Many expectant moms are ready to bring a long pregnancy to an end, and what better way than to start the labor process at home in the comfort of your shower. The internet, your mom friends, and "old wives" who spin tales about childbirth, are more than happy to share ways to help you bring your baby into the world. One method that was brought to my attention was taking a steaming shower. But does warm water hitting your breasts during a shower induce labor?
Before I answer this question, let me pause to remind you that just because induction methods are natural doesn't deem them automatically safe, according to Baby Center. OB-GYN Jonathan Schaffir told Fit Pregnancy that women who want to induce labor often do things without letting their physician or midwife know. This is not recommended. "The safest and healthiest labor is one that starts spontaneously," Schaffir said. On the other hand, because only five percent of babies are born on their due date according to Fit Pregnancy, your body might signal that it's time to deliver before or after your due date. That's because, as reported by Mayo Clinic, your due date is only an educated guess of when your baby is going to arrive. So, to be safe, make sure you discuss all labor induction methods with your birthing team, even if they just involve your favorite shower head and some warm water.
According to the site Natural Pregnancy Midwife, warm water is ideal for inducing labor because it will relax you. The same article cautioned against having the temperature too high (you don't want to turn red) because the baby feels the heat even more than you do, and you want to keep your little one safe.
Birth support practitioner Viji Natarajan told Romper that stimulating your breasts tricks your body into thinking a newborn is already there nursing. The pressure from your shower hitting your breasts imitates a "sucking action," and results in the release of oxytocin, which Fit Pregnancy noted can induce contractions. Natarajan confirmed that "the release of oxytocin causes uterine contractions, softening and dilating the cervix." Parents confirmed that a dilated cervix gets you ready to begin active labor and deliver your baby.
So, there's solid evidence that the warm shower on your breasts method can help induce labor. Just make sure you're under a physician or midwife's care before you lather up. And who knew your breasts could have so many cool functions?