If your not fully effaced and thinned out- then there first needs to be some work done on the cervix. The following are some natural methods to ripen the cervix. They should be used for several days before trying self induction techniques or my Induction Massage to be effective. But please talk to your doctor or midwife before trying any self-induction techniques; also seek advice from a licensed professional for proper amounts and usage of the following remedies. I am not endorsing or suggesting women to try these methods for non-medical reasons; your Bishop's score and further evaluation by your provider should indicate whether or not you should try self-induction.
1. Sperm is the most natural and effective form of proglastadins (cervical softening compound). Lengthy intercourse is not necessary- you just need the sperm.
2. Borage Oil capsules or Evening Primrose Oil capsules (500 mg gel-caps) are herbal proglastadins which are either taken orally or inserted next to the cervix.
3. Herbal Tinctures: Blue Cohosh or a combination of Blue and Black Cohosh (this is a powerful tincture and must be used under a professional's guidance; improper usage can lead to server cramping)
I would suggest the following at home- techniques to prepare your body before trying any self-induction techniques:
1. Take a warm bath each night prior to induction for an hour- this will allow a woman to relax and focus. I would recommend using guided visualization techniques to rehearse how you want your labor process and birth to go.
2. Carbohydrate Loading for a few days before trying self-induction techniques.
3. Once your body is ready there are several techniques which can begin the onset of labor. The following information is taken from the book Holistic Midwifery- A Comprehensive Textbook for Midwives in the Homebirth Practice Volume II
by Anne Frye, CPM.
1. Having your Doctor or Midwife Sweep (or stripping) your membranes. The procedure prompts the release of inflammatory mediators, including prostaglandin F2a- a promoter of cervical dilation. This technique should ideally be used if the membranes are intact, the cervix is ripe, the mother is at least to term and there are no signs of infection and no suspicion of a marginal placenta previa or group B-strep colonization. The procedure can be painful and it carries the risk of inadvertent rupture of membranes and infection- as well as the risk of damaging a marginal placenta previa.
2. Visualiztion and Relaxation: Visualizing your cervix opening and relaxing is the key to birth- and it is the key to induction. Work with your body and it will work with you. Sometimes there are psychological or emotional issues that you may need to work through before labor can begin. An honest self-evaluation of your present circumstances an prayer/meditation on what you can do to let go of any fears or stressors may be just what your body needs to let go and release itself into labor.
3. Watching birth videos and hearing other women give birth can be powerful and encouragement to get labor going. But please only watch positive and uplifting birth experiences like "Orgasmic Birth", "Birth as we know it", "The Business of Being Born" or "Birth Day".
4. Lifting the Belly. The mother can begin to lift the belly just below the level or her navel with some of her toning contractions. This changes the angel of the uterus and is particularly helpful if the baby is posterior or the mother has a pendulous abdomen because it helps early contractions to be most effective.
5. Stimulate the Nipples. 15 minute sessions every 4 to 5 hours is the safest form of induction- it uses the bodies own oxytocin. Nipple stimulation during sex is even better if you are brought to orgasm- as orgasm releases oxytocin as well.
6. Female Orgasam- this also releases natural oxytocin which stimulates labor.
7. Aromatherapy Belly Massage
8. Herbal Tincture: (use only under direct care and supervision of a medical professional)
9. Reflexology and Acupressure points
When you are near or at your due date (or overdue) and your doctor or midwife says it is okay to try self-induction techniques, give me a call. Women who are of advance maternal age (over 35) are often encouraged to be induced by their physician. This is a safe alternative to talk to your doctor or midwife about. This can be planned just as easily as being induced. And if for some reason it doesn't work, then you can always go with their plan.
All the points we have been avoiding during your prenatal massages are now okay to massage. At 38 weeks (as long as you are not considered a high-risk pregnancy), massage is a safe alternative to medical induction. In fact, studies have shown that natural induction is much safer for both mother & baby.
There are a couple of spots which have been shown to be effective in inducing labor. I use a combination of Massage, Aromatherapy & acupressure techniques to stimulate the uterus to begin spontaneous contractions. This massage in addition to other at-home techniques to use simultaneously, have been very effective in beginning labor.
Sweet Pea in the Pod