Likewise, if you do not have a history of preterm labor, engage in regular moderate exercise like brisk walking, cycling, dancing, swimming or low impact aerobics for at least 30 minutes 5 days per week. As you get closer to term, moving around while upright uses gravity to help get the baby in an optimal position for birth, as well as press on the cervix and cause it to ripen and stimulate contractions.
As women get closer to the term, it is common to feel an increased frequency, length and intensity of Braxton Hicks contractions as the uterine muscle warms up for labor. These contractions are felt as occasional lower abdominal menstrual-like cramping in early pregnancy. But, as you get closer to term, you can actually feel your uterus ball up and harden, often from the top on downward before it softens again. They are usually brief, painless and irregular without pattern, increase with activity and resolve with rest.
If you do not feel such uterine activity beginning at 39 weeks, you can do nipple stimulation every 10 minutes for an hour 3 times per day to stimulate contractions. To do this, roll the end of your nipple between your fingers and compress and pull slightly as a suckling baby would do. Alternately, you can, or use a breast pump, which will come in handy postpartum.
Natural Ways to Bring on Labor
Only use the below methodologies if you have reached or passed your due date and you have discussed options with your practitioner.
Increase nipple stimulation to every five minutes for 2 hours, 4-5 times per day. It may take several hours, but with a little persistence, this can get labor going. Nipple stimulation causes release of your body’s own oxytocin, the hormone that ripens the cervix and stimulates uterine contractions. Don’t stop until labor is progressing on its own.
Take homeopathic Cimicifuga 30c, 4-5 pellets, alternating with Caulophyllum 30c, 4-5 pellets every hour for 12 hours. Repeat for two days. This gently stimulates your cervix to ripen and labor contractions to begin.
Massage your uterus with Castor oil until you get a contraction, and then repeat every 5 minutes until a labor pattern is established on its own.
If all else fails, you can try drinking Castor oil. This induces labor by stimulating your bowels, so be prepared for the possibility of diarrhea. Take 2 ounces of Castor oil in orange juice every hour for a total of 3 times. Two ounces of vodka, brandy or bourbon can be added to this mixture to loosen you up psychologically if needed. After each drink, go for a walk around your house (staying close to a bathroom!) and then take a hot shower, letting the water flow onto your nipples and persistently massage your belly with some of the Castor oil.
If still no labor, there are other things we can recommend like an enema, gently stretching your cervix open and stripping your membranes (separating the membranes from their attachment to the lower uterine wall), or as a last resort, breaking your water and/or medication if your baby needs to be born without delay.
If you need more personal guidance, schedule a consultation with me. I am happy to help!