Childbirth

How to promote labor naturally

A woman’s body is the only one who decides together with the baby when it’s the right time for birth. Women need to be aware of and confident in their body’s ability to deliver the baby they are carrying.

Today however, pregnancy and childbirth are seen as a medical condition, and not as a natural process.

The term “natural birth” means a physiological birth, where the intervention of the gynecologist does not take place and the midwife helps and supports the mother in the birth of her child, therefore no induction to childbirth or medical interventions.

Effects of medically induced labor

Statistics show that natural labour, without medical interventions, leads to fewer difficulties during delivery such as water breakage (amniorexis), oxytocin stimulation ( induced birth ) and planned caesarean section.

A paced delivery most often presents slow, difficult labor leading to a caesarean section.

I would like to remind you that even if today the cesarean section is a routine operation, it is still a surgical operation. So if nature has given us natural childbirth, why risk it?

According to the World Health Organization , as explained in the 1985 “Recommendations for childbirth”:

The birth process should not be induced for convenience : induction of labor should be reserved only in those situations where there are specific medical indications. No geographic region should have an induced labor rate higher than 10 percent.”

Labor induction should occur around the 41st week. According to some researchers from the School of Medicine at the University of Rochester (USA) “for 25 labors induced around the 39th week there are at least two caesarean sections that could be avoided while awaiting natural delivery”.

The results of the research led the researchers to suggest that it would be appropriate to wait for natural birth and resort to reserve interventions only when the risks for mother and child outweigh the benefits ( source: La Stampa.it).

In order for labor to be natural, it is necessary not to use drugs and instrumental interventions.

Natural induction of labor

But what if everything is silent? When nothing happens on the expected due date, mothers are eager to try natural methods to induce labor and encourage their baby to be born.

Natural induction is a great alternative that all women should try, encouraged by their Obstetrician and Gynecologist as most of the natural induction remedies cause no side effects to either the mother or the baby’s health.

How to promote a natural labor?

Premise: The use of herbs, homeopathy, castor oil, enemas, or sexual intercourse to help induce labor are techniques   not supported by scientific evidence. 

There is a 2011 study in the literature that explores all the methods mentioned above: ” Methods of induction of labour: a systematic review ” which you can read for your further information

 Flattening and dilatation

Evening Primrose Oil capsules: 2-3 capsules at the bottom of the vagina, repeat 2-3 times every 24 hours. The capsules can also be taken orally from the last four weeks of pregnancy.

The dosage is: 3 capsules of 500 mg per day for the first week (36th week) and 2000 mg per day for the last 3 weeks.

Evening primrose oil can be compared to prostaglandin in that it works like it by softening and smoothing out the cervix.

According to some studies, the use of evening primrose oil increases the biochemical messages that initiate labor. According to other studies   , however, it does not give evident effects that could favor it.

To start the contractions 

  • Nipple Stimulation: Nipple stimulation helps in the production of oxytocin. Stimulation can be performed manually by the woman, by her partner or through suction if you already have a baby and are breastfeeding. Alternatively, the use of a breast pump can also work.
    Proceed as follows: rub your nipples intensely for 1 minute, take a 2-3 minute break and start again. Continue like this for 1-2 hours.
  • Hot compresses : the application of hot compresses on the breasts or a jet of very hot water stimulates the natural production of oxytocin.
  • Sex : The contractions of the uterus that develop during orgasm can help initiate a natural labor. Additionally, semen contains natural prostaglandins that soften and ripen the cervix. After intercourse I advise you not to get out of bed immediately but to lie down and lift your pelvis so that the sperm reaches the cervix.
  • Membrane detachment : invasive method that can only be done by the midwife. It is a maneuver where, through a vaginal examination, the midwife slides her finger between the cervix and the membranes and causes their detachment. The movement is repeated slowly, for at least 5 minutes. The World Health Organization recommends membrane detachment to reduce induction pharmacological interventions. ” The detachment of the membranes is a simple operation. However, it can have disadvantages such as vaginal bleeding.
  • Foley catheter: inserted transcervically and positioned above the internal uterine orifice, it is inflated with physiological solution. It is used to ripen the cervix.
  • Cervical massage : Insert your fingers into the vagina, reach the cervix and rub slowly and delicately for 30 minutes.
  • Acupressure Points : There are many points on the body that when stimulated with the thumb or elbow can induce labor. This is one point you can stimulate: Using your fingers, measure about four finger widths directly above your ankle. Apply light pressure to this point for about a minute. You’ll know if it’s the correct spot if it starts to feel soft to your touch. Press on the space between the thumb and forefinger, and 4 fingers above the inner ankle bone.
  • Phytotherapy : Prepare an infusion in the morning and drink small sips throughout the day, do not sugar it but if it is bitter you can use honey to make it sweeter.
    Ingredients :

    • 1 liter of water
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    • 10 cloves
    • 1 small ginger root
    • 1 tablespoon of verbena.
    • Simmer the cinnamon, cloves and ginger for 10 minutes, remove from the heat and add the verbena.
    • Leave to cool and filter

I recommend throughout pregnancy, the tea of ​​raspberry leaves (Red Raspberry Leaf Tea).

Prepare a saucepan of water and boil it, dip two pinches of dry leaves inside. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes, then filter with a strainer and sweeten it with honey.

Kathryn Barlow is an OB/GYN doctor, which is the medical specialty that deals with the care of women's reproductive health, including pregnancy and childbirth.

Obstetricians provide care to women during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, while gynecologists focus on the health of the female reproductive system, including the ovaries, uterus, vagina, and breasts. OB/GYN doctors are trained to provide medical and surgical care for a wide range of conditions related to women's reproductive health.

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