Pregnancy is a long stint – almost an entire year spent as an oven, albeit the reward at the end is well worth it, but no matter how good the reward, time doesn’t miraculously speed up. In fact, towards the end I swear it slows down. The third trimester feels like time has been at a stand-still, and by 38 weeks I’d try anything to get this baby out and moving. A quick google search returned thousands upon thousands of natural remedies to coax baby out – 99% of which I can guarantee won’t work. In fact, all of them probably won’t work, but at this point in time, I’m ready to try anything to make sure I don’t go over due date. I’ll take everyone’s advice and rest up and enjoy the last few days I’ll ever have on my own, but towards the end of this week Operation Baby commences. Here’s the plan of action.
This is Number 1 on my list not because of the amazing labour inducing properties of the fruit, but because I really like pineapple. Pineapples contain both Oxytocin and Bromelain, which is a proteolytic enzyme known to soften the cervix, and can help bring on contractions. This is all myth though, I don’t think baby will be coming until he wants to, but I can’t exactly complain about the prospect of a week or two of eating pineapple.. it’s a very good fruit.
2. Cranberry Juice
I’ve googled this endlessly but can’t find anything that actually suggests this would bring on labour at all – this was one my mum swore by, but thinking about it now, she was medically induced the day before with both myself and my brother so I don’t even know why I’ve listened to her in the first place. I don’t even like cranberry juice. What a waste of a spot in the fridge. Free cranberry juice for anyone who happens to be in the Glasgow area…
3. Red Leaf Raspberry Tea
This one seems to be less for actually inducing labour, and more for making it shorter and less strenuous. Well, as ‘less strenuous’ as a labour can be, you are still pushing a child out of your vagina after all. Supposedly, a study found that high doses of the tea caused the initiations of contractions: cue me buying 3 boxes, only to read more into the study and realise it was done on 10 pregnant rats. So if anyone happens to have a pregnant rodent by all means, tea is the way forward. As for humans, there’s been no strict connection, although some on the online mummy’ forums swear by it, so it can’t hurt.
4. Exercise Ball
Again, this has been spoke of so much in the run up to to labour. Most of the studies come down to opening the pelvis and the gravitational pull bringing the baby further down. There’s been a few studies as well suggesting that it reduces the pain, or rather the ability to tolerate the pain during childbirth, for example these ones here and here. It may well also be more of a comfort thing than an actual help kick start birth thing, it definitely takes a bit of pressure off of the spine – but either way I won’t be leaving my ball for the next fortnight. There’s something oddly comforting about bouncing away in the evening….
This was one I’d never actually heard of – but black natural liquorice contains Glycrrhizin (try saying that three times quickly…) and this has actually been associated with pre-term delivery. Obviously we’re now passed that stage so pre-term wouldn’t be a problem, but it would appear it does something to kick-start labour… It causes contractions in the uterus, or at least it is said to, but then again so does everything on this list if you believe everything you read on the internet.
I can’t really understand this one – it’s such a popular conspiracy that spicy foods can kick start labour, but if the stomach and the uterus aren’t connected, then I’m not really sure how this can work in the first place. The physiology behind the myth is that spicy foods can cause diarrhoea, diarrhoea causes dehydration, and dehydration has been known to cause contractions. But there is still no direct link between the two, and lets face it, find me any person who wants to go into labour coming off the back of diarrhoea. That’s just a recipe for a disaster.
How ironic is it that the very reason for the pregnancy in the first place is what could possibly bring it to an end. Now there is no medical ‘proof’ as such that sex actually helps bring forward labour, but it would make sense. It releases prostaglandin’s, and these are hormone-like substances which are given as a medical intervention to induce labour, so I’m simply putting two and two together here. The prostaglandins supposedly can soften the cervix and encourage contractions to start – although anyone who’s hit the 9 month stage of pregnancy will know that this is much easier said than done. Anyone with either the energy or the desire for sex at this stage is an absolute alien to me.
Being upright encourages baby to move down, towards the cervix, which obviously can help bring the start of labour closer, and then by walking the movement of the babies head on the cervix can release Oxytocin, which as said before can stimulate and regulate contractions. For me, babies head is not yet engaged, so I’ll need to get my walking shoes on and get strolling, as this is something that has been suggested to help! Not just an old wives tale, but by medical experts also.
These are probably ridiculous, and most childbirth experts have spoke to labour happening when it happens, but let’s face it, I’m certainly not the first pregnant person to google inducing labour and I certainly won’t be the last. But then again, a week of pineapple and raspberry tea on by birthing ball with a Chicken Korma or two thrown in doesn’t sound too bad to me… The other two things that came up time after time were Acupuncture and Castor Oil – neither of which I was willing to even try, given how much speculation there is around the positives vs negatives of them. In reality, bub will come when he is ready to come, and I’d rather he was perfectly healthy than here a few days early.
What worked for you – have you got any old wives tales that you swear by for labour? Until next time, thanks for reading,