–Obviously, keep active. Walk, climb stairs, swim, gently bounce on an exercise ball. In addition, there are a few other activities you can try……
–Nipple Stimulation: Stimulation of the nipples is a very effective way for ripening the cervix and initiating labor. Have your partner suck continuously on the nipple, or rolle the nipple between the thumb and finger. This may need to be continued for many hours to establish regular labor. IT is fine to rest during a contraction and resume stimulation as it fades. (I know, it sounds really funny but it seriously works!)
–Sexual Activity and Intercourse: Sexual activity acts in the same fashion as stimulation of the nipples, if not more intense. If sexual orgasm is acheived, this may actually initaiate labor contreactions through the release of hormones that cause uterine and pelvic contractions found in orgasm. Semen contains a natural prostaglandin that will soften the cervix and help with labor initiation. Some midwives have actually suggested that oral ingestion of seminal fluid also may act just as well (not to mention relaxing a tense father-to-be!) it is wise to keep in mind that the act of loving put the baby there to begin with and it may be the remedy to helping the baby be born as well. Actually, when you are induced the injections and suppositories they give you to stimulate labor are a synthetic type of this exact same hormone!
-Clary Sage Oil shows high indications that it helps strengthen contractions. Mingle 1 TBS carrier oil (like grape seed) with 5 drops of Clary Sage and rub it gently onto your bump in wide, soothing strokes, or use as a hand massage oil if you are attached to a monitor. Then leave the rest of the oil in the room (over a burner if you prefer) so that you will continue to benefit from the fragrance, or dip a washcloth into the remaining oil and keep in a zip locked bag, which you will take out to sniff regularly to keep strengthening contractions. If your hands have been massaged, keep raising them to your face to sniff them. Do not sniff it straight from the bottle, and do not rub it directly onto your skin without a carrier oil, as undiluted it is too strong and can aggrivate your skin. Obviously, as with all oils and essences or even hair colorings, do a patch test on your underarm before applying any oil – if it itches or turns pink do not use the oil.
-Eat a fresh pineapple: Not juiced, cooked, or pre-sliced as the active ingredients perish quickly on contact wtih air. Pineapple has more of that prostaglandin that softens mucus tissue. If you’ve ever over indulged in fresh pineapple then you know what I mean, how your mouth and lips feel burned; that’s the juices affecting your tissues. It’s also a fun midnight run when you’re overdue and need something else to try!
-Hot spicy food: this works by stimulating your digestive system. Have you ever noticed that one might get the runs after very spicy food? The digestive system is very near the uterus, the activity can initiate contractions. The same with Castor Oil, which I do not recommend unless you are under the observation of a midwife who is familiar with using it. There have been some studies performed where it has been suggested that the oil is passed on to the baby, which can cause him to pass his first meconium early, which then leads to the danger of aspiration and breathing problems. It seems to me, that having problems with diarreah while you’re supposed to be pushing a baby out could cause a mother to feel uncomfortable and anxious, just when she ought to be totally present and focused on the beauty and magic of the moment of birth! That said, often just before labor the body does naturally have a clean-out, and during labor itself the change in blood flow causes the digestive system to slow down. And besides, midwives have seen it all before, they are not shocked at what the body does during labor. Don’t worry.
-Ask for an enema: As opposed to spicy food and Castor Oil, and enema cleans your system out in one go, rather than inducing diarrhea over a period of time. If you are going into hospital for an induction, or you arrive with early, light contractions, ask for a self-applied enema. It is a little wax-like capsul shape, and you go into the bathroom and insert it yourself. You can think of it as a moment of privacy, with your own body, before you enter a period where numerous people will be helping you out very intimately. After about 15 minutes your body will empty itself completely. There are two benifits: one, you aren’t afraid of pooing during pushing, which can make some women tense up and not push effectivly. Two, the sudden activity of the bowels massage the uterus and can do strengthen contractions.
-Watch a funny movie and laugh a lot! Laughter also jiggles and stimulates the abdomen, and there are no negative side effects. You’ll raise your feel-good hormones which are only good for you and the baby! I know of someone whose waters broke while laughing over My Big Fat Greek Wedding…
– Take Murphy’s Law into account: Babies are often born at the most inconvinient times. Book up the weeks around your due date with things you look forward to doing: dinners out, walks on the beach, theater, trips to shops, dates with close friends. While there’s no proof that Murphey has ever induced labor directly, enjoying every day of living is much better than moping around and watching the clock. Enjoy!