Answer Box: 3 days overdue & MISERABLE. What helped you get labor going?
My daughter was two weeks "overdue" and my son was nine days, I think? First of all, put the word, "overdue" out of your mind. Your baby chooses his or her birthday and s/he doesn't have a calendar in there! White first-time moms tend to go to 41.1 without any intervention so you might actually have another five days before you hit that average overdue date. Second, remember that there *will* be an end to this, and it's going to be *very* soon, and trying to rush things will only complicate the process. Believe me, pretty much as soon as baby is on the outside, you're going to start missing being pregnant, so just relax and enjoy these last few days. Third, put the word, "miserable" out of your mind for a few more weeks. Save that for the day when your baby won't nap so she's exhausted, won't nurse so your boobs are swollen & painful, and you were up all night because you're sick so you're exhausted. That's miserable. Being very pregnant isn't miserable. It's just your body & mind getting you ready to really be ready for the labor to come. Congrats on your baby, and best wishes for a safe & smooth delivery!
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I tried to look at it was my due date was at 42 weeks and by that point, I would have a baby.
I also took some satisfaction when people would ask when I was due and I'd say "last week".
DD1 July 2008 (41w3d)
November 2010 (13 weeks)
DD2 August 2011 (33w5d)
You shouldn't even consider trying to begin your labor until you are around 40 weeks pregnant or overdue. That's because your due date could be inaccurate by a few weeks, and if you start your labor before 40 weeks, you might give birth to the baby before he is ready to thrive outside the womb. Several things can be done that might make you have contractions and start your labor, but they'll only work if your body is ready. If your body isn't prepared to go into labor, you can try as much as your heart desires, but you will only frustrate yourself.
Use caution when trying any of these natural methods to begin your labor, particularly herbs and nipple stimulation. The uterus can become hyperstimulated, meaning that it'll get too little rest between contractions. This can cause the baby to receive less oxygen, resulting in fetal heart rate slowing. Before trying any of these techniques, you should discuss them with your practitioner.
1. Relaxation techniques, to get you relaxed then use some visual imagery of labor beginning. The most important thing to do is to find a way to relieve tension. Tension works against labor. Relieve it, let everything go, and you may be surprised to find yourself in labor.
2. Visualization. Get quiet and relaxed, and imagine your uterus contracting as well as the process of labor. Hypnosis or self-hypnosis has been known to really do wonders with this one.
3. Sex has long been a method of inducing labor, making use of the Prostaglandin in semen and orgasm as a stimulating contraction. It is often more relaxing than using Pitocin and is done at home rather than a hospital.
4. Nipple stimulation can be done successfully and uterine hyper stimulation may be avoided by following this protocol from Maternity Nursing: Family, Newborn, and Women's Health Care by Reeder, Martin and Koniak-Griffin:
*increase rolling to 3 minutes and decrease resting to 2 minutes for 20 minutes if inadequate contractions occur after initial 20 mins.
- roll nipples between thumb and forefingers for 2 minutes
- rest for 3 minutes
- repeat rolling/resting for 20 minutes*
Most practitioners are not enthusiastic about this method of inducing labor, because it has been known to lead to excessively long, strong uterine contractions sometimes resulting in fetal heart rate slowing. Unless your practitioner advises it and is monitoring your progress closely, nipple stimulation is not recommended as a means for beginning labor.
5. Enemas - this causes the bowels to contract and could cause the uterus to contract, which will open and efface the cervix. Use with caution.
6. Exercise - Walking, swinging in a swing and general exercise contracts the uterus. Squatting for short periods. Hula dancing, or belly dancing.
Walk: If you are having contractions but are not yet in labor, walking can help get things going. Walking allows your hips to sway side to side, which will help bring the baby into position to be born. Also, by standing upright, you're using gravity to move the baby down into the pelvis. Another plus: It usually feels good to walk when you are contracting. And of course, even if you don't go into full-blown labor, at least you're getting some exercise.
7. A bumpy car ride may sound like an old wives tail, but if the baby is not in a good position, your sitting and relaxing while being moved by the car through bumps has worked.
8. Pineapple. If it doesn't give you heartburn, eating lots of pineapple is reputed to begin labor and ripen the cervix.
9. Cumin Tea. This is used by midwives in Latino cultures. Traditionally, a raw cube of potato is added to the tea, it absorbs the bitterness of the cumin. You can add sugar to this one or honey.
1 T. cumin seed to one cup of boiling water, allow to steep for 5 minutes, then drink. No more than 1 cup an hour per day.
10. For labor, several herbs are used by midwives to induce labor or to stimulate contractions. Care should be taken NOT to take any of these herbs without first conferring with a midwife, physician, and a herbalist. These labor-enhancing herbs are:
*Be very careful when it comes to Blue Cohosh, I have read some studies that have connected this herb with infant heart attack. Blue Cohosh is very effective but you may prefer using the homeopathic remedy which has no risks. For Blue Cohosh the homeopathic remedy is Caulophyllum - for Black Cohosh is Cimifuga racemosa.
- Blue Cohosh* (alone or in combination with other herbs such as Black Cohosh). These herbs are used often to induce labor. They may be particularly effective if you are having weak or irregular contractions. Blue cohosh is believed to make uterine contractions stronger, while black cohosh may regulate the contractions. Together, they work to make contractions more effective.
Unfortunately, no studies have determined that these natural treatments are safe, or whether all versions of the herb available for purchase are of equal potency. Be sure to discuss any herbal treatment with your practitioner before attempting it, to see if it is a good idea in your situation.
- 5W: Combination of Black Cohosh, Squawvine, Dong Quai, Butchers Broom, and Red Raspberry
- Evening Primrose Oil: ripens the cervix - internally 5 gel caps up against the cervix daily.
11. Castor Oil
Ingest between 3 tbs to 4 oz of castor oil mixed w/ chocolate ice-cream, soda or other options (below). Always start with the smallest amount and go up from there. (Consider only once cervix is opening). It works by stimulating the bowels, which in turn stimulates the uterus. Metamucil works this way also. It is usually recommended that the mom take 1 dose, then take a hot shower and then the second dose two hours after the first, and another hot shower if she feel like doing so. This has the relaxation effect needed to help start labor.
One of the very possible side effects of using castor oil or an enema is the mom having severe diarrhea and cramping, leading to dehydration. It may also be associated with a higher risk of the baby passing meconium before or during the birth. Also, remember that it is a strong laxative and you will be on the toilet a lot more than usual - but at least you will be all cleaned out by the time you deliver the baby!
Ideas for Caster Oil Cocktails:
1. one large glass of orange juice mixed with three teaspoons of castor oil and one teaspoon of baking soda. This gets foamy and goes down easier.
2. Castor oil scrabbled in 3 or more eggs
3. Drink oil straight followed immediately by hot apple juice
4. Put 2 oz of Castor Oil in 4-3 oz. Of root beer, place palm over top of the glass and shake vigorously, drink immediately
5. Castor Oil, orange juice and ice cream blended
6. 2 oz of castor oil in a Chocolate Slim Fast shake
12. While no official evidence exists regarding acupressure and inducing/stimulating labor, many perinatal specialists (midwives, physicians, childbirth educators and doulas) confirm the relationship between acupressure points and increased uterine contractions. When applying finger acupressure, instruct the client to press against the desired point on the skin. Massage in a small circular motion. Continue for 1-5 minutes.
Three points are commonly used to stimulate labor and the first two are also linked to relief of migraine headaches.
Hoku (Large intestine 6): located deep in the webbing between either hand's thumb and forefinger; in between the 1st and 2nd metacarpal bones. Stimulation of this point has been know to begin labor, enhance contractions during labor and in non-pregnant females, bring on menstruation several days early. Also may relieve pain from migraine.
Chih-yin (Bladder 67): located approximately 1/10" behind the lateral corner of the smallest toe's nail of either foot. Stimulation of this point has been known to relieve labor pains and migraine discomfort.
San-yin-chiao (Spleen 6): placing your left hand on your right leg with your pinkie finger just above the interior ankle bone, the lateral tibia is located just under where your index finger lies. You may utilize both points simultaneously by placing a thumb on each point as shown.
- Spicy food has been suggested, and if she isn't prone to heartburn why not give it a try? However, avoid causing heartburn during labor. Indian, Mexican and Cajun are good choices. Some people swear that it was that extra-hot enchilada from their favorite Mexican restaurant that brought them face to face with their new baby. Unfortunately, the statistics are out on this one. You could try it, but if you have a full stomach when you are in labor, you might vomit and see that enchilada again--in less-than-appetizing circumstances.
- Chinese food pig out - has worked for a few people that I know. (Maybe it is the MSG???)