For many, the last few weeks of pregnancy are a waiting game that goes on and on, often ending up in medical induction and a spiral of further intervention. But there are various tips and tricks that are supposed to help things along naturally. At this stage in the game, ANYTHING is worth a shot.
A type of massage that applies pressure to specific points on the hands and feet, there is much anecdotal evidence to suggest that reflexology can help to induce labour naturally.
The ‘thumb point’ is said to be particularly powerful, influencing the pituitary gland, which releases oxytocin, the hormone in charge of uterine contractions.
Reflexology to induce labour should be carried out by a qualified reflexologist after your due date. Do check that they have experience doing reflexology to bring on labour specifically – and if they have had any success.
Find a qualified reflexologist via The Association of Reflexologists
Used for thousands of years to help bring on labour in women who are post-term, acupuncture works by treating acupressure points that are said to stimulate oxtocin, the natural hormone that induces labour.
An increasingly popular treatment that many women swear by, the treatment should be carried out by a qualified acupuncturist after your due date. Generally only 2-3 treatments are necessary if it is going to work and it is recommended that you have these in the days before your scheduled induction. Again, check that the acupuncturist has experience using the treatment with the specific goal of inducing labour.
Find a qualified acupuncturist via the British Acupuncture Council
Being upright encourages your baby to move down onto your cervix and the pressure of his or her head on your cervix could stimulate oxytocin, hence the theory that a long walk can help bring on labour. That said, for many women a long walk at the end of pregnancy can be very uncomfortable and tiring. Listen to your body and stop if it feels too much.
A cervical or membrane sweep may be offered by your doctor or midwife if you go overdue and can often help to get things moving. During an internal examination, he or she will try to insert a finger into the opening of your cervix and move their finger around. The aim is to separate the membranes of the amniotic sac surrounding your baby from your cervix and, in doing so, release those magic labour-inducing hormones.
It’s not exactly comfortable, but can be very successful in kick-starting things – assuming, that is, that your cervix is low and soft enough for them to carry the procedure out in the first place!
Can the spices in a hot curry really help to bring on labour? The jury is out on this one, but a night in front of the telly eating a good cuzza certainly appeals in those tiring last stages of pregnancy and certainly won’t do you any harm, even if it doesn’t bring on labour.
It may be the last thing you feel like – and it certainly won’t be acrobatics – but one rumoured way to kick-start labour is to have sex. Apparently, an orgasm can help to stimulate your womb into action while semen may help to soften the neck of your cervix. Worth a try, we say.
A fairly low-effort theory to try out, nipple stimulation triggers that magic hormone oxytocin and is why breastfeeding straight after birth can help stimulate the uterus to contract and deliver the placenta. If you’re lucky, it might help to bring on labour too.
Yes, pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which is thought to help to soften your cervix and bring on labour, but you would have to eat at least seven whole pineapples for it to have any effect. So, by all means eat pineapple if you like it, but don’t expect any miracles.