The stages of pregnancy can be an incredible, albeit seemingly long journey. As a pregnant woman you can learn a boatload about yourself when you have to trudge through the physical and emotional changes that accompany growing another human being inside your body. If you're anything like me, however, you may reach the point in your pregnancy when you unapologetically say, “Get this thing out of me already! How can I speed up labor?!" Girl, you are not alone. Trust me.
If your body is seemingly begging to no longer be pregnant, and you're ready to kick labor into gear, BabyCenter has a list of things to try to get labor started. If your water is not broken, and if your consenting partner has sperm, the prostaglandins in the sperm will stimulate the cervix. So give unprotected vaginal sex a shot (just make sure to not pull out.)
Nipple stimulation, according to the experts at BabyCenter, also helps your body release oxytocin naturally. As challenging as it might be to do when you're in the third trimester and physically uncomfortable, relaxing and meditating while focusing on your breath and taking a warm bath is also a great way to get that oxytocin flowing. All of these things can help relax the muscles and even relieve some of the discomfort during labor once it gets started. BabyCenter cautions that not all at-home labor inducers are safe, though, and some — like drinking castor oil or taking certain herbs — should be avoided. And, as always, it's best to consult your doctor before taking matters into your own hands at home.
If these at-home remedies fail, there's the question as to whether or not certain medications that speed up labor are safe. I know I personally had this question when I had to be induced with my third child.
According to The Mayo Clinic, pitocin is a commonly used induction drug. Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin designed to kick start contractions. Despite being assured that Pitocin contractions are just like regular contractions, my personal experience is that they are worlds apart. My first two childbirth experiences were unmedicated, but after less than 12 hours on Pitocin I was demanding an epidural. Loudly. The National Institutes of Health also says Pitocin induction increases the likelihood of a C-section.
There are other drugs that can induce or encourage stalled labor, including uterine stimulants like cervidil and cycotec. The Bump explains further, saying, "Cervidil is a vaginal insert that contains prostaglandin. It helps jumpstart labor by softening the cervix and preparing it for birth." Cycotec, however, is a controversial drug not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the off-label use of labor induction. Birth Boot Camp says that because of cycotec's method of delivery, it can not be removed once it's administered and has apparently been linked to complications up to and including death of the mother and the baby.
You can experience so much chaos, confusion, and uncertainty during labor and delivery, so it's important to do your research and talk to your providers before you go into labor. Ask questions until you're completely satisfied you have the answers you need, dear reader. Knowing what options are available to assist your labor and delivery (regardless of your birth plan and/or where you decide to give birth) will not only be beneficial for your body, as it does something truly incredible, but for your peace of mind, too.
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