How Can I Jump Starting Labor?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
I have two questions for you. First, I am wondering if there is anything you can take safely to help start labor. I have had four children so far and have had to be induced every time, at least a week late and up to past two weeks late. One of my babies was over 9 pounds so now we usually start a little earlier. I would love to go into labor on my own, but since I have had no luck doing this, I am willing to be induced, especially if it means having a smaller baby. Any ideas on how to start labor on my own?

And second, I had a friend tell me that most women shave their pubic hair when delivering. Is this true? Is is cleaner for the baby, or is this just a rumor?

ANSWER

That most women shave and that it is cleaner is a rumor. Most women just do what they normally do in that area.

Natural methods of "induction" include intercourse, orgasm by any method, nipple stimulation, walking, sitting on a birth ball, doing pelvic tilts to encourage proper positioning of the baby. There are herbal possibilities, but you should not take them without your provider's agreement.

Also, since adrenaline interferes with labor, anything you can do to relax, de-stress, or otherwise take a break will also help.

-- Cynthia, CNM

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.