Only a very small percentage of women go into labour and give birth on their actual 'due date'. I was one of those low statistics as my first born made her appearance on her predicted birth date, yet my son (my second born) stayed comfortably inside several days after his date of expectance.
We hear many women say that they would rather not have to be medically induced and try to avoid this by encouraging natural labour themselves or with their Doctor.
Remember it is always vital that you confirm all ideas and thoughts with your Doctor, especially in those last few days/weeks of pregnancy. However once you past 38 weeks and your Doctor is content with yours and your baby's progress and health, some simple things can be done to help bring on a naturally triggered labour.
Dr Chong talks with his patients about the 4 S's. These stimulations can assist the labour process and ripen the cervix ready for dilation.
Sex and orgasms have many health benefits, and can play a role in assisting labour naturally. It is safe to have sexual intercourse during pregnancy (unless stated otherwise by your personal Doctor for medical reasons) and some studies show that the female hormones released during sex are linked to relaxation, happy emotions, feelings of love and surges of bond/trust. During a time of high stress (pregnancy), your body will revel in these hormonal bursts and in turn your muscles will also benefit. Some women have said the orgasmic spasms have helped start labour contractions in their late stages of pregnancy.
Also, semen contains prostaglandins; a compound that is linked to triggering uterine contractions and ripening the cervix in preparation for birth.
2. Stimulation of the Nipples:
Nipple Stimulation produces Oxytocin, which is the natural hormone that activates labour and uterine contractions. It is a process that requires some patience though - massage one nipple for five minutes, including the areola, then complete the same massage on the other nipple around 15 minutes later.
3. Sweeping of the Membranes (sometimes referred to as Stretch & Sweep):
This is usually a last resort concept for women who would like to naturally start labour and are at the end or past their due date. Although it is medically involved, it is still a drug-free option. I had this procedure done during my first pregnancy )the day before her due date) and sure enough she was born the next day, whereas my second pregnancy, it didn't seem to have much effect.
Your Doctor or Care Provider will perform the procedure. It is quite intrusive - some women find it very uncomfortable yet others say it felt no different to a standard Pap smear. The procedure involves a physical separation (by hand via the vagina) of the membranes (water sac/bag) and the cervix.
You may experience some cramping, contractions or light spotting after a Stretch and Sweep, and it is important to keep this area clean and hygienic before, during and after such a procedure.
4. Squatting & Pelvic Rocking:
Pelvic Rocking is great for realigning the uterus, and stretching and positioning your baby in preparation for birth.
How to do it?
On your hands and knees, tilt your pelvis under by contracting your abdominal muscles. Focus on your back, to avoid any arching or bending. When it is done properly, the movement is very small and your back should stay at an almost flat level.
Some women find that sitting on a large exercise ball during their final weeks of pregnancy a great option for improving posture, muscle strengthening and aligning their core balance. Use the ball to squat and rock your pelvis in preparation for labour and to ensure your baby is in the most comfortable and correct position for an uncomplicated birth.
As stated above, only consider natural induction triggers when you have had medical clearance and are at the end of your pregnancy. Ensure your baby's head is is engaged (dropped into position in the pelvis) and your cervix has softened ready for the birth process.
Enjoy these last few days/weeks of being pregnant and trust the journey. Contact Dr Chong if you wish to share your pregnancy and birthing experience with him.
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