My babies like to cook. My buns (yes plural, as in two children over 40 weeks) in the oven were comfy. Both my children were born after their due dates. My son was 41+5 and my daughter was 40+4. If you don’t have children, or don’t know what that means, your due date is 40 weeks from conception. Technically, they say 37 weeks is full term, and after 40 is, well, overripe.
Photo taken by the lovely Cari Murray Photography
People get wayyy too caught up in due dates. I look at it as an estimate. Maybe that’s because both of my children came after 40 weeks. I think it’s a way to feel in control of the situation. Let me tell ya what, childbirth is one of many out of control moments you will have as a parent, and focusing on your due date might just make.you.crazy. I have learned to just let it be. It is what it is. Baby will come when it wants to.
From a medical and financial aspect, your doctor may say otherwise. You may want to induce if you have a medical need. You may also want to induce if you have a midwife and want him/her to deliver. I mention this, because this was my experience. I had a team of midwives with my first pregnancy that I wanted to have deliver my baby. Midwives are only covered for delivery for the 42 week duration of your pregnancy. If you go over the 42 week, your insurance won’t cover their bill. There is a medical pressure to induce labor because of this. Let me preface, that is policy at my hospital. Check with your doctor. It is also the policy to use midwives only at my hospital, unless a request from the patient, or a medical need for a doctor.
I have tried many, many odd and natural things to induce labor. I will share what worked and what didn’t so that you don’t have to go through the pain or agony of some of them.
Things that didn’t work:
I took this orally a couple of times a day. It’s supposed to soften your tissues and allow for stretching and thinning out. People tell horror stories of the effects of Castor Oil. I didn’t see any effect (good or bad)and stopped taking it after about three days.
Walking it out
I walked on curbs, I walked on the beach, I walked around the block, and it just made me more tired. Save that energy for pushing!
Pumping is supposed to trigger the bodies reaction to nursing and jump start labor. It didn’t do anything for me. I tried it three times a day leading up to my due date.
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening Primrose Oil is supposed to soften everything up. I took this kind orally after my due date and did not find that it did anything.
Stripping Your Membranes
I had this done at 41 weeks at the doctor’s office with my son. I had no reaction to it. It is supposed to jump start contractions. With my daughter, my nurse and doula suggested not doing it, in that there was very little research that it works, and it has the possibility of causing infection. The infection can occur due to a foreign object separating the amniotic sac from the uterus.
Things that did work
My doula suggested that I start eating dates at around 37 weeks to induce labor. I listened to a podcast about eating dates. I also found this research article to support to notion of dates inducing labor. Read Dates Induce Labor Study here. I waited until 38 weeks to eat them daily because I was still working at the time and didn’t want to go into labor at school in front of the students. I had nightmares of my water breaking in front of the class and having to be wheeled out of there. I mean, we had just gone through the Planned Parenthood class while I was seven months pregnant, and that was enough. Anywho, I would eat about seven a day. They taste like candy to me so I would eat them for desert with almond butter.
The enzymes (bromelain) in the juice ripen the cervix and stimulate contractions starting in the stomach. I bought two whole pineapples and grabbed my mom’s juicer and went to work. I drank a cup a day after 40 weeks.
Bouncing on a Yoga Ball
Yoga Ball, birthing ball, tomato, to-mat-o. When you get really uncomfortable at the end of pregnancy, this is a lifesaver. I would sit on it and make circle motions while watching TV or eating dinner. It’s just a yoga ball, sometimes marketed as a birthing ball. I used this thing during labor a lot. I highly recommend getting this and bringing it to the hospital if your hospital doesn’t have one. It helped me through the contractions.
Raspberry Leaf Tea is supposed to tone your uterus. In the last trimester, I drank this tea three times a day. I also drank this postpartum. It’s just a staple to have around. It tastes good and is an easy way to get things going.
I have no proof of what really worked, but my intuition tells me that the dates worked the best, followed by the Raspberry Leaf Tea, and then the Birthing Ball. If you are approaching due date, try to embrace these last moments that you are in, because labor is the easy part, and raising a child is the hard part. Also, a random tidbit, that only 5% of babies are born on their due date. So, there ya go! Hopefully some of these work for you! Also, what helped you induce labor naturally?