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What Speed Do I Put My Breast Pump At To Induce Labor?

by Sarah Hosseini

If you've been pregnant before, or currently are, you've probably thought about inducing labor at least once. After all, pregnancy can get pretty uncomfortable and anticipation-filled towards the end. There are natural and artificial techniques intended to induce labor if wanted or deemed medically necessary. One method that is believed to jump start labor is to use a breast pump. If you have one already at home you might be wondering what speed do I put my breast pump at to induce labor?

Using a breast pump to induce labor goes off the premise that nipple stimulation can jump start the birthing process. According to Healthline stimulating your nipples by rolling or rubbing them helps the body release oxytocin, a hormone that helps with a wide range of functions including uterus contractions. It's hypothesized that if a woman is ready for labor, and her cervix is ripe, stimulating the nipples will help bring on full contractions, but as the Baby Center noted this method is not currently backed by enough medical research to determine it's effectiveness. That certainly doesn't stop women from trying it or at the very least being interested in the method.

According to Belly Belly, a woman should only stimulate one nipple at a time and she should be pumping until the nipple is erect. An exact speed was not suggested or determined, but every woman has different sensations so it can be assumed whatever speed gets the nipples erect is the right speed. The site continued to recommend that the nipple keep being stimulated for one minute once the nipples are erect and suggested that pregnant women break two to four minutes in between. Even though nipple stimulation through pumping is touted as "natural" that doesn't mean it's necessarily safe. According to the same Baby Center article, women who have high risk pregnancies, which can mean anything from multiples to a history of premature births, should not try to induce labor without consulting a doctor first.

It can be tempting to try out some of these methods, especially if you have a breast pump laying around. I confess that I couldn't wait to meet my baby (and alleviate some back pain) towards the end, and often wished the whole pregnancy process was a lot faster than nine months. I remember considering some at home induction methods, but was stopped because of the possible risks. If you're considering trying any at-home induction labor methods, it's advised that you talk with your doctor or midwife first, even if it's considered natural.