Towards the end of pregnancy, many women are eagerly waiting for the birth to finally begin. If there is still no sign of labor when the expected delivery date is reached, many pregnant women become impatient and ask themselves how they can promote the onset of labor.
Here you can read what labor-promoting remedies and methods are available and how they are evaluated.
Table of contents
Alternative Methods To Stimulate Labor
Before resorting to medicinal methods of inducing labor in overdue children, alternative options should be tried first. In doing so, you should keep in mind.
Methods of labor induction can only be effective if your child is mature and your body is optimally prepared for birth. You should not try to stimulate labor before the 40th week of gestation.
Promoting Labor With Raspberry Leaf Tea, Verbena, and Cloves
However, there is no scientific evidence that it actually affects the perineum or cervix. It is possible that the tea simply has a relaxing effect and helps the pregnant woman relieve her tension.
On Internet forums, other plants recommended as labor-inducing include verbena, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Various recipes are mentioned for hot drinks made from these ingredients.
Many gynecologists advise against these drinks, because it is not possible to say with certainty what the teas do, and there are also very different indications about the dosage.
Should I Do Without The Labor Cocktail?
You should never drink the contraction cocktail unsupervised under your own direction because it can bring dangerous side effects. Usually, the oily cocktail contains castor oil, almond paste, apricot juice, and alcohol (sparkling wine, red wine, brandy).
Some mixtures also contain verbena. The alcohol is necessary to dissolve the castor oil. Each midwife or clinic uses a different recipe for the labor-inducing cocktail. Please do not try to make the cocktail yourself, but contact your midwife.
The castor oil contained in the cocktail has a stimulating effect on the intestines, which can also promote labor. However, castor oil can also cause severe intestinal colic, strong contractions, circulatory problems and vomiting.
Furthermore, it can enter the fetal bloodstream. This, in turn, could cause intestinal leakage in the unborn child, which is risky. Therefore, you should only take castor oil in low doses and after consulting your doctor.
Can Climbing Stairs And A Lot Of Exercise Induce Labor?
It is said that simply climbing stairs promotes labor. However, this has not been proven. In general, however, too much physical exertion can promote labor at any stage of pregnancy. Gynecologists advise against provoking labor in this way.
Otherwise, exercise is positive for the birth process. Some studies indicate shorter birth outcomes for pregnant women who exercise during labor. For this reason, some midwives send birthing women for a walk if the birth doesn’t want to get off to a good start.
By moving around a lot in an upright position, the baby slides deeper into the pelvis. The close contact between the head and the pelvis naturally helps to get the birth started.
Promote Labor By Stimulating The Nipples
Gently massaging one or both nipples stimulates the labor hormone oxytocin. To do this, massage the nipple(s) for about one minute, then take a three- to five-minute break, followed by the next one-minute stimulation.
This massage triggers contractions of the uterus and can promote labor. You can also use an electric breast pump for the massage. Stimulation can induce labor within an hour or up to a little over 72 hours.
Here’s what you should keep in mind: You should only use nipple stimulation when your cervix is already soft. Only then is the cervix ready for birth. In some birth centers, nipple stimulation acts as a so-called labor stress test.
The pregnant woman is considered ready to give birth if contractions start within an hour after stimulation. When your baby feeds at the breast, oxytocin is also released. Among other things, this triggers afterbirth contractions and thus promotes the involution of the uterus.
Hot Baths To Promote Contractions
To relax the muscles and promote the onset of labor, midwives often recommend a hot bath, for example with hay flowers. The pelvic floor and cervix are said to become softer and more supple in the heat.
The bath also helps to relieve pain. Be careful not to bathe too hot, because in pregnant women the blood quickly goes to the arms and legs, which can cause fainting. Therefore, someone should always be nearby.
Enema For Emptying The Bowels
Until some time ago, an enema was considered a classic method to promote labor. The increased bowel movements were supposed to induce spontaneous labor. However, several studies have proven that an enema for bowel evacuation is not suitable for inducing labor. An enema also does not shorten the duration of labor.
Can Sex Promote Labor?
In a pregnancy that is progressing normally, sex can be used as a natural way to promote labor. The orgasm and prostaglandins in male seminal fluid soften the cervix.
However, this method can only work if the cervix is already open and the cervix is already shortened. So the uterus must already be ready for labor. You do not have to worry that your baby will be harmed by sexual intercourse. It is not advisable to have sexual intercourse after the due date has passed. You should also refrain from sexual intercourse if you are in premature labor.
Gentle Abdominal Massage
Rub your abdomen with a mixture of almond oil, cinnamon, ginger, clove, and verbena oil to promote labor. For this, it is best to ask at a pharmacy or get advice at a health food store. Before oiling, you should moisten your abdomen with warm water.
