Using a breast pump to induce labor is a practice that's gaining traction among pregnant moms ready to give birth. But what about once you go into labor? Are you supposed to pump immediately after going into labor? Many moms believe this will help their milk come in sooner and help their contractions come quicker. But does it really work?
According to Belly Belly, stimulating your nipples before and during labor can help speed your labor along by strengthening your contractions. Although, if your labor is progressing slowly, nipple stimulation may be a great, natural way to speed things along. Although a breast pump isn't necessary to stimulate your nipples, it's a very effective method that many moms swear by. If you don't have your breast pump on hand in the hospital, you can manually stimulate your nipples by rolling them in between your thumb and forefinger. Otherwise, your partner can do the same for you, since you'll most likely have other things — like getting through contractions — on your mind.
One study by the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group determined that nipple stimulation is an excellent "non-medical intervention allowing women greater control over the induction process." And even if you've already gone into labor, stimulation can speed the process along without the use of medication.
Whether or not your choose to add your breast pump to your hospital bag is up to you, but it may come in handy if your labor stalls or you're trying to induce naturally. And after you've given birth and breastfed your baby, many moms choose to pump in between feedings to help their milk come in quicker. Either way, a breast pump can be handy to have in your hospital bag arsenal, just in case. Labor is unpredictable — you never know if you'll need to speed things along and bringing a breast pump might be the lifesaver you need.