Natural induction methods can be used to help prepare the body for labour, to ripen the cervix, and perhaps to help induce labour contractions. Some women prefer to try these natural induction methods first if they are facing a medical induction. Here are 9 more natural ways to avoid labour induction.
#1 – Acupuncture
Acupuncture used through a qualified acupuncturist or TCM practitioner uses the body’s energy to help labour start. It can take a few tries, so allow a few days at least. If you start earlier in your pregnancy, your practitioner can help with general pregnancy, such as morning sickness and fatigue or back pain. Birth preparation treatments may start at around 36 weeks, and acupuncture induction can be used approaching your due date.
#2 – Acupressure
Using acupressure can help encourage the cervix to dilate and contractions to start. If you know the right points to use, and the method, it can also be used during your labour. We have an instructional Acupressure DVD and booklet from Debra Betts and Tom Kennedy explaining the acupressure techniques for labour.
#3 Sex and Orgasm
As long as your waters have not yet broken, you can use the prostaglandins in semen to help ripen your cervix. The oxytocin released when you orgasm may help your contractions start.
#4 – Nipple stimulation
Gently massaging your breasts or nipples may help as it helps trigger a release of oxtocin. You may like to do daily towards the end of your pregnancy to help ripen your cervix. You can do it manually, or ask for help from your partner(!), or use a breastpump (be sure to freeze any colostrum that may be expressed – your baby will appreciate it!)
#5 – Homeopathy
Caulophyllum can help soften the cervix and helps strengthen contractions. Potassium phosphate may bring on an overdue labour. Speak to your homeopath for more information.
#6 – Herbs
To stimulate contractions, herbalists often use blue or black cohosh, golden seal, pennyroyal, tansy, southernwood, beth root, ginger, mugwort, raspberry, squawvine or schisandra. Your herbalist will be able to put together a preparation that is right for you.
#7 – Aromatherapy
You may like to use essential oils like clary sage or rose only if after 38 weeks. Other oils are jasmine, lavender, chamomile, mandarin and geranium. You can consult your aromatherapist for a massage.
#8 – Bowel stimulation
Castor oil has been used as a compress to stimulate the bowel. You may prefer to eat curry or drink prune juice to help stimulate your bowel.
#9 – Stretch and Sweep
Your midwife may suggest you have a stretch and sweep as you pass your due date to help stimulate labour. This may help avoid stronger forms of induction, but is invasive. During this process,your midwife will separate the membranes from the cervix, which causes prostaglandins to be released, which may start labour.