An immediate effect is not to be expected by the massage. You should be patient for two days. There is no proof of effectiveness for this treatment either.
Acupuncture For Birth Preparation
With the help of acupuncture to prepare for childbirth, pregnant women should be optimally prepared for the birth. By placing the fine acupuncture needles, labor can be stimulated.
Furthermore, acupuncture can help relieve labor pain and shorten the birth process. Pre-birth acupuncture can also reportedly cause the cervix to become more dilatable at the onset of labor.
Enough Sleep And A Healthy Diet Promote Contractions
In the last few days before your due date, make sure you get enough sleep and eat a healthy, whole-food diet. Fill up on as much energy as possible! If you are exhausted, this can prevent the onset of labor or cause the birth to stall.
Can Homeopathic Remedies Stimulate Labor?
Some doctors or midwives use the following homeopathic remedies to induce labor, for example: Belladonna (D6), Pusatilla (D6), Gelsemium (D4) or Caulophyllum (D4).
Egg Solution Or Cervical Stripping: What Is It?
If your baby is “overdue” and there is already discussion about induction of labor, some midwives and gynecologists offer to stimulate the cervix. What is meant by this? With this stimulation, your midwife or gynecologist moves a finger back and forth on the cervix during a vaginal examination.
This is to separate the membranes around your baby from the inner cervix. The stimulation releases prostaglandins that could promote labor and start birth before other labor induction measures would need to be resorted to.
Egg separation provides a high probability of labor onset within the following 48 hours. Stimulation of the cervix has a greater chance of success if the cervix has already adjusted to the birth. The treatment does not increase the risk of infection for you or your child.
Cervical stimulation can be uncomfortable because the cervix is difficult to reach until the birth is underway. To relax during stimulation, you can use breathing techniques that you learned during birth preparation.
Immediately after the treatment, you may experience light, harmless spotting and irregular contractions. Recent studies show that pregnant women who had cervical stripping after their due date had to have their labor induced with medication less often.
Can A Labor Stress Test Induce Labor?
A labor stress test (also called an oxytocin stress test or OBT) measures the baby’s heart sounds while artificially inducing labor using a CTG (cardiotocograph, also called a heart sound contraction recorder). The test shows how much power reserve the placenta still has and oxygen supply to your baby is still sufficient.
This data is important after overriding the birth date and also if the placenta is not functioning optimally (placental insufficiency). For the labor stress test, it is usually sufficient to trigger a few contractions with oxytocin. The induced contractions normally cause a short-term acceleration of the baby’s pulse.
The CTG records your baby’s heart sounds and the length and frequency of contractions. The ultrasound heads with the sensors are placed on your abdomen. As soon as your abdomen becomes hard, the device records a wave. Modern CTG devices can also record the movements of the baby.
The labor stress test is therefore not used to induce labor, although it can give birth a little push if your uterus is ready to go into labor.
Induction Of Labor With Prostaglandins
Induction of labor with natural prostaglandins is often used in the following cases:
- Immature cervix.
- Birth date exceeded by more than two weeks.
- Premature rupture of the membranes in the absence of contractions.
Prostaglandins are introduced vaginally as a tablet or applied to the cervix as a gel. Only natural prostaglandins may be used in this process. They soften the cervical tissue and promote the maturation of the cervix.
The length of time it takes for the prostaglandins to stimulate contractions can vary greatly. In some cases, it takes several hours. In some women, oxytocin must also be given because labor does not start.
Contractions Drip: Infusion With Oxytocin
If labor is not progressing, a contraceptive drip is often used to induce labor with medication. The contraceptive drip is an infusion with an artificially produced form of the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is used to induce labor.
Before and after birth, oxytocin causes contractions of the uterus. This stimulates labor. The name oxytocin, which comes from ancient Greek, means easy to give birth.
In a medically induced birth, contractions are more intense and come at shorter intervals than in normal birth. Mother and baby cannot act in a natural rhythm, but have the rhythm dictated by the medication.
The pain is more intense and the birth process is more stressful overall. Most women need an epidural (epidural anesthesia) for medically induced birth.
In What Cases Is A Birth Induced?
Induction of labor and thus active labor promotion may be required.
- If the artificially supplied prostaglandins are not sufficient to induce contractions.
- A rapid birth is necessary in order not to endanger the health of mother and child.
- Mother and child are already severely exhausted from childbirth.
- The birth process stalls for too long after a timely start due to weak labor activity.
There are countless home remedies and tips on how pregnant women can promote labor when the due date has passed. Feel free to try some of them! For some methods, it is better to ask a midwife or your doctor for advice.
If all means to stimulate labor do not show the desired success, natural prostaglandins or the contraceptive drip are used to induce labor.