Just over 3 weeks until my due date! Cue the music…. “It’s the final countdown!”
Go on any mommy forum, and you will find countless anecdotal tips and tricks on how to ensure a spontaneous, quick, and relatively “easy” labour. Talk to any of your friends who have had babies, and they too will give you their miracle birth inducing secret that they swear to God did the trick for them.
Now, you can’t believe everything the internet tells you… But I do choose to believe everything my friends tell me. This could be why I’m generally the most gullible one in the group, but hey, a first timer will hold on to any positive advice!
By the advice of my fellow friends with babies who have experienced labour first hand, I behold on to you my rituals for the next 4 weeks. (May we also take a moment to acknowledge that I’m in now in my 36th week of pregnancy???) Please be advised that, though some of these claims do have scientific backing to some degree, I will not be linking any peer-reviewed articles in this post, nor can I promise that this will work… even for me! I’m simply applying these rituals in an attempt to give it my all at a speedy, spontaneous labour. Only time will tell if it all worked.
Disclaimer: Please consult your health care professional before assuming that I know what I’m talking about. I am having a very low risk and healthy pregnancy, and some of these tips might not be right for you depending on your current health status.
- Women’s Time Tea from Gaia Garden Herbal Dispensary – Apparently 2 cups of magical tea helps to ensure strong contractions resulting in a relatively fast labour. The tea contains red raspberry leaf, cramp bar, partridge berry, and blue cohosh… It also contains eye of newt, and a single hair plucked from a witch’s nose… Or at least it tastes like it certainly does! This shit is not easy to take down, and the recommended dose is 2 cups per day. Drink up ladies, because my one friend had a 6 hour labour and she swears it was thanks to the tea!
- 6 Dates a Day – According to one study, women who eat 6 dates a day during the 4 weeks leading up to their due date are significantly more dilated and go into labour spontaneously, thus avoiding synthetic oxytocin. This means that they have a shorter first phase of labour. Apparently the fruit has oxytocin-like effects on the body and can even help with reducing haemorrhaging postpartum! Also, have you ever eaten a date? It’s basically nature’s candy. It’s full of fibre, natural sugars, folate, potassium, and magnesium. Nature doesn’t fuck around. It provides you with the nutrients you need, even when the fruit tastes so sweet!
- Evening Primrose Oil – Anecdotal advice claims that 2000 mg of evening primrose oil a day helps with effacement. Effacement is when your cervix softens, shortens and becomes thinner in preparation for labour. Personally I take this dosage orally, however some women go as far as inserting a pricked capsule vaginally. I, myself, am of the believe that you shouldn’t just stick any random thing up your vagina, but hey, whatever works for you!
- Acupuncture – Several of my mama friends swear by this Traditional Chinese Medicine practice. Weekly acupuncture sessions starting at 36 weeks should naturally encourage my body to release prostaglandins to soften and ripen my cervix, and oxytocin to trigger contractions. I’ve also been told that it helps with easing labour pains. I’ve never had an acupuncture treatment before, and my first appointment is this Friday, so I’m pretty excited. I hear it’s very relaxing.
- Regular Exercise – I’ve already written about the importance of exercise during pregnancy: “Regular weight bearing exercise during pregnancy (this includes resistance training and most forms of cardio) have been shown to result in a higher number of uncomplicated, spontaneous deliveries (this means, not having to be induced), as well as a lower rate of C-sections. Not only that but the length of labour can be reduced by as much as one-third compared to women who do not exercise during pregnancy.” BOOM! Certain exercises such as wide squats, lunges, walking uphill or up stairs are awesome for ensuring that baby’s in the best position for labour. There are so many great stretches that help alleviate low back and hip pain during this last month of pregnancy. Just DO THEM. You will feel better after!
- General Mindfulness – This one is all on me. I haven’t been shy about my fear of labour. What I’ve started doing over the last few weeks is being mindful of my body. I’m about to go full hippie on you here, so get ready. I’ve started concentrating on positive self talk and visualizations around my labour. I’ll take a little bit of time (I’m talking like 3-5 mins here) and just envision myself labouring at home peacefully in the presence of my doula and my husband. I imagine a traffic-free drive to the hospital. I focus on visualizing myself working with my body and my baby to help breath him out earthside. I’ve even found myself talking to my baby while I shower, getting him excited for the great adventure that’s ahead of us, that only he and I will experience. Thinking of labour as an adventure versus a terrifying and impending doom, has really helped me be calm and actually get really excited for the big day.
One thing to note is that none of these methods will induce labour right away. The baby will come when he’s ready, but if it means avoiding induction, then I’m game to try anything! So now we wait and see if I do, indeed, have a fast, spontaneous, relatively easy labour! What are you tips and tricks for preventing induction and ensuring a fast labour?