How to Induce Labor
at Home or Hospital
As you're going towards the end of your pregnancy, you may want to find out how to induce labor, just in case you're overdue.
Basically, if you are okay to be induced at the hospital, then you will face medicalized labor induction methods, whereas
if you use a midwife, then she will advise you to use natural labor induction techniques such as using herbs, accupressure, and homeopathic medicine.
Still, there are simple labor induction methods which are safe enough to do at home without any caregiver's supervision.
In fact, people all over the world have
used these do it yourself labor induction methods to a certain extent, with great results, in the past.
This article gives an overview of different labor induction techniques, including the pros and cons of each.
How to Induce Labor
There are basically two main ways to induce labor:
- Medical ways to induce labor.
These labor induction techniques are used in hospital only, and under supervision of a doctor. It consists of either
breaking the amniotic fluid, using oxytocin-based drug (oxytocin is a hormone you naturally produce which causes your uterus to contract during
labor) or using a cervic ripening agent/gel.
- Natural labor induction methods.
Natural induction of labor can be used at home or at a birthing center. Some natural induction methods need supervision from a midwife and some
done by yourself safely. The natural labor induction methods which
need supervision of 'somebody who knows what s/he's doing' or needs to be performed by a professional involves the use of certain supplements
which you need to take by mouth, for instance: herbs. You will also need a professional if you want to utilize a certain technique
which is not commonly known by lay people, such as
reflexology and acupuncture.
Aside from those, there are also other
ways to self induce labor naturally which are easy and safe to do by
yourself. Walking or working hard physically, eating certain kind of food, and so forth
are all known to induce labor and do not
involve putting something into your body. Therefore, they are safe enough to do by yourself.
Pro and Cons of Different Ways to Induce Labor
1. Medicalized Labor Induction Methods (Hospital-Based)
In medical setting, a woman can be induced before or after due date for medical
or non-medical reason.
How to induce labor in hospital setting ?
Induction of labor in hospital is achieved by stripping the membrane, or administering drugs which will either cause uterine
contraction or ripen the cervix.
The reason why a woman undergoes labor induction, even though the body is far from ready to give birth, is because
medicalized labor induction methods may be the only methods which can 'force' women to have contraction consistently, and is the only methods
which has the back up technology should something goes wrong.
Here, it's important to put an emphasize on the words "should something goes wrong". Forcing a woman's body to go into labor when the body is
not ready is a recipe for disaster. It necessitates the use of stronger dose of agent to start the contraction, and then to sustain it. As a
result, women feel more painful, yet not very effective contractions. Being hooked on an IV and monitoring system also causes women not being able
to labor in optimal position, should she feels the needs to change position, for instance: walking, squatting, and so forth. The suboptimal
condition of labor leads to longer and more painful labor.
It's not surprising then that women often need painkilling medication to ease off their painful, drawn-out labors.
But you know, the use of painkilling medication often makes women numb and incapable of feeling the natural urge to give birth. In normal,
non-medicated condition, women would feel when it's time to push. Indeed, if you talk to women who have given birth naturally several times, they
will tell you that they knew when to give those final push which expel the baby's head and subsequently, the body, out. This urge is not present
when women are numb, so these women's babies have to be 'delivered' by the use of forceps or vacuum. It's also possible that this may even lead
to a c-section.
In short, here's the pros and cons of medical ways to induce labor:
- It enables you to give birth early, even when your body is not ready. This is really beneficial and potentially live saving if you or your
baby has a condition which necessitates the baby to be born there and then, regardless whether your body is ready for it or not.
- Since it's often use to make the women who are not actually ready to give birth to go into labor, the labor becomes unusually long and
- The monitoring and drug administering system in hospital often causes the mothers to be hooked on a machine and not able to move about as she
- The labor induction drug itself can have a serious side effect on mothers and babies which makes it necessary to perform a c-section.
- Long and painful labor can lead to a series of intervention to lessen the mom's suffering, which can culminate in invasive and more painful
childbirth procedures. As a result, recovery is longer and more painful.
2. Natural Induction of Labor
Women often resort to self induce their labor naturally out of fears being induced medically and end up with an even more invasive childbirth
But how to induce labor naturally ?
Is it even effective ?
And how safe is it to do so ?
Before even talking about how to induce labor naturally, it is important to understand that labor will only start if your body is ready. So the
purpose of natural induction of labor is to jumpstart a bit. Therefore, it is most effective if the methods are used after the due date or when
your caregiver have confirmed that your body is ready for labor. If you want to give birth earlier than that, then these methods may not be the most
effective ways to induce labor.
It is also important to know that the methods don't work across the board. In addition, there's no standard way of doing these methods. So bear
that in mind while perusing the natural ways to induce labor.
The following is how to induce labor naturally:
- consumption of labor-inducing agent which you normally wouldn't consume, such as herbs, teas and castor oil.
- natural induction of labor by professionals, such as via acupuncture, massage therapy, and reflexology.
- consumption of certain foods that induce labor.
- performing certain actions which encourage labor, for instance: sex, nipple stimulation, walking, exerting yourself, and acupressure.
As you can see, natural labor induction # 1 and #2 is best to be perform under a professional supervision for
safety reason or because usuallynonly professionals can perform them. Take castor oil, for instance. Although it's widely recognized as a labor-inducing agent, it's also known to cause moms who consume
it to have diarrhea and to vomit endlessly. Therefore, right dosage is very important here, and also is the midwifery support.
In contrast, self induction methods can be done by yourself at home safely and easily.
Again, it is important to understand most natural labor induction techniques are inconsistent. They may or may not work.
So, don't be disappoint if one of the method you try doesn't work. You can always try another.
To sum up, here's the pros and cons of natural ways to induce labor:
- Non-invasive. It either works or doesn't. If it works, you can avoid to be induced medically.
- When the technique is working to jumpstart the labor and can be sustained, it'll produce a normal labor with normal effective contraction,
leading to hopefully, a natural birth.
- The natural induction methods which fall under do it yourself
labor induction methods (methods #3 & #4) are safe and easy to do at home. The rest of the methods are safe when performed under correct supervision.
- The natural ways to induce labor cannot be used to force your body into labor, for instance, to labor way before your due date. In general,
it's most effective when your body is ready. With natural labor induction methods, there's no way to adjust and readjust 'the dosage' to force your body to go into labor and sustain
- There's no standard way of doing these methods.
- Most natural ways to induce labor are anecdoctal, and there's no way of knowing which one will work for you.
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