By the time you hit your due date, it is likely that you will be well and truly ready to meet the new member of the family. It is also probable that you are fed up of being pregnant and feeling like a beached whale and that you are now ready to try anything to get that baby out. People will be full of suggestions of how you can go about this. However, there are some that have some science and reasoning behind the theory and some that are purely and simply old wives tales.
Here is an overview of some of the ways of inducing labour and whether there is any truth or logic to the claims.
There is a fair amount of science to support the theory that sex can bring on the start of labour. Firstly, orgasms can induce contractions. Secondly, semen contains prostaglandin which softens the cervix and is what is used in pessary form to induce labour in a hospital environment. Finally, sex can trigger the release of a hormone called oxytocin which is the contraction hormone. Another advantage of using this method of natural induction is that you can have some fun and experiment with new positions as many of the positions that you are likely to use on a regular basis will be all but impossible at this stage of your pregnancy. Sex should only be avoided as an induction method if you are experiencing bleeding or if your waters have broken. In the case of the latter, sex can increase the risk of infection entering the womb.
This can be taken in tablet or tea form. It is a myth that this will induce labour. However, there is some research that suggests that it will soften and ripen your cervix in preparation for giving birth and that you will have an easier labour as a result of drinking raspberry tea for several weeks before your due date. It will certainly do you no harm to try doing this as it will have no bad side effects to either you or your baby.
The idea of this is to stimulate the whole of the nipple area as though a baby is sucking on it rather than just to tweak the nipple. This is though to encourage contractions. There is little research into whether this is safe to do during high risk pregnancies as there is some thought that this will over stimulate the uterus. It is currently only recommended that you do this if you have had no problems in your pregnancy.
The theory behind this is that it will help gravity and put pressure on your cervix. This is perfectly safe to attempt. However, be careful not to tire yourself as when you do go into labour you will need as much energy as you can.
Eating pineapple and curries
The theory behind both of these is that they will irritate the bowel, causing diarrhoea and this in turn will aggravate the uterus into contractions. There is no evidence to suggest that any of this is true. Besides which, do you really fancy having to contend with not only contractions, but stomach cramps and diarrhoea at the same time. Also, there is some suggestion that you would actually have to eat approximately seven fresh pineapples to achieve the desired effect!
Two that midwives definitely do not recommend
Over the years, castor oil and paraffin have both been hailed as being good ways to induce the onset of labour. Midwives would str4ongly advise that YOU DO NOT USE THESE METHODS TO SELF INDUCE and that they are dangerous. One of the reasons for this is that they will give you severe stomach cramps.
For the record, I am two days overdue with my third baby on writing this, I was also ten days overdue with my daughter and thirteen days overdue with my son. I have tried pretty much all of these methods and have yet to find one that works. Perhaps this tells you that nature will take its course and that the baby will come out when it is good and ready.