Natural ways to induce labour

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In your last few weeks of pregnancy, you may or may not be ready for child birth or the months and years ahead, but one thing you are probably chanting to your baby is out now please!

If your due date goes sailing by, here are some natural tips to help bring on labour.

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Acupuncture is used in traditional Chinese medicine to stimulate particular organs to prepare for birth. Although needles are used and heated with burning herbs, it is strangely relaxing.

It is time to enjoy your favourite dishes and order them hot. Mexican, Indian, Gumbo, Thai, the chilli and other spices are thought to help produce prostaglandin, a naturally occurring hormone that prepares your body for labour.

A synthetic version (a gel) is what the midwife will give you if you are going to be induced.

Gentle yoga or walking (or more like waddling) uses the natural forces of gravity to help ripen the cervix.

Again using the force of gravity, gently bounce on an exercise ball. This will also help prepare and strengthen your legs in preparation to child birth if you plan to use a birth ball.

Stimulating the nipples triggers the production of the natural hormone oxytocin which contracts the uterus and can evolve into labour. It is also the trigger that you baby uses to help bring in the milk

Black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosus) is a herb which should not be used in early pregnancy but is often used to bring on labour if you are overdue, available at your health food store in tablets or taken as tea.

Black or red plain liquorice is also supposed to help stimulate the production of prostaglandins. Not to everyone’s taste but if you like it, enjoy!

You can do this at home to help stimulate contractions. Teach your partner to find and gently put pressure on two points, the first is found on the top of your hand in the webbing between your thumb and index finger, the second on the inside of the ankle, 4 finger widths above the ankle bone.

Available from your health food store in tea bags or lose leaf, add boiling water and have no more than 2 cups per day in the last trimester. Raspberry Leaf is a natural uterine stimulant.

The use of essential oils must only be used if you are overdue. Oils that can help labour are Bergamot, Clary Sage, and Jasmine.

Put no more than 10 drops in a cup of apricot oil and massage over abdomen and lower back, or in a foot bath or on a cold compress.

Like acupressure reflexology works on the same principles, but it is done by professional massage therapists. The principles that there are reflexes in the body that correspond to every part, organ and gland in the body, and lets face it just helps us feel good.

Easier said than done, but the hormone oxytocin is released during orgasm, which can help you contract your uterus. A bonus is, that there are prostaglandins found in sperm, that will help soften the cervix.

Pulsatilla and Caulophyllum are two commonly used homoeopathic remedies used to stimulate labour. Homoeopathic remedies use highly diluted versions of more potent substances prescribed by qualified homoeopaths.

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