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Castor oil, when ingested, triggers cramping in the bowel, making it an effective laxative. Mummy Barrow told me that a lady she knew “drank half a litre and when her son was born the next day he came out like a bar of soap, midwife nearly dropped him.
Regular exposure to the father’s semen helps cause immunological tolerance to their proteins. I once asked a doctor to explain the pineapple thing to me and he said that this, as well as the thinking behind curries and castor oil, is that it can basically cause diarrhoea, which causes your bowels and lower intestines to spasm, which can trick your uterus into also contracting. This post was inspired by the lovely Danielle at Blog by Baby who is desperate for her labour to get started so thank you to her and please, everyone send her lots of lovely cervix-softening, oxytocin laced thoughts!
My wife took castor oil at term for all four of our pregnancies and all the boys came on her due dates, not the scans. Hi Ian, as you point out there is very little in the way of medical research on the benefit or otherwise regarding the use of castor oil. There is ongoing American research into castor oil usage with data currently in analysis, so should be expected to be published next year.
As for castor oil, my friend drank an entire bottle, spent three days with severe diarrhoea and very dehydrated, with no sign of labour.
I have just got a yoga ball which I plan to bounce on (I am immobile so I can’t walk) will continue with the EPO, Saturday I plan to get pineapple. For me the risk of keeping him in there too long, my booked medical induction failing, c section becoming necessary or in fact even the risks of the Synoticin are greater than the risks of me now going in to premature labour via natural methods. However my medical team are skeptical any of this will work to actually induce labour, they do however think it might make my medically induced labour more successful and easier which is the main reason for them authorising me to go ahead and try now.
As the science above says, these methods can strengthen my uterus to make contractions more effective, soften my cervix to shorten stage 2 labour, soften my perinium to make delivering a large baby easier etc…and possibly reduce the overall time that I will need to be kept on Syntocin which may be dangerous for me. Still, as today’s date has loomed, people have been asking more and more when I am due.
What makes all of this even harder to swallow is that ever since my pregnancy bump started showing, people have been guessing that I will go early. In the meantime, you can find me over here trying out all 40 ways to naturally induce labour… once I finish packing my hospital bag of course. Fun Fact: Cameron was born four days after his due date, though labour started at three days after. I think the hardest part about going over your due date (even though many women do go over) is the mental part of it. I feel so guilty because I feel like I no longer do a good job at soaking up my time with Cameron. On the other hand, he has been turning into a real Mama’s Boy over the last few days, so maybe I am doing something right.
I will definitely try to focus on Cam and Mom time as we wait for Baby to make an appearance! 4 years ago, I had my girl 4 weeks early due to complications… and my dear friend and neighbor, who was due 2 weeks after me ended up going 2 weeks past her due date. This time around, as she watches my belly expand way past where it was with my first, she just laughs with me. I admit, it is really hard to see someone who was due around the same time as me already get to hold their baby.
I know how you must feel because I remember, every fibre of my being was convniced that wed morning, that the day would not end without labor and or a baby – it was not ALLOWED (but that labor must wait till afternoon as I had a much anticipated playdate that mroning). I’m keeping these suggestions for next time, I epsiecally love the simple food things! You’ve been waiting all this time to give birth and if your due date comes and goes with no baby, you might feel a little nervous or disappointed – not to mention physically tired.
To top that, you’ve probably got friends and family texting or calling you all the time to ask if it’s happened yet. Most midwives or doctors will wait 10-14 days after your due date to induce you, by which time you’ll probably be feeling very hot and bothered! Acupuncture involves the stimulation of energy in your body through the insertion of needles at specific points.
Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme which is thought to help bring on labour by softening your cervix. Herbal remedies like black cohosh and blue cohosh are a lot more potent than homeopathic remedies and you should seek professional guidance if considering using them. Homeopathic remedies like pulsatilla are often tried to help bring on labour and lots of mums swear by them. Most labours start naturally and even if the baby is a few days late, it’s usually best to relax and let things follow their natural course. You are diabetic – in which case assuming your baby is growing normally, inductions are usually offered after 38 weeks. You have a condition (either chronic or acute) such as kidney disease or pre-eclampsia, which is hazardous to the health or wellbeing of your little one. Cervical ripeness is measured using something called the Bishop Score, which marks your cervix out of 10. As a general recommendation, first-time mothers are offered a membrane sweep at their 40 weeks antenatal appointment, and then again at the next week’s appointment. Prostaglandin is a hormone-like substance which assists with the stimulation of contractions.
Prostaglandin will be inserted by your doctor or midwife as a pessary, tablet or gel into your vagina to ripen your cervix. If labour hasn’t begun after six hours you may be given a second dose of the gel or tablet. Vaginal prostaglandin is the most commonly recommended labour induction method because it tends to carry the least risks and is easy to administer. Also sometimes called ‘breaking the waters’, ARM is no longer a recommended induction method (unless vaginal prostaglandins can’t be used for any reason).

An ARM (artificial rupture of the membranes) isn’t always effective and your baby could be at risk of infection once your waters have broken. Some mums have also said that Syntocinon-induced contractions are worse than natural ones, so some women choose to have an epidural to relieve the pain. There has been some evidence to suggest that any an induction (whatever the method) is associated with the greater likelihood of needing to use instruments like forceps or ventouse to help with delivery. The purpose of a Well-being Scan is to check that the baby is growing well and that the pregnancy is developing normally.
A Wellbeing Scan is particularly important if you have had pregnancy complications or problems in a previous pregnancy.
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If this is your first child you're probably wondering how on earth you'll know the difference between each of the three stages. The first stage of labour is when your cervix - the neck of your womb - dilates to a rather incredible 10cm (yes, we did say 10) so that your baby can squeeze his or her way out. Understandably, this can take a wee while - typically, at least 12 hours in a first pregnancy (although it can be much longer). Also known as the latent period or pre-labour, this is the very start of labour when your contractions begin, eventually causing your cervix to fully efface and dilate to three to four centimetres in width. These early stage contractions cause your newly softened cervix to become paper thin and drawn up into the uterus, ending up in a ring rather than tube shape - a process known as effacement. Typically, contractions during the early phase are mild to moderate (you can talk through them); last about 30 to 40 seconds and are irregular, coming anything from five to 20 minutes apart, and possibly even stopping for a while. On average, for first-time mothers this early phase lasts from six to eight hours, but everyone's different and timings can differ wildly either way. Call your midwife if you have any concerns, but try not to get to stressed: remember these are not wasted contractions, they're preparing your cervix for established, active labour. Also called established labour, in medical terms this is when you're fully effaced and about 3-4cm dilated. Once active labour begins, contractions typically increase in frequency, length and intensity as the uterus boosts its efforts to open your cervix.
Once you're in really active labour, contractions will be coming every couple of minutes and last around a minute. But - and we can't keep repeating this enough - everyone's different, so don't get stressed if things go slower than the pregnancy books say.
That said, if your waters haven't already broken by this point and your labour's progressing slowly, your midwife might suggest she break them as this can help speed things up.
Labour in water - whether it's a bath or a birthing pool, being in water can help with this stage.
I remember throwing up and refusing to get out of the bath and generally being chastised by midwives for being a wilful patient. If your labour's going slowly, try to stay calm: rather cruelly, fear and anxiety cause an increase in adrenalin, which relaxes the womb, and a decrease in oxytocin, the hormone that causes contractions.
Where weak contractions are the cause your midwife might suggest an artificial rupture of membranes if your waters haven't already broken. I had my waters broken, and then I had to have a Syntocinon drip because I failed to progress after having diamorphine. I wasn't making much progress so they stuck a drip up: cue a desperate urge to push, which I spent the next couple of hours fighting as my cervix wasn't ready. Neither the service provider nor the domain owner maintain any relationship with the advertisers. You’ve spent almost 10 months getting bigger and more uncomfortable and the chances are you now have an elbow in your bladder and a foot under your lungs making everything worse.
Some say that straightforward sex is what you need to engage in, others say that it’s oral sex only you must imbibe the semen at the end for it to work.
I was 6 days overdue and still went to 9 over and had to be induced  but my cousins waters broke within a minute of having sex with her boyfriend! Based on the lack of concrete science behind it and the subsequent lack of people flooding in and telling us how great pineapple worