Our due date is the 31st of May, but we are fairly certain our little chicken is going to come a bit late. Due dates are a funny thing because there is an open window of approximately 5 weeks around that date in which baby can come.
The issue we have is that my mother can only come to Edinburgh for 10 days. This means if she were to come around the due date and baby was to come late there is a chance she would have to go back home without meeting him.
So, we have decided to buy a ticket for my mother to arrive on the 4th of June. Five days after the due date. The chances of me going five days overdue are high. To avoid this, I will try some natural methods to help labour as opposed to Pain Relief During Labour methods. There are many options available, but I would like to share with you the 6 Tips & Tricks to Help Labour I am trying.
Gravity will help the baby come further down into the birthing canal. Walking can help with this. If we can manage to move the baby into a more engaged position the cervix will release Oxytocin. This natural hormone will trigger and help labour.
Just bear in mind to no exhaust yourself. Take short walks. I have found myself getting cramps after 20 minutes walking and I am only 38 weeks. I am not sure how far I will manage to walk at 40 weeks.
2. Climbing Stairs Sideways
This was suggested to us by our pregnancy yoga instructor, who happens to be a doula. Again, the effects of gravity help with the positioning of the baby. This will help the cervix release the oxytocin we need for labour.
We live in a small flat so I will have to use the communal stair. It is important to do this holding onto the rail to ensure no tripping or falling. Facing the railing, take a step at a time while going up and down the stairs sideways.
This might not be very comfortable for everyone so far along in the pregnancy. It is definitely worth trying if both parts involved are feeling in the mood. If it doesn’t help labour at least you get a bit of fun before the baby comes.
Semen is a natural source of prostaglandins, which helps ripen the cervix. An orgasm will help by stimulating your uterus. Having sex will also release the beloved body’s oxytocin.
4. Nipple Stimulation
Rolling and rubbing your nipples can trick your body into thinking the baby is suckling. This will make your body release oxytocin, which can trigger labour to start.
You can stimulate your nipples with your fingers, emulating the suckling of a baby breastfeeding. 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. To avoid over-stimulation do this for five minutes at a time with a fifteen minute break between Alternatively, you can try with a breast pump.
Dates have an oxytocin-like effect on the body. They help with contractions and reduce post-partum haemorrhage. It is said you have to eat 6 dates a day from 36 weeks. Keep in mind date fruit has a lot of natural sugars.
I have started eating dates at 37 weeks as we don’t want to risk baby coming before the 1st of June. If you don’t like them on their own you can chop them and mix with yogurt or blend in a smoothie. I cut them up and mix them in my morning cereal.
6. Raspberry Leaf Tea
The tea will not bring on labour per se but will help strengthen your uterus so your contractions are stronger. More effective contractions will make labour faster.
I started drinking 1 cup a day at 35 weeks. Then 2 cups a day from 36 weeks and 3 cups a day from 38 weeks. For the first 2 weeks I was using Heath and Heather Organic Raspberry Leaf Tea, which tastes really nice as it has flavouring added to it. But it does have only 30% Raspberry Leaf Tea, so now I am taking Cotswold Health Products Raspberry Leaf Tea.
Other tips and tricks
I have considered using Clary Sage Oil either in the bath or mixing a couple of drops with a carrier oil and using to massage bump and back. This natural oil has a stimulating effect on the uterus and can trigger labour. It is recommended not to be used until full term or later. I will only resort to this if we go near 2 weeks over and start the ‘induction talk’.
Bouncing on a birthing ball helps with gravity and baby positioning. We personally don’t have a ball as our flat is too small but I would definitely try it if I could.
There are other things you can try eating such as spicy food or pineapple. I am going to pass on these as I don’t feel they will make any difference for me.
The most important thing is to remember that our babies will come when they are ready. Always speak to your midwife/health visitor before trying anything to help labour. Trying to get them out before it is their time is not a good idea. This post is about helping our natural labour, not inducing it. Let’s give our babies the time they need to be ready for the world!