Have you done your math? Moms nearing their due dates sure have.
5 pillows propping various body parts in bed.
Having to pee every 10 minutes.
Adding 1 cup size. Make that 2.
But fitting 40 weeks into 9 months of pregnancy… it just doesn’t add up. Not to mention about 80% of first-time mamas deliver post date. If only someone told us to expect a 10 month commitment, that last stretch might feel a little more manageable.
So here are our moms, bumping into everything with their protruding bellies, waddling around on swollen feet, sleep interrupted despite all those pillows. Not to mention, just dying to meet their little ones at last!
“I don’t want to be pregnant anymore! Come out already, baby!”
Well, we don’t expect you to just sit on your hands, mamas. (Sit on your yoga ball instead!) Here are some of the ways that you can encourage things to get started as you heave and ho through that endless tenth month.
Keep in mind that natural induction is gentle and will only bring on labor if your body and your baby are ready. You should wait until at least 39-40 weeks to try these methods. And remember, you are not overdue until 42 weeks. Now go for it!
- Move It – Take daily walks. Dance and swing those hips. Squat. Climb stairs. Go for a swim. Bounce on your birth ball. Practice prenatal yoga. You can even try a bumpy car ride or a swing. Basically, let gravity help you move that baby down.
- Eat Your Baby Out – Certain foods may help encourage labor. Try bananas (potassium helps muscle contractions), balsamic vinegar, basil and oregano, dates (6 a day help with dilation), Chinese food, spicy food (stimulates digestive system therefore releasing prostaglandins), eggplant, pineapple (it would take about 7) and licorice (can cause bowel cramping which can cause contractions). Bonus points if you can work them all into one [palatable] meal!
- Get It On – Oxytocin, the “love hormone,” is key in birth. So start with some sweet talking, heat things up with nipple stimulation (you can also use your breast pump), and move on to as much sex as you feel up to – semen contains prostaglandins, which soften the cervix. Works best if mom also orgasms.
- Wining Allowed – While alcohol is generally not recommended during pregnancy, a glass of wine can help an anxious mom relax, which may help as stress or fear can stall labor.
- Accupressure and Accupuncture – There are pressure points which can trigger labor. Make an appointment with a trained professional.
- Herbal Remedies – Ask an herbalist about how to benefit from black/blue cohosh, evening primrose oil, motherwort, thyme, borage seed oil, and goldenseal.
(I’m going to skip the recommendation to try castor oil. Though it can be helpful, only about 57% of women have success with it and it can cause side effects such as cramping, diarrhea, and vomiting. Please do your research if you choose to try this method.)
Good luck and take heart in knowing that no pregnancy lasts forever!
Stay tuned for Part II: Medical Inductions….