Helping to Progress Labour
Either you are past your estimated date or you get to hospital and everything slows up. What can you do to help things along?
The following are only suggestions and are not a substitute for medical advice.
- Walk, Walk and Walk some more - Walking helps stimulate the pelvic area and will help to initiate labour if your are overdue.
- Raspberry Leaf Tea - Take this up to 2 months prior to your date as it may help soften the cervix and condition the Uterus.
- Make love - Semen contains prostaglandin which can stimulate the cervix to soften and open up.
- Practice Yoga/Pilates during pregnancy - This will make sure that the pelvic floor and thigh muscles are stretched and flexible.
- Gravity - If your labour isn’t progressing get up and move around. Try the squatting exercises or use the birth ball.
- Dim the lights - This helps to create a relaxing mood and can remove any inhibitions you are feeling.
- Get into water - Take a warm bath to relax.
- Aromatherapy - Be careful what you use as some are contraindicated in childbirth, and only use very small amounts. If using essential oils in a bath prior to labour, only use a 2-3 drops of safe essential oils if membranes are still in tact. Alternatively use an oil vaporiser in the room.
Call me for more information and for a Relaxing Massage: 07773 063273
- Hugs before drugs- Hugging, stroking and kissing will help to promote increased levels of oxytocin and maintain your state of relaxation and confidence.
- Nipple stimulation - This releases natural oxytocin and can help labour progress.
- Herbal remedies - 4 drops of tincture of squaw vine & raspberry leaf top drink in warm water.
- Homeopathic treatments - If you are planning to use Homeopathy or therapeutic Herbs during your pregnancy, we strongly recommend that you consult with a professionally qualified therapist, as these treatments can have significant influences upon your body.
- Eating hot spicy food - A curry is good to activate the bowels. Capsaicin the active ingredient in chilli peppers stimulate the production of endorphins so there is a double benefit.
- Acupuncture - can be helpful at speeding up or inducing Labour. Always consult with a qualified therapist.
- Reflexology - I am a Qualified Complementary Therapist so call me for sessions: 07773 063273
- Eating date fruit - A study by the University of Jordan showed significant benefits for a group of women who ate 6 dates a day up to 4 weeks prior to their birthing day.
It was found that women who consumed date fruit:
- Had significantly higher mean cervical dilatation upon admission compared with the non-date fruit consumers
- Had a significantly higher proportion of intact membranes.
- Spontaneous labour occurred in 96% of those who consumed dates, compared with 79% women in the non-date fruit group.
- Use of prostin/oxytocin (for inducing/augmenting labour) was significantly lower in women who consumed dates.
- The mean latent phase of the first stage of labour was shorter in women who consumed date fruit compared with the non-date fruit consumers (510 min vs 906 min, p = 0.044)
PLEASE REMEMBER: “Baby will come when baby is ready.”
If there are no medical issues, use your Hypno Birthing techniques to stay calm, relaxed and focussed during the last few days pregnancy.
Medical Interventions during Labour
We have listed a range of the most common medical Interventions that you might be offered during or just prior to labour.
Some of these interventions remain controversial but the aim of this site is to inform you only. We have certain view points about some of these interventions and our opinions are based upon our own experiences, from discussions with independent midwives and from evidence based reviews of the clinical literature from many authors and resources including the excellent organisation The MIDIRS (The Midwives Information and Resource Service), in the UK. They also produce a series of leaflets called ‘Informed Choice’, which assess the evidence for many interventions and we thoroughly recommend them.
Artificial ROM (Rupture of Membranes)
This is often recommended by Midwives and Obstetricians when a woman reaches 40 weeks gestations or goes over 40 weeks (although times vary from practice to practice). It involves placing a small instrument into the vagina and through the cervix to break the waters (the sack of amniotic fluid which the baby floats in). This often has the effect of initiating labour because of the increased pressure of the babies head on your cervix.
The key aspects to think about here is whether you dates are accurate in the first place. The length of gestation in France is assessed as one week longer than in most other countries, so there is room for flexibility. You may wish to try you own methods of stimulating labour as outlined on the Progressing Labour page.
Proposes is a form of prostaglandin that is attached to a string like a tampon and as such it can be removed after insertion. The advantages of Propess if you decide to use it is that insertion is an outpatients procedure and you then return home to wait for labour to begin and progress. This reduces the amount of monitoring and possible internal examinations and you can then choose when to return to the birthing unit.
Pessaries are oval shaped tablets which are inserted into the vagina to help initiate contractions of your uterus and to get labour established or to re-establish labour of it has slowed. They contain the hormone prostaglandin (present in male seminal fluid) which helps to dilate the cervix and to stimulate your contractions. Disadvantages are once inserted they cannot be removed and it may take up to 4 pessaries, which can take several days. This increases monitoring and may involve several days on labour ward prior to birthing which may be very stressful for mum and baby.
There are possible side effects and contraindications so discuss this with your medical caregiver and please inform yourself if you decide to use prostaglandins: AIMS UK, BNF (British National Formulary), MIDDIRS UK NHS UK.
With a hospital birth remember that it is very common for labour to slow up once you arrive at the hospital. There will be a sense of anticipation and you may feel nervous. This can cause labour to slow up for entirely natural reasons. If you use Hypno Birthing you will want to get settled in and commence your breathing and relaxation exercises in order to calm everything down to help with labour progressing normally. Your partner or companion will want to give your care team a copy of your birth plan if you have not yet done so.
Artificial oxytocin that can be given for two reasons reasons: to initiate surges (contractions) or strengthen existing surges.
Introduced via an intravenous drip, it should be administered with incremented dose levels over a period of time so that this artificial labour can more closely mimic natural labour. A downside of artificial oxytocin is that it can actually block the release of natural oxytocin. It is not always successful and there are contraindications to the use of this method of induction, so please discuss this with your medical caregiver and visit: AIMS UK, BNF, MIDDIRS UK or NHS UK sites for more details.
Constant Electronic Foetal Monitoring (EFM)
This is where sensors are attached to your tummy in order to monitor your babies heart during labour. It is contentious as most monitors will restrict your ability to move around because you will be required to stay on the bed. Ideally you should be free to adopt different positions during labour and birth and constant foetal monitoring can prevent this without conferring any proven advantage. In fact many studies showed an increase in the use of surgical intervention due to the misinterpretation that that the baby was in distress when it was not.
There is still a 30% increase in Caesarean section rates and a 30% increase in the rate Surgical Vaginal intervention when EFM is used. It has been stated that EFM reduces the rate of occurrence of Cerebral Palsy in babies, but there is no evidence for this, and in fact there is some evidence that it may increase it. The only thing that can be said about EFM is that when Syntocinon is used to induce labour, it may reduce the occurrence of neonatal seizures. However, there is no evidence that there are any short or long term problems associated with neonatal seizures*.
We would recommend that you do your own research. Evidence suggests that unless there is a medical need during a high risk labour where there is a high chance of foetal hypoxia (reduced oxygen), there is little need for constant foetal monitoring and that intermittent auscultation (listening with a stethoscope to the babies heart) is adequate.