Pregnant moms-to-be often spend their final weeks of pregnancy feeling less than comfortable and more than ready to meet their little ones. It's been a long nine months or so, and it's understandable that some women get a little disenchanted with the whole pregnancy experience. Some even feel the need to seek solace from the online mommy boards, bringing them across many methods for at-home, natural inductions. And although many methods have limited supportive evidence that they work, there are still some reasons you should try to induce labor naturally.
So-called "natural" or at-home labor induction methods include all kinds of things, from drinking castor oil, to eating pineapple, to going for a bumpy car ride, to having sex. Healthcare professionals feel differently about induction methods, however, with some recommending them and others warning patients to stay away. Dr. Jonathan Schaffir, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Ohio State University College of Medicine, told Fit Pregnancy that a study he and his colleagues conducted showed that fewer than half of the women who try to naturally induce labor tell their healthcare providers that they're doing so. It's important to have a chat with your healthcare provider if you're considering a non-medical induction method because some have risks, which your healthcare provider can help provide guidance about.
It's also important to make sure that you're full-term before trying anything that might speed up baby's arrival. Obviously, pre-term babies can face difficulties, so waiting until you know you've hit that 39-week mark can help make some of the natural induction methods you're considering a little bit safer.
But, if you get the OK from your doctor and are ready to meet your baby, here are a few reasons to try inducing labor naturally.
1. It Can Take Pain Away From Labor
Although it's not a sure thing, according to a systematic review conducted using studies listed in the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group's Trials Register, pregnant women who are medically induced using pitocin are more likely to require an epidural than women who aren't. That means that there's probably more pain associated with medical inductions than without them.
2. It Can Help Move Things Along
Natural induction methods may not definitively cause you to go into labor, but they may help speed things up a little bit. Having sex, for instance, can assist in inducing labor because semen contains prostaglandins, which help soften the cervix, according to Parents.
3. It Lessens The Likelihood Of The Baby Getting Too Big
You know that it can be dangerous or risky to deliver too early, but you maybe don't know that it can also be dangerous or risky to deliver too late. According to the Mayo Clinic, a baby can get too big or inhale meconium, which can cause infection, if overdue.
4. It Could Enable Vaginal Delivery
Acupuncture is a rumored natural labor induction method. A University of North Carolina study found that 70 percent of the women who received acupuncture went into labor on their own, while others had to be induced. Additionally, only 17 percent of the women who received acupuncture ended up needing a C-section. Although more research is needed, existing research shows that acupuncture may eventually help more women deliver vaginally.
5. It Could Help Make For An Easier Delivery
Acupressure and red raspberry leaf tea are both common methods for naturally inducing labor, however, they may actually be better suited to facilitating an easier labor, rather than jump-starting it. According to Healthline, both acupressure and red raspberry leaf tea can be started before your due date. You can begin acupressure at 37 weeks and the pressure can be increased closer to your due date, which helps with pain or discomfort. Red raspberry tea helps to tone the muscles of the uterus and helps contractions fall into a pattern, as the staff at OB-GYN North in Austin, Texas told Healthline. Easier labor? That sounds pretty good, doesn't it.