Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Natural Induction?

I am going to go straight to the point. There is no such thing as a natural induction. There I said it. Non pharmacological inductions,certainly. To actively bring on labor is induction no matter what method is being used. In cases of healthy full term mothers carrying healthy babies,the body simply will not go into labor before it's ready. No method of induction is without risk. There are times when potential benefits will outweigh potential risks and that is when induction is the ideal choice for a mother and her baby.
Here are some of the claimed methods of natural induction:

Castor Oil: This is a laxative. The logic behind using this as a method of induction is that it triggers contractions of smooth muscles in the intestines which will trigger the tightening of uterine muscles. Research shows this is successful in about 50% of women. Realistically would you want diarrhea on top of contractions? Or just end up suffering stomach cramps and excessive pooping without bringing on labor!?

Membrane Stripping: A care provider will often do this during a cervical exam. They use a gloved finger to make a sweeping motion inside the cervix to detach the membranes from the cervix. This is thought to bring on labor in the next 48 hours. Side effects of this procedure are usually some spotting and cramping. On occasion premature rupture of membranes can occur (PROM).

Evening Primrose Oil: EPO is used to ripen the cervix, but there is little proof that it induces labor. The only studies regarding EPO are about consuming it orally. There are no studies about the safety of EPO used vaginally. It has not been found to shorten pregnancy or labor.

Black Cohosh: Black cohosh is an herb that is thought to bring on contractions. There are no reliable studies with evidence supporting this. Women with issues with estrogen should avoid black cohosh as it behaves similarly to estrogen.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: This tea, not to be mistaken for raspberry flavored tea is used as a uterine tonic. Some women drink it throught pregnancy and some wait until closer to full term. Red raspberry leaf tea may cause Braxton Hicks contractions in some women, while harmless this can be uncomfortable.

Pineapple: Pineapple is a prostaglandin, which will soften the cervix. For this to work large amounts of the pineapple and core must be eaten. Canned pineapple and store bought pineapple juice will not work. The jury is out on whether or not labor will start soon after doing this. If you love pineapple, maybe it's not the worst idea out there.

Sex: Semen is a prostaglandin and may help soften the cervix  Good sex, I know a full term pregnant woman can have trouble with this, with an orgasm for the woman can help move things along. Orgasms trigger uterine contractions,so maybe an orgasm could bring on labor contractions.

Spicy Food: Spicy foods trigger prostaglandins in the digestive process,which is thought to encourage labor. Extremely spicy foods can cause an endorphin rush. There is little evidence to back this claim up,but if heartburn isn't an issue in your pregnancy, why not hit up the Indian buffet?

I made this list starting with the most aggressive and risky methods of induction and ended with things that are harmless and even fun. Relax and enjoy your pregnancy. If the need to induce comes up bring these up with your doctor if you want to skip the Pitocin. You are in charge of your body and birth, there is no expiration date for pregnancy. No one has stayed pregnant forever. 

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