6 ways to kick start labour

I am not sure if there is something in the water but I have 5 lovely clients all due to give birth in the next few weeks. It is going to be a busy time in the studio but I am so looking forward to having lots of snuggles with all these gorgeous babies. I feel like an expectant parent myself, waiting to hear their happy news.


To give all the lovely mums-to-be a little help with getting things moving along, I have compiled a list of 6 tips and tricks to try and help start labour. Some of these I tried myself however I was induced at 38 weeks due to gestational diabetes so it is difficult to know whether any of these would have made a difference but when you are over 40 weeks, I guess you will try anything.


Exercise


Being upright helps your baby move down on to your cervix. Exercise can also help you sleep, reduce your anxiety and improve your mood. Just make sure you listen to your body, find a balance and only do what you can. You’ll need to save some energy for labour. I did a lot of walking (or should I say waddling) during pregnancy but as you may recall during the summer of 2018, it was hot hot hot so tended to swim a lot and went to aqua natal classes and I am so glad I did. Click here to find out about being fit for birth.


Dates


This is something I tried thanks to a tip at my NCT parenting course. There are some small studies that show that eating dates for a few weeks before your due date may encourage your cervix to open (dilate) however there isn't enough research to confirm this. Dates contain lots of good sugars, fibre, protein, folate, vitamin K, iron and magnesium so if nothing else, they are good to eat during pregnancy anyway.


Raspberry leaf tea


Raspberry leaf tea is a type of herbal tea that is high in vitamins, minerals and tannins. It is thought to help tone the muscles of your womb so they work more efficiently when you're in labour. Some women start drinking raspberry leaf tea in late pregnancy. If you want to try raspberry leaf tea, it’s recommended you start taking it around 32 weeks pregnant. Start with 1 cup of tea a day, gradually increasing to 2/3 cups spread throughout the day. More information about raspberry leaf tea can be found here.


Spicy Food


The theory is that a spicy curry can stimulate your bowel to empty and this effect can stimulate your uterus. There’s no proof that this can work and it may not be a great idea if you’ve had lots of heartburn or indigestion during pregnancy, which can be common.


Having Sex


Having sex when you’re heavily pregnant may be difficult and there’s no evidence that it will help start labour. Having sex releases the hormones and prostaglandins which initiate the birthing process by softening the cervix. If you’re having a low-risk pregnancy, sex won’t cause any harm to you or the baby. Just be careful not to have sex if your waters have broken because this can cause infection. There is a small amount of evidence that nipple stimulation can bring on labour. The idea is to trick your body into thinking you are suckling your baby. This releases oxytocin, a hormone that helps contractions to start.



Eating Pineapple


Pineapple contains an enzyme called bromelain, which is thought to soften the cervix. One pineapple contains a very small amount of bromelain, so you’d have to eat a lot of pineapple for it to have any effect, which probably wouldn’t be great for your stomach.


Summary


It is important to remember that, as much as you may want to hold that snuggly bundle in your arms, your baby will come when he/she is ready. It is recommended that you speak to your midwife before trying different ways to bring on labour.



Just had a baby? Congratulations. Read here to find out which 4 photographs you must get of your newborn.


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