There is no doubt that the induction rate is rising. Yet we know that there are serious hazards to a medical induction. First-time mothers have approximately twice the likelihood of cesarean section with induction compared with natural onset of labor. Other studies have shown that hypnotherapy helps pregnant women turn their breech baby around to the normal head first, or vertex, position. They also show that hypnosis is very successful in coping with labor contraction. It then fallows, that hypnosis can be one of the best tools in your “natural labor kit.”
So how do we do it? First, don’t try to make anything happen by simply using your will power. Actually that might stand in your way. As I mention in my book, Painless Childbirth, it is not about willfulness, but willingness. To change the status quo you must get yourself into a state of total trust—in your body, your baby’s ability to come when it’s time, and in the process. A state that allows your body to be so relaxed that the right signals will be given to your uterus to start working. What’s the signal? “If I’m safe, she is totally relaxed, there is no danger.” Anxiety, impatience, fear, or stress simply engages your natural fight or flight reflex that will prevent labor to begin.
Learn to just let it happen, learn to surrender, let the hypnotic state develop.
You can either find a hypnotherapist in your area that can help you with those suggestions, or you can find a self-hypnosis CD you can listen to every day until you give birth. Self-hypnosis CDs can be found at joyinbirthing.com, and other places. Gentle suggestions and visualizations will help you achieve a state of total relaxation, so that you body and your baby can work in unison and labor can shortly follow.
Keep in mind that self-hypnosis is a skill, and that you will continue to get better as you practice. Each time becoming more powerful and effective
It’s a good idea to set up a schedule of practice, allowing yourself anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes, to listen to our CD and dedicate this time to talking to both your body and your baby. We teach you and practice contractions with you, one minute at the time.
Most people find it best to practice lying down, in a comfortable position, with as few distractions as possible. If you are bothered by noise while you practice, you can try to mask out the noise with some other source of sound. You can try stereo music in the background, or white noise if you like. Buying a noise machine or getting the recording of ocean waves at this time, is not only beneficial to you, but will be very useful once the baby comes. We now know that most babies do not like silence, as the womb is quite a loud theater, and adore and get lulled by nature sounds.
Later, when you have become more adept at self-hypnosis, you will be able to practice in the middle of a rock concert. You are in control of your total relaxation and nothing can stand in its way, but it takes a while to get that good). If you are practicing at bedtime it’s okay to go to sleep; still, once you wake up tell yourself before you open your eyes that you are totally rested and give yourself permission to open your eyes. Make your body work for you, and not the other way around.
Some doctors are “induction happy” they like to schedule their lives; it is a tough job to be always on call. Often if they see you are getting impatient they’ll suggest and induction. Most doctors really believe that inducing is not harming the child; nevertheless inducing is indeed opening the door to possible complications, baby might not like pitocin and his heart rate may fall resulting in an emergency c-birth. You might not be able to take the strength of the contractions and you will ask for an epidural, which often opens the door for more medical interventions. One of the reasons for a high cesarean rate in this country is due to fail inductions. So ask questions and don’t seem impatient.
(To be successful, your Bishop’s Score should be greater than 9. Be sure to ask your caregiver for your Bishop Score. To find out more about medical induction read the bishop score.)
Other natural methods include:
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. I know some of my clients simply do not feel like having sex in the last month of their pregnancy, but it beats a cesarean and medical induction. It will not harm the baby, and if you can find a comfortable position female orgasm can open the cervix of 2cm. Wow. If you really are not in the mood, try using his sperm by inserting it in your vagina as close to the cervix as you can.
Nipple stimulation can be done successfully and uterine hyperstimulation may be avoided by following this protocol from Maternity Nursing: Family, Newborn, and Women’s Health Care by Reeder, Martin and Koniak-Griffin:
- Roll nipples between thumb and forefingers for 2 minutes
- Rest for 3 minutes
- Repeat rolling/resting for 20 minutes
Exercise like walking, swinging in a swing, and general exercise contracts the uterus.
Bumpy car ride may sound like an old wives tail, but if the baby is not in a good position, you’re sitting and relaxing while being moved by the car through bumps has worked.
Cumin Tea 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.
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 to 5 minutes.
Try acupuncture, this is hands down one of the best way to induce. In California, call for references for acupuncture, chiropractic care, and reflexologists.
After forty-two weeks, ask your midwife about the placement of balloon dilators. Your care provider will place a balloon inside your cervix and fill it with water. (The pressure from the balloon will imitate the pressure of the baby’s head and hopefully your cervix will respond by ripening and dilating. Balloon devices provide mechanical pressure directly on the cervix as the balloon is filled.) A Foley catheter (26 Fr) or specifically designed balloon devices can be used. The main advantages of using hygroscopic dilators include outpatient placement and no FHR-monitoring requirements.
Just as care providers need to share information regarding the administration of medication to either eliminate pain in labor or to induce or augment contractions during labor, so should the client inform the care provider when she decides to use any of the above methods to induce or augment labor.