Disclaimer... The information below is solely for the purpose of gathering information and is not intended to be used without the consultation/advise/recommendation of your 
midwife or OBGYN. 

Natural Methods of Labor Induction

Sexual Intercourse/Masterbation
Semen contains naturally occurring hormones called prostaglandins. When released during intercourse, the prostaglandins can aid in the softening of the cervix which prepares it to dilate. Prostaglandins can also trigger uterine contractions. Another advantage of using intercourse to induce labor is the oxytocin that is produce during female orgasm. Oxytocin is a hormone that is proven to begin contractions in the uterus when the body is ready for labor.

Nipple Stimulation
This method, along with sexual intercourse, may be one that makes the expectant mother uncomfortable. Nipple stimulation is the act of taking the nipple between two fingers and rubbing or massaging. This practice causes the release of oxytocin, which we have established can trigger contractions. Many women who use this practice will caution that the resulting contractions from nipple stimulation are strong and can be quite painful. In order to experience true results, the nipples must be massaged for adequate time periods. The usual suggestion for stimulation is around 15 minutes per nipple several times a day. Physicians will warn if you decide to use this method at home, not to begin until you have reached or surpassed your due date due to the possibility of such strong contractions.

Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil is another source of prostaglandins. Regularly sold as a soft gel capsule, it can be taken orally as soon as 34 weeks, however at-home methods of labor induction are strongly advised against before 37 weeks. The usual dosage is two 500mg capsules per day. For best results, primrose oil capsules can be inserted vaginally so they rest on the cervix causing it to thin and soften for dilation.

Castor Oil
Castor oil has long been thrown around as a method to induce labor. Some women swear by it, while others tell you to steer clear of it. Swallowing a few tablespoons of oil, even though this one is tasteless and odorless, is never pleasant. And of course, let’s not forget to mention how and why this stuff works.

The castor oil acts as a laxative, stimulating the bowels and causing diarrhea. The cramping that occurs with the diarrhea helps the uterus to contract, which is supposed to kick start your labor.

The controversy surrounding castor oil is due to the speculation that it can cause the baby to release meconium in the womb. Meconium is the baby’s first bowel movement and if released while still in the womb the baby can inhale it, possibly causing respiratory problems and even pneumonia.

Another danger occurs if the mother has diarrhea severe enough to cause dehydration and exhaustion. Adequate fluids, most importantly water, are needed to provide sufficient nutrients to the baby. If the mother becomes dehydrated she will put the baby’s health in danger. Poor hydration can also lead to an inadequate milk supply for a breastfeeding mom.

Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies
It is said that the body will not respond to natural methods of labor induction unless it is ready for labor. You need to be free of stress and ready to handle the physical and emotional challenges labor will bring. To get your body ready for labor, one good at-home method to use is meditation. Sitting alone in a quiet room with soothing music and some aromatherapy will help the body de-stress and be ready for the on-set of labor.

Acupuncture is another good way to relieve stress and even start contractions using two particular trigger points on your body. One point is located about 2-3 inches above the inner ankle on your calf. The other can be found the webbing between your thumb and forefinger.

Blue and black cohosh are said to help labor by triggering contractions. There is no significant research to prove that these plant roots actually start contractions, but some women feel that they do help stimulate the uterus.

Stripping of the Membranes
During a visit to your physician, she may perform a procedure call a stipping or sweeping of the membranes. She will insert a finger or two in the vaginal opening and “sweep” the cervix, pushing it from one side to the other. This pulls the membranes of the bag of water away from the cervix, causing the cervix to be able to stretch out and begin to thin. This process can also cause the release of prostaglandins, which will begin contractions. It is a quite painful and uncomfortable procedure and does not always produce results when performed.

Breech Turning Techniques

Has she tried all the ways to try to turn a breech baby?

  1. Laying on her back on a board or using pillows so that her head is about 40 degrees lower than her feet.
  2. Play music, preferably with headphones, placing them low down on her uterus.
  3. Shine a very bright light low down on her uterus, or even between her legs.
  4. Have someone (preferably the father) talk loudly but soothingly to the baby, low on the belly, close to the skin, telling the baby to turn around, to come towards the voice (have also heard that commanding works).
  5. If all else fails, how about external version? This is where the mother is given drugs to relax her uterus, then the doctor uses his hands externally to turn the baby around. This, of course, has it’s pros and cons, which should be weighed. It also can be very painful for the mother, but not as much pain as she’ll have after a c-section.
  6. Hypnotherapy is supposed to work really well because of the relaxation it induces.
  7. A chiropractic technique called Webster’s technique.
  8. Music & light
    -Light near the crotch area, especially while sleeping.
    -Music on lower abdomen also may work during the day. Use classical or other very soothing music.
  9. Acupuncture and Moxibustion

*Accupuncturist Susan Minich is excellent (Burbank CA) and is currently accepting new patients. Please call 818-400-8826 to schedule an appointment.

Something I have seen work with several of my moms and myself is having the Daddy put his mouth down where the babies head should be, then Daddy should talk to his baby and tell him/her to turn around and put its head where it should be. My last baby always responded to Daddy’s voice and did whatever he ask! Another thing I’ve seen work is playing music to the baby using headphones and placing them where the baby’s head should be. Sometimes babies will turn to hear the tunes!!

Have you ever heard of elephant walking? It has worked well for my students who carry breech near term. Elephant walking is walking on hands and feet instead of knees. As soon as you try it, you will see why it would work! It’s very difficult to do, but it definitely helps loosen the baby up and out of the pelvic ring. Some people feel the baby turn as soon as they start doing it.

Other methods that have worked:

  • Have the mother walk on her hands in a swimming pool.
  • Place a transistor radio in the mother’s pants and play it for 10 minutes 6 to 8 times a day.
  • Move a flashlight over the belly from the fundus to the pelvis while the mother is in the tilt position.
  • Homeopathic Pulsatilla in 200C potency or higher. Have the mother take one dose every 3 days while doing tilt exercises.
  • Stimulation of the acupuncture point bladder 67 (located on the little toe at the outer corner of the nailbed).
  • Pelvic rocking and exercises to strengthen muscle tone.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of waiting to have a version performed by a doctor using ultrasound and uterine relaxing drugs.
  • Have a chiropractor perform the Webster technique as appropriate.

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