Methods of Natural Labor Induction

Published: 16th February 2006
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Methods of Natural Labor Induction or Will Castor Oil or Eggplant Start Labor?

Labor Inducing Eggplant Parmesan

One of the methods of self-inducing labor that's been sweeping the internet in recent years is the myth that eggplant will send you into labor. This myth started when a news story began circulating the country about a restaurant in GA, named Scalini's. Apparently over 300 babies have been born in the past 23 years, within 48 hours after their mothers had eaten Scalini's eggplant parmegiana.

The interesting part is, it may just be that the dish causes the women to go into labor, but it's not the eggplant that does the inducing. The herbs Oregano and Basil have properties that may cause contractions, though it is not yet known how or in what quantities. This is why, in alternative health circles, these herbs and essential oils are to be avoided whenever possible during pregnancy.

Sex to Induce Labor

Semen contains prostaglandins. Prostaglandins cause the cervix to "ripen", or soften and prepare to open. While it is debatable whether there are enough prostaglandins in semen to have any effect, it is not a terrible way to keep hope alive and while away the last weeks of your pregnancy. Another great benefit: orgasm produces oxytocin, the hormone that causes contractions. So, between the two, there is a pretty good recipe for labor.

Evening Primrose Oil and Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Neither will induce labor. I will repeat this at the end of this section, to make sure you understand this, as there is a lot of confusion and misconception surrounding these two substances.

Evening primrose oil is an excellent source of prostaglandins, which we already determined readies your cervix for labor. It can be taken orally as soon as 34 weeks, and can be applied directly to the cervix at full term (36 weeks). The general recommendation is two 500mg capsules per day until week 38, at which time you increase to 3-4 per day.

The entire capsule can be inserted vaginally (inserted just before bed, it will dissolve before the first time you wake
to use the bathroom), or you can use the oil on your fingers for your perineal massage, then also rub on your cervix
(assuming you can reach it). Applying directly to the cervix is great, but the beneficial ingredients are absorbed through the external skin or the stomach also.

Red raspberry leaf tea is a uterine tonic used by Native Americans for thousands of years. It tones your uterus by
helping to "focus" your Braxton Hicks contractions. It helps your uterus do more effective exercising while you are
pregnant, if you will. It does not "cause" contractions and can be safely used throughout pregnancy.

It is contraindicated for those having complications "just in case", however, by most doctors who do not understand its
use. I safely used it from the moment I learned I was pregnant at six weeks until months after I delivered, with
both of my children. (It helps to tone the uterus after delivery as well, shrinking it back to size more quickly and reducing bleeding. It is also purported to have milk supply increasing proprties. See

Again, neither of these actually causes labor to start!

Castor Oil to Bring on Labor

First let me just say that I do not recommend this method. That is because I used it with my second child (Eva) and it
was just about the most horrible mistake I could have made (other than maybe getting another epidural, anyway). Read my birth story for details thStory.aspx.

The theory behind this induction method is that the castor oil causes diarrhea (boy, does it ever!) and the diarrheal
cramps cause sympathetic cramping in your uterus. This is another of the methods that "won't work if you're not
already ready anyway", as the sympathetic cramping will be ineffectual if all conditions are not already optimal for
labor. In my case, my contractions began 10 minutes after my first dose of oil, hours before the diarrhea began.
Therefore, it could not have been the castor oil that brought on labor in my case, and I caused myself all that
trouble for nothing.

There has been much debate over whether taking castor oil to induce labor will cause the baby to have its first bowel
movement in the womb before birth. This pre-birth bowel movement, called meconium, can be dangerous, because if baby
inhales some of it it can cause pneumonia in the lungs. It is also a widely-held signal that the baby is in some sort
of distress.

I am the self-professed queen of research on any and all pregnancy and breastfeeding-related topics, and in all my
scouring I've found that most professionals agree that this is untrue. They have found that there is no increased
occurrence of meconium in castor oil induced labors over spontaneous labors.

Nipple Stimulation to Self-induce

This is a practice often recommended by midwives when a woman is long past due or when labor is stalled. Nipple
stimulation causes the release of oxytocin, the same hormone that causes uterine contractions.

Many women report, however, that the contractions produced from this method are much stronger and more painful than
natural labor, but are not any more effective. Please note: In order to use this method for induction, you must
stimulate the nipples for long periods of time. The usual recommendation is 15 minutes of continual stimulation on
each nipple each hour for several hours.

So, the amount of stimulation you may get during lovemaking, or while nursing an older child or pumping your breasts while pregnant will not cause you to go into labor.

Acupressure/Acupuncture for Inducing or Augmenting Labor

There are two points on your body that will cause uterine contractions. They are always warned against during
pregnancy, though they are widely believed to be another labor inducing method that will not work if you are not
already ready to deliver. I used them many times during my final weeks of off and on labor, to try to keep things
moving when it would start. While it kept the contractions coming, they never got any more intense and would just peter
out after I stopped the stimulation.

These points are about four finger-widths above the inner ankle on your calf, and in the webbing between your thumb
and forefinger. You will know when you've found the spot because it will be very sore. You rub your calf, or pinch
the webbing on your hand, in a circular motion for 30-60 second at a time, taking 1-2 minute breaks in between. Read
Natural Pain Relief Techniques for Childbirth Using Acupressure for more info (link to thStory.aspx)

Stripping Membranes for Natural Labor Induction

There is a procedure your doctor or midwife can perform called "stripping" or "sweeping" your membranes. The
healthcare professional will insert their finger(s) into your cervix and sweep from side to side, pulling the membranes (bag of water) away from the mouth of the cervix and the lower uterus, and in the process stretching and irritating your cervix. Sometimes this will generate local production of prostaglandins and enough of the necessary hormones to start labor. Sometimes it takes 3 or 4 attempts to begin labor.

Many women find this to be a very uncomfortable, if not painful, procedure. This is a medical intervention and
should be taken as seriously as any medical induction method. Herbs and Homeopathic Remedies All substances that would fall in this category, such as Blue and Black Cohosh are general considered to be as unsafe as medical
interventions, and if they are to be used must be used only under the recommendation and supervision of your doctor or

Copyright: Eva Lillian Maternity, LLC(c) 2004 All rights

Jessica Hudson is owner of the sexiest store for Maternity Clothing, Nursing Clothing, and Transitional Clothing [link
"Maternity Clothing, Nursing Clothing, and Transitional Clothing" to ] on the web. She is
an avid researcher of everything baby, pregnancy and nursing related. To receive monthly coupons and more articles like
this, sign up for Eva Lillian's newsletter [link "sign up for Eva Lillian's Newsletter" to eturnPage=CustProfileMain.aspx&?referrer=ariclelists ].

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