Natural Ways to Induce Labour
Pregnancy is magical, but it can also be tough. You carry a baby for 9 long months, and once your due date arrives you're often eager to meet that sweet little bundle you've been cooking. But - these babes don't always follow a calendar, and sometimes 40 weeks can arrive and go. So, what are some natural ways to induce labour to help get things kickstarted?
Clary Sage essential oil
Clary sage has long been recommended as a method to induce labour. It is a utero tonic meaning it can stimulate the uterus to contract. Always use a carrier oil; mix a few drops of clary sage into the carrier oil and rub on your bump. You can also pop some on a bit of fabric to smell. Or you can mix some in the bath along with some milk to relax in. The milk helps to mix the oil in the water and stops neat oil sitting on the surface of the water. Clary sage should not be used before 37 weeks, and should also not be used if you are having a VBAC or have had previous uterine surgery. If in doubt, check first with your midwife.
Using a birth ball
Using a birth ball can be a natural way to induce labour. Bouncing on a bath ball can help baby get into an optimum position in the pelvis ready for birth. Gentle bouncing can also put pressure on your cervix, which can encourage or strengthen contractions.
Stair and curb walking
Babies heads can be like a jigsaw piece , needing to be slotted in accurately into the pelvis. Stair walking and curb walking opens the pelvis. They both allow extra space for baby to wiggle in there and slot into the perfect position.
Whilst no studies have shown proof, many say that reflexology can be an effective method to induce labour. Reflexology works by applying pressure to key points in the body, via the foot. It follows the belief that the foot is connected to all parts of our body the body's responses. You can find reflexology tutorials online, or you can treat yourself to an appointment with a reflexologist.
A warm bath
Being relaxed signals to our body that it is safe for baby to come. Way back when we lived in caves, we wouldn't want to be going into labour whilst we were running away from a sabre-toothed tiger. Whilst we no longer have to worry about tigers, our body is still clever and stress and anxiety can inhibit birth starting. So, a warm bath, your hypnobirthing relaxations, a massage, or even a cosy nap snuggled with your pregnancy pillow; anything that makes you feel calm and relaxed can be helpful for naturally inducing labour.
For all the reasons I have stated above, hypnobirthing can also be a tool to kickstart labour. One of the goals of hypnobirthing is to help you to feel calm and confident about your upcoming birth during pregnancy. Doing a course, such as The Birth Chapter, can help you not to worry about birth and instead to feel relaxed and even excited as your due date approaches. This course covers how to induce labour naturally but it also covers a medical induction, what happens and what techniques you can use to cope with an induction and labour.
Most importantly – don’t lose sight of the fact that you have grown a baby for the last 9 months. It can be easy to forget how incredible that is now that you are eagerly awaiting baby. So whilst you are trying to naturally induce your labour, also make sure you give yourself a huge amount of credit for the amazing thing you have already done.
Guest article written by midwife Beth from The Bump to Baby Chapter.