adequately and Regularly Among all the tips on how to make labour easier and faster, this is the easiest to follow and is the most effective. As discussed earlier, such a stressful and important event like labour requires calmness from the mother’s end. Only a well and adequately rested person can adapt to such a scenario seamlessly. An expecting mother should sleep at least seven hours or more every day for a faster and smoother labour experience. The sleeping experience should be enhanced with soft, skin-friendly pillows and recliner beds for the comfort of the mother and the child. 4. Massage Regular massage of the stomach along with perineal massage towards the end of the pregnancy helps to decrease discomfort and relax the muscles of the stomach and the vagina. Perineal massage helps to stretch the tissues of the vagina and this reduces the chances of vaginal tearing during birth. Massage also helps to increase the blood circulation in the perineal tissues and this in turn speeds up the process of healing after childbirth. Massaging of the thighs may also be done during labour to release tension between the contractions and to encourage the labour to progress. 5. Practice Breathing Techniques Labour is an extremely painful experience for any woman. Breathing helps the woman in labour to adapt to the pain better and also helps in relaxing her. Breathing also helps in setting rhythmic contractions and helping the woman to push better and more efficiently. Breathing also ensures that the body has enough oxygen and the mother does not pass out due to the astronomical labour pain and cramps due to her contractions. 6. Take a Childbirth Class Pregnancy is a mentally and physically taxing period for expecting parents where there is a lot of new things to be learnt and a lot of responsibilities to be understood as well as the do’s and don’ts of parenting. Hence, it is always good to be prepared for the moment of childbirth well in advance to make sure everything goes perfectly and according to plan. A childbirth class also relieves pressure that can be faced by dealing with the unknown and helps the partners be prepared for everything from the water-breaking to the cutting of the umbilical cord. A childbirth class can also be beneficial in providing easy labour tips to make the whole process simpler and faster. 7. Stay Upright during Labour Rather than lying down and trying to push, it is considered to be better to stay upright on the bed and push. This is because gravity plays to the advantage of the mother and child as the child’s head pressing against the cervix due to gravity helps it in dilating faster and more easily. A variety of positions can also be tried out, like kneeling, squatting and standing to see what gives the best results during labour. Movement of the body also helps widen the pelvis helping the baby’s head to pass through easily. Hope the above strategies help to make your labour shorter and easier! Content Source Featured Image Source
How can you tell when your baby has dropped?
At first glance, the phrase “when your baby drops” is possibly alarming, especially to a woman expecting her first ever baby. Who’s going to drop your baby? How could that be a good thing? What can I do to stop this from happening? After all, once you reach the last month of pregnancy, people may ask you whether or not your baby has dropped. This article will answer all of the questions you have about your baby dropping, as well as how it affects your pregnancy and impending labor. What does baby dropping exactly mean? No one is predicting that your baby will fall out of you, nor that they will be dropped on the floor after they’re born. When your baby drops it means their head has come down into your pelvis, still safely tucked behind your cervix and inside the protective amniotic sack. When will my baby drop? This typically happens around 2 to 4 weeks before your baby will be born, although since due dates are so arbitrary, this can really mean any time after 36 weeks of pregnancy. By this stage of pregnancy, your baby fills your uterus, and there isn’t much room for them to move around anymore. Your baby’s head moving into your pelvis is a good sign that your baby and your body are getting ready for labor, but don’t grab your hospital bag yet! Labor could still be weeks, even an entire month away from the time you feel your baby drops, so wait for more certain signs of labor before getting too excited. What does it feel like when baby drops? How can I tell? There are many symptoms that can accompany your baby dropping. It won’t be a sudden thing, most likely, but more gradual over the course of a few weeks or days as your baby slips further into your pelvis to get ready for labor. This process, also called “lightening”, aids in stretching your pelvic floor muscles so that when labor does begin your body is more prepared to guide your baby out with the gentle squeeze of your uterine muscle contractions. Content source Featured image source
7 Signs of labor: Know what to expect
Pre-labour, or, the early signs of labour include… Mood swings In the day or two before you go into labour, you may notice heightened anxiety, mood swings, weepiness, or a general sense of impatience. (This may be hard to distinguish from the usual 9-months-pregnant impatience, we know.) It can also manifest in extreme nesting. These may all be early signs of labour; your whole body is getting ready for the main event. Cramps One of the first signs of labour is actually a familiar feeling: the pain that comes with menstrual cramps. If you’re starting to feel those diffuse discomfort and pain in the abdomen, it may be a sign that active labour is just a few hours away. Intense lower back pain Along with those seemingly familiar cramps is intense lower back pain. Sure, the final weeks of carrying around a giant human (and its liquid sustenance sac) make your back permanently sore, but this is different level of pain. And for people who experience it, it usually starts at the same time as the cramps. Spotting Another sign that your baby might be ready to start the process of shimmying down the birth canal is light spotting or slightly brown or pink discharge. This happens because the cervix is shortening and the tissue is thinning to prepare for your baby’s exit from the womb. (You may have heard the term “bloody show”? This is it.) You may even be so lucky as to pass a “mucus plug,” which is just what it sounds like, and which was blocking the opening of the cervix to protect against infection. Once that plug comes off, it’s a clear sign that the baby is ready to come out. (Don’t confuse light spotting or brown discharge with actual bleeding — if you see a flow if blood, that’s something you need to call your doctor about.) Upset stomach A few hours before labour begins, you may also feel some digestive discomfort, and even have diarrhea. This upset stomach is your body’s (clever) way of preparing you for delivery (by evacuating anything that might get in the way). Water breaking Contrary to what movies tell us, this rarely occurs to women as a sudden deluge while they’re standing in the supermarket; the vast majority of women experience labour without their water ever breaking at home or in a public place. (It usually happens when you’re already at the hospital.) But, for the women who do experience some version of the rupturing of the membranes before they get to the hospital, this can be a trickle of clear liquid. (Some women wake up thinking they’ve wet the bed!) If you experience any form of water breaking, call your doctor. Because this is a sign that the amniotic sac has ruptured, you may be more susceptible to infection after it happens; depending on your medical history and pregnancy, your doctor may want to see you, or ask you to come to the hospital, after this happens. Regular contractions Finally, probably the clearest sign that you’re in labour is regular contractions. You’ll know you’re experiencing contractions because they escalate. Over time, these signs of labour will get stronger (read: more painful), and they will become more frequent. If you notice there’s a pattern, you’re definitely in labour. Advice varies on what stage of process requires you to be at the hospital (or seen by a midwife or other birthing support professional), so seek advice from your doctor or midwife about how close your contractions should be when you make that call (and get moving). You’ve probably heard about the fakeout called Braxton Hicks contractions. These are not signs of labour — they are thought to be part of the way the body is preparing for labour. The main difference between Braxton Hicks and “real” labour contractions is that Braxton Hicks are not as painful; they are not steady, consistent, and escalating; and finally, they occur mainly around your belly (it looks/feels almost like the area around your belly tightens) rather than an overall sensation around your abdomen. But most important to remember: Braxton Hicks contractions go away eventually, they don’t get worse. Feature Image Source