How Can I Ripen My Cervix?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,
Hi, my baby is due on November 6th, however I had a show last week and have been having a few braxton-hicks contractions in the evenings. I saw my doctor yesterday and he told me that the baby's head is well engaged but is still in a posterior position. He also preformed an internal examination and found that my cervix is not ripe.

If nothing happens naturally between now and my next appointment in a week's time, he has said he will induce me if I'm happy to be induced. As I am very uncomfortable, even just walking around the house is painful with the baby so low, I will be more then happy to be induced.

But it would be great to go into labor naturally, so my question to you is, in what ways can I naturally ripen my cervix and help my labor along? I would really appreciate any advice you can give me.

Thanks,
Jenelle

ANSWER

The usual ways to ripen the cervix without prescription medication include intercourse (semen contains prostaglandins), female orgasm (which produces oxytocin), nipple stimulation (which produces oxytocin), and any activity that produces Braxton-Hicks contractions. There are also a variety of herbal preparations that are thought to help, but which should not be used without the knowledge and agreement of your provider.

-- 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.