Nat­u­ral ways TO IN­DUCE YOUR BABY

Your due date has come and gone, and as the days roll past and your baby seems de­ter­mined never to make an ap­pear­ance, your im­pa­tience runs out. What can you do to get things mov­ing?

Your Pregnancy - - Month 8 - BY TRACEY HAWTHORNE

It’s been a roller coaster few months, full of ex­cite­ment and won­der as you’ve watched your body change and ex­pand, and tracked your baby’s growth in the womb. But now you’ve had enough. You’re hav­ing trou­ble sleep­ing, your heart­burn has be­come chronic, and you seem to be pee­ing ev­ery 10 min­utes. What op­tions do you have to give your body a bit of a nat­u­ral en­cour­age­ment? The first and most im­por­tant thing to un­der­stand, says mid­wife Heather Pi­eterse, whose Pre­to­ria-based prac­tice has been as­sist­ing with home births for 17 years, is that there’s noth­ing (non-med­i­cal) you can do to bring on labour if your body isn’t ready. “Most first-time – and many sec­on­dand third-time – moms will go over their due dates, with­out any­thing be­ing wrong,” she says. “Only be­tween 41 and 42 weeks should in­duc­tion be con­sid­ered, if all else is well with the preg­nancy and there are no contra-in­di­ca­tions.”

TRY RE­FLEX­OL­OGY

“Re­flex­ol­ogy as­sists in break­ing down con­ges­tions

in the body so that it is bet­ter able to elim­i­nate tox­ins,” ex­plains Jo­han­nes­burg-based ther­a­peu­tic re­flex­ol­o­gist Michelle Wal­ton. “This opens up the chan­nels of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween the brain, the hor­monal glands and the or­gans, in­clud­ing the uterus. This lit­tle nudge may in­crease the phys­i­o­log­i­cal func­tion­al­ity of the uterus.” Re­flex­ol­ogy is also re­lax­ing, and al­le­vi­ates anx­i­ety and stress. “The com­bi­na­tion of detox­ing the body, re­duc­ing stress and anx­i­ety, and the stim­u­la­tion of the hor­mone-pro­duc­ing glands and re­pro­duc­tive or­gans is known to ‘switch on’ labour, af­ter which it tends to progress as it would if the mother had gone into labour nat­u­rally,” Michelle ex­plains.

GET SOME GEN­TLE PHYS­I­CAL EX­ER­CISE

“Move­ment such as deep squat­ting, walk­ing and climb­ing chairs will help to move the baby down into the pelvis and may start labour,” says nurs­ing sis­ter and mid­wife Chris­tine Klyn­hans. “Walk­ing up and down a flight of stairs side­ways is even bet­ter,” adds Michelle, “as it opens up the pelvis more.”

GET THOSE HOR­MONES GO­ING

“Tech­ni­cally, hav­ing sex­ual in­ter­course and nip­ple stim­u­la­tion may kick-start labour,” says Chris­tine. “Sperm con­tains prostaglandins, which soften the cervix, while love­mak­ing and nip­ple stim­u­la­tion in­crease the re­lease of the ‘love hor­mone’ oxy­tocin, which is also re­spon­si­ble for stim­u­lat­ing uter­ine con­trac­tions,” Michelle ex­plains. “And a woman’s or­gasm can stim­u­late uter­ine con­trac­tions.” You can stim­u­late your nip­ple your­self. “Take the nip­ple be­tween your thumb and in­dex fin­ger and roll it very gen­tly from side to side for no less than five min­utes. Don’t con­tinue on the other breast, just re­lax and carry on with your day. A good time to try nip­ple stim­u­la­tion is while hav­ing a lovely long warm bath,” says Michelle.

USE EVENING PRIM­ROSE OIL

Chris­tine sug­gests us­ing evening prim­rose to help ripen the cervix. This herbal oil may be taken orally in cap­sule form from week 38, while some rec­om­mend in­sert­ing the oil vagi­nally. You could also use the oil for per­ineal mas­sage. Chris­tine stresses, how­ever, that you mustn’t use any herbal mix­ture, douche or tra­di­tional medicine that hasn’t been cleared by your mid­wife or gy­nae­col­o­gist.

TRY HOME­O­PATHIC REME­DIES

“There are home­o­pathic reme­dies that are very ef­fec­tive in get­ting your labour go­ing,” says Michelle. “Con­tact a reg­is­tered home­opath to learn more about which reme­dies are safe and ef­fec­tive to use.”

USE ARO­MATHER­APY

“Clary sage and jas­mine are two es­sen­tial oils that stim­u­late uter­ine con­trac­tions,” Michelle says. “You can use them from 39 weeks. Five drops of each in a nice warm bath is very re­lax­ing. Splash it around and in­hale the vapours as you’re do­ing your nip­ple stim­u­la­tion. Or place five drops on a lit­tle piece of cot­ton wool and pop it in your bra for the day.”

WHAT NOT TO DO

Eat­ing cer­tain sub­stances, such as a whole pineap­ple or a very hot curry, has been said to bring on labour. But, cau­tions Michelle, “my opin­ion is that by the time you’ve eaten enough of th­ese two foods to in­duce labour, you may have a bit of a tummy prob­lem and could spend your en­tire labour on the loo!” “Driv­ing on bumpy roads has a jar­ring ef­fect on the uterus and can also be harm­ful and dan­ger­ous,” Heather notes. And don’t go the cas­tor-oil route – “This can be harm­ful to the baby, as the cas­tor oil af­fects not only the mother’s gut but the baby’s too,” she warns.

Re­flex­ol­ogy for in­duc­tion of labour isn’t an op­tion for women who have ex­pe­ri­enced bleed­ing dur­ing their preg­nancy, deep­vein throm­bo­sis, pre-eclamp­sia (high blood pres­sure), pica syn­drome (eat­ing non-food items) or pla­cen­tal abrup­tion.

Im­age: Jupiter Images

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