Labor induction is the process of assisting your body to start or increase the labor process. There can be many different reasons for a labor inductions. Sometimes these reasons for induction is due to the baby, sometimes it is due to the mother and sometimes it is due to both as in the case of post dates, when a mother is past her due date.
Some methods for induction are natural and others are medical. There are two steps to induction, the first is getting the cervix ready the second are having contractions. For any induction to work the cervix must be ready, if it is not ready than starting contractions will be very painful and may not work. Some steps in the induction process is to soften and ripen the cervix while other steps are to start the contractions. If the cervix is soften and ripen than this step will likely be skipped.
It is always recommended that you discuss with your healthcare provider alternative methods to start induction.
What got the baby in, will help get the baby out…
Having intercourse works on softening the cervix and preparing the uterus. When a women have an orgasm later in the pregnancy you will often have a contraction, this process helps develop the receptors on the uterus for labor. Additionally, the progesterone in the semen helps soften and ripen the cervix for labor.
Nipple stimulation works on having contractions. When the nipples are stimulated in the last few weeks your body starts to release oxytocin when then stimulates contractions. This can be done by yourself or with a partner, 5 minutes of stimulation then 5 minutes rest and repeat. This should not be done with a breast pump but with your fingers. Other ways include taking a warm shower with the warm water on your breast and the heat will have a similar effect in releasing oxytocin and start contractions.
Castor oil works on contractions. There is no clear reasons on how castor oil works other than it stimulates the bowels and that then stimulates labor. Castor oil will make you have bowel movements and only works if your cervix is soften and ready, if it not and you take castor oil then you will end up having bowel movements and no contractions. Here are some castor oil recipes:
4 oz of castor oil, mixed with a milk shake. May repeat another 2 oz 4 hrs later if no effect. Or put the castor oil in orange juice and place a straw at the separation line. Let the straw mix the castor oil and orange juice as it is sipped.
4 oz castor oil in 4 oz of orange juice. Add ½ tsp of baking soda immediately before swallowing to reduce the oily feel. May repeat in 4 hours if no effect
2 oz castor oil in rootbeer float, repeat in 4 hours if no effect, repeat again in another 4 hours if no effect.
Acupuncture and acupressure works on contractions. There is a growing body of evidence showing that acupuncture will work on starting contractions, this is the main reasons it is not recommended to get a foot massage because many of these points are located around the feet and ankles.