Pregnancy can last an estimated 40 weeks, give or take depending on your body, on how long (depending on when you found out (although the timeframe doesn’t change), potential complications, and when the baby is really done cooking.
Some of them are cozy and want to stay in there just a little bit longer. But once the end is near, there are many women who want to actually get labor going, depending on if they are close to their due date, and also if they are past it and want to try and go naturally before having to be medically induced.
Natural Induction vs. Medical Induction
Some women will start labor on their own. They go on time, nothing special. This means that their body read all the signals right and was able to do so.
However, there are plenty of women through multiple pregnancies that have never gone into natural labor, they’ve always been induced. Medical induction is not something that is recommended when the pregnancy is just a day or so overdue.
And for some, merely scheduling an induction seems to tell the universe they are ready (really it happens). But a medical induction should “only occur if the mother’s or the baby’s health is at risk, pregnancies that have lasted 42 weeks or longer, or if the baby is in distress.”
Medicated induction generally is brought on generally by Pitocin. The reason why this tends to be more painful is that instead of the body taking days for the cervix to soften and open during natural active labor, the body is being forced to have contractions, that are going to be more regular because they were medically induced.
Women who have natural active labor can labor for days before their water breaks (if it even does) which gives the body more time to adjust for what is about to happen.
Because of the potential for more pain, many women want to try different ways to induce natural labor in order to avoid the medically induced kind. While the focus will be on acupressure, let’s see what other ways there are as well, in order to offer a broad base of knowledge for you.
Different Methods for Naturally Inducing Labor
Many women swear by different methods for getting labor started for various reasons, they are past their due date, uncomfortable, or whatever the case may be. But if you aren’t past your due date, let the baby cook and do things naturally. Here are some additional ways to help get the baby moving :
- Work Out: We’re not talking go run a marathon or try bodybuilding for the first time, but you could go for a leisurely walk to raise the heart rate. You might be waddling at this point but it can definitely help get your body moving in the right direction.
- Do the Deed: While you may not be feeling sexy at this current moment in your life, your partner still thinks you are. Having sex can release the feel-good oxytocin hormones which can help start contractions. As long as your water hasn’t broken, you’re good to go (plus it will be a bit before you get it on again, so savor the moments).
- Stimulate the Nipples: Either you, or your partner, or a breast pump can help jumpstart uterine contractions. This is also helpful after you have the baby to get the uterus back down to its normal size.
- Foods: Red raspberry leaf tea is commonly used to help strengthen and tone the uterus. While it may not put you in labor (although some people swear by it), you will stay thoroughly hydrated because it’s good. You can also try spicy foods, which in a way supposedly help get things moving down there. But if you have heartburn or never eat spicy foods this might not be the best route.
- Additional methods that involve outside parties are acupuncture, and membrane stripping which has to be done by your OB. While it’s not something that deals with medicinal avenues, it’s still not something you can do at home.
Acupressure to Induce Labor
There is a reason why many discourage women from getting a massage at the pedicure place while pregnant. There are certain parts of the feet and the body that can potentially jump-start labor.
While there are certain points to press on it’s definitely something you may want to try a professional for. And while it is extremely similar to acupuncture, there are no needles involved, which for many is a blessing.
However, if you are going to take part in this yourself let’s delve into what those certain areas are for getting labor started. There are 9 specific points that can help induce labor, they are spleen 6 point, pericardium 8 point, bladder 32 point, bladder 67 point, large intestine 4 point, kidney 1 point, gallbladder 21 point, liver 3 point and bladder 60 point . Here’s how to use them:
- Spleen 6 Point: located about 4 centimeters above the ankle bone on the back of the leg, apply firm pressure with an index finger for a few seconds, release for a minute and then repeat.
- Pericardium 8 Point: located in the middle of your palm (where if you make a fist, where your middle finger hits the hand), press and massage with your opposite thumb for a few seconds.
- Bladder 32 Point: Felt at the dimple of the buttocks apply firm vertical pressure for a few minutes.
- Bladder 67 Point: Located on your pinky toe (ticklish people beware) right outside the nail and apply pressure with thumb and index finger like a pinch. It should not hurt though so don’t pinch too hard.
- Large Intestine 4 Point: At the fleshy part in between the thumb and index finger and press and massage together for a few moments and then release.
While the list provided shows additional acupressure points, those are for women already in labor to help ease the pains and emotional stress during the process of actually having the child.
While these are again techniques that can be done at home, it’s not something that you want to attempt before you’ve hit the 40-week mark. Prior to that, you run the risk of complications.
Now we do understand that getting a pedicure at the end it almost a necessity because well many can’t reach their feet to paint the toes (there is a significantly large obstruction in the way).
So when you go, just ask them to not to do the massage because you don’t want to run the risk of going into early labor. Another way to ensure that the pressure points are being hit correctly is to go to a professional, or there are even some doulas or midwives that can help with that if they are trained in the area.
Whatever the case may be, know that most times, the body knows what it’s doing and the baby needs to stay in a bit longer, but if you can go into labor naturally, it’s preferable and generally less painful than being induced. Try these techniques and see what happens.
- Easing the Pain of Induced Labor (H. Cunningham). Parenting. http://www.parenting.com/article/easing-the-pain-of-induced-labor
- Natural Ways to Induce Labor (HealthLine). https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/natural-ways-to-induce-labor#exercise
- Most Effective Pressure Points to Induce Labor http://acupressurepointsguide.com/pressure-points-to-induce-labor/