Avoiding Medical Induction
If you read my previous article on choosing natural childbirth, you know that I had a negative experience with induction during the birth of my son. In short, pitocin contractions suck, epidurals kind of work, and all my birth hopes and plans went out the window.
I was 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant with my son when they decided to induce me. They were concerned about his size, my ability to give birth to him, and the impacts of my gestational diabetes. And, being a first time mom, I was terrified, so I followed my doctors suggestions. I trusted her.
At our most recent appointment, I had some questions about my doctor’s stance on induction and birth:
- Did they have a preference for the format of birth plans and preferences? Her answer: whatever you want to do. Your preferences will be my preferences. What? Is this doctor real?
- How far beyond my due date can I go? Her answer: well, some high risk doctors would prefer to deliver you at 39 weeks because of your age. Honestly, it is your body. If the baby is healthy, and you are healthy, it is up to you.
- What are your thoughts on natural induction? Her answer: well, what do you mean by natural induction? I wouldn’t do castor oil, but everything else? Go for it. Let me know if membrane stripping is something you’d be interested in, too.
I was…floored. This was so different from my interactions with my first OB, who responded to virtually every question as if I was a silly, idealistic little girl. This time, I left the doctor’s office feeling empowered. I have a say over how this birth is going to go. My OB has my back.
So, as I approach the 40 week mark, I will be taking some steps toward inducing birth naturally:
- Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Right now, I am drinking a cup of red raspberry leaf tea every day. As the weeks progress, I will increase the amount (and strength) of the tea.
- Exercise: While I have been pretty active throughout this pregnancy, I plan to step up my game as my due date approaches, walking as often as I can, as briskly as I can.
- Eating Spicy Foods: I am not going to lie, spicy foods have been my go to throughout this pregnancy (and even when I am not pregnant). But as I near my due date, I will be eating as much spicy food as my heartburn will tolerate!
- Pineapple: Yes! Pineapple! The Bromelain in pineapple is thought to stimulate the uterus, and get labor going.
- Nipple Stimulation: I was too afraid to try this with my first pregnancy, but if necessary I will be breaking out the new breast pump and giving it a whirl. This is said to help kick start labor.
- Acupuncture: I hadn’t really considered this before, but acupuncture can be used to try and stimulate labor. Some practitioners suggest that it takes only one treatment to get things going!
- Membrane Stripping: This involves your OB/practitioner separating your amniotic sac from the cervix. I have heard that it is rather uncomfortable, but could be well worth it. This will be a last resort for me, however. If my water were to break too early, without contractions, it could lead to unwanted interventions.
I am not in any rush for baby to get here. I want him to stay put, and take time to grow and develop. Once I begin to approach that 40 week mark, however, I will be employing as many techniques as necessary to start labor naturally, and to avoid any potential interventions during birth.
There are so many different suggestions and practices for natural induction. What did you do to kickstart your labor?
Update: Want to read about my experience with natural induction techniques? Check out my update, here.