What Causes Labor to Start?
Is it baby’s body or mom’s that gets the party started? We’re not sure. But some researchers believe that induction of labor is triggered when baby’s lungs have developed, causing baby’s hormones to interact with the placenta – and mom’s hormones to start to respond.
Whatever starts labor, what happens then is (not necessarily in this order):
- Prostaglandin increases and softens the cervix
- Oxytocin increases and starts the contractions
- The sac of membranes ruptures
Everyone’s labor is different, but here are some ideas of what you may expect as well as some natural ways to support the onset of labor.
When You Go Past Your Due Date
Some studies have shown that it actually takes 41 weeks for first-time moms to be ready to give birth. Still, when you go past 40 weeks, the clock starts ticking. Most medical professionals will not let you go past 41 weeks, since the risk of adverse events gets higher.
If your water breaks, you have even less time to get labor started naturally because the risk of infection goes up once your amniotic sac is ruptured.
While inductions with epidurals increase the risk of Caesareans greatly, it can be useful and necessary. AND, there are different ways to induce that carry different levels of risk.
Induction of Labor Methods
Here are some things your provider can do:
- Separate the membranes with a finger
- Break the mother’s water
- Provide prostaglandin, which can help soften the cervix
- Provide a low-dose injection or intravenous dose of Pitocin (oxytocin) to get contractions going
Herbs That Support the Onset of Labor
There are some herbs that are considered labor-enhancing. You should only consider trying these after 37 weeks AND ONLY UNDER THE CARE OF YOUR MEDICAL PROVIDER. [Note: I tried them all… and they didn’t work for me. But that could just be me…] Talk to your midwife or OB.
- Evening Primrose Oil: 1 or 2 caps; can be combined with other herbs such as Black Cohosh
- Black Cohosh, Squawvine, Dong Quai, Butchers Broom, and/or Red Raspberry
- Castor Oil: as a laxative
Additional Things That Will Help Induce Labor IF Baby’s Ready
Otherwise, they will help the body be ready for the big day.
Anything that will help energy move downward is great for natural induction of labor. Walking up hills (you’re pushing down), putting a strap over the top of a door and holding on to it while you sway and dance… all good.
Here are some other things that may or may not work. Always check with your caregiver first.
1. Uterine toner: Red raspberry leaf tea – 3 cups a day in 3rd trimester.
2. Sex – Side lie – be aware that lubrication may be needed. Lots of kissing and nipple stimulation.
3. Evening Primrose Oil – after 37 weeks. 1 or 2 capsules as a suppository.
4. “The Salad” at Caioti Pizza Cafe in Los Angeles (ok probably not but it’s fun).
5. Acupuncture often works wonders.
6. Get the energy to move downward from the hips. walking up hills or dancing
7. Sit and meditate. Let go of all preferences. Just allow things to be as they are. Even let your thoughts be. Just be.
Alternatively: picture the passageway opening up for baby. Talk to baby and imagine you get an answer. What would it be? Tell baby about the world that awaits, and let baby know you are ready. Picture your labor going beautifully, and then holding and nursing baby lovingly.
8. If you’ve tried all of these natural induction of labor techniques, invite some friends over or go to a movie and enjoy a few more days of freedom! Remember, the baby decides when to come out – it’s not something we get to control. But having fun and relaxing can’t hurt.
And of course, it’s crucial to learn to breathe through intense sensation, to understand how to relax your pelvic floor and make space for baby’s exit, and learn mantras, meditations and movements that help you stay connected with your power and wisdom.
You’ll be guided through all of this in every Ma Yoga Prenatal Yoga class.
Book your first FREE online prenatal yoga class with us today!