Natural Induction Techniques
Doula clients are regularly asking me what they can do to “naturally” induce labour. Odds are if you’re reading this blog you’re keen to get things going, and eager to meet your baby ASAP.
Firstly I’d like to note that anything we do to induce labour isn’t necessarily natural, hence the inverted commas. However, these are some steps you may prefer to take from somewhere between about 34 and 37 weeks onwards to help your body be better prepared and more ready to birth your baby, and they are probably things you’re keener to consider than opting straight in for an induction or elective caesarean. I truly believe that your baby will only come when ready, and that these handy tips will only help to speed things along if your baby is indeed ready, encouraging things to begin naturally. I believe that your body and baby work perfectly together.
As always, if you aren’t sure, please check in with your pregnancy care provider.
So… here we go…
My Top Ten Tips for Natural Induction
1) Acupuncture – start seeing someone you trust from 34 weeks to help ensure there are no blockages in the meridian lines, to help release tension in the fascia, muscles and ligaments around the pelvis, and from 37 weeks to ignite the induction and destressing points.
2) Chiropractor – see someone who does the Webster technique. It is my belief that if your pelvis is in an optimal condition – ie balanced, symmetrical and not at all twisted – it will be able to expand as much as possible to fit your baby through. Some people go as far as suggesting that you may even have a faster birth, and may go into labour sooner as baby can drop down faster through the pelvis, putting more pressure on the cervix to dilate and efface. You can start this as soon as you like during your pregnancy, though I’d probably suggest seeing a chiro from 34 weeks and they will let you know if all is good, or if you should continue to attend weekly until your birth.
3) Acupressure points – there are several points that can help with induction and getting baby into the right position, including on the shoulder, inner ankle, outer ankle, fleshy thumb point and sacrum back points. Please see images below generously provided by Naomi from Red Tent Mums in Bondi. You may like to do these from 37 weeks onwards.
4) Pleasure – boost your oxytocin levels (aka the love hormone). For example, nipple stimulation, lots of passionate kissing and orgasm. Sperm on the cervix is great too as it contains natural prostaglandins that help to soften the cervix. There’s no time recommendation for this one: I hope you can enjoy intimacy during your pregnancy as much as possible.
5) Essential oils – clary sage is a good one to put in your diffuser, or on your tummy, followed by a long warm bath or shower. Lavender and rose geranium are good too if you’d like to make your own blend. You could even wear these instead of perfume and pop them on your pulse points from 37 weeks (behind the ears and on your wrists).
6) Creating tummy cramps – while I don't recommend it personally, some women eat spicy foods or drink castor oil. I think it will just give you an upset tummy and cause contractions that aren't helpful (more likely to be painful and then disappear again). Some women I know have taken evening primrose oil orally and also inserted it up near the cervix. I haven’t seen proof that this works but also haven’t read anything to suggest it hurts. Perhaps ask your care provider about these ones…
7) Hypnobirthing – meditations and visualisations can be a powerful tool for the mind to connect to your body and baby in preparation for birth and labour. Sometimes going through the process of letting go and allowing your mind to sit in the belief that you can birth your baby, can be enough to get things going. You can do this from anytime in your pregnancy. I personally enjoy the visualisations of golden lights and lotus flowers in bloom, with the baby moving down, up and down again (and again), gently expanding the cervix.
8) Relaxing into labour massage – or a luxurious foot massage! Relaxing and letting go both in the mind and body are essential in the lead up to your positive birthing experience. You could use an essential oil blend in the massage, and even request that the induction acupressure points are pressed too. You can receive massage from a qualified practitioner anytime in your second or third trimester but may only use the induction techniques from 37 weeks onwards. I can of course help you with a relaxing into labour Ka Huna massage - using special oils, acupressure points, breath work and mindset techniques.
9) Talk to your baby and ask if it's time – this may sound spiritual or silly to you, however it goes back again to the mind / body / baby connection. Tuning into your body and your baby, and letting them know that you’re ready to meet her/him can be a great way to let go, trusting in the birth process (and the universe – if that’s your thing).
10) Dates, Gluten-Free and Raspberry Leaf Tea – a study has shown that eating 6 Medjool Dates a day from 34 weeks naturally boosts your oxytocin levels and can help to reduce the length of your labour (and potentially bring labour on sooner too) – note they are high in sugar so great to space them out over the day. I think they help keep your bowel movements regular and softer too. Keeping a Gluten-Free diet from 34 weeks (or earlier if you’re able) can help to reduce inflammation in the pelvis. And finally, Raspberry Leaf Tea (or capsules) is suggested to help strengthen the uterus. Some women drink (or consume capsules) from 30ish weeks. You may like to discuss this with your GP, Naturopath or Homeopath.
If you’re based in Sydney, I’d be happy to help recommend a practitioner in your area to help with any of the above. Get in touch via the contact me page or phone Amanda on 0411 607 608.
PS. There are loads of other natural induction techniques (like enjoying nature, eating a dozen pineapples a day, or hiking up multiple flights of stairs 2x2 sideways etc...), these are just my Top Ten.
About Essential Me
Hi, I'm Amanda. I support women and couples during their pregnancy, birth and postnatal journey as a Doula, Ka Huna massage therapist and Pilates instructor. I'm Based in Sydney and would love to help you. Please check out my Top 10 Tips for the best possible birth experience here. I'd love to meet you for an obligation free interview to see if you feel we're the right fit. Contact me here. Thanks, Amanda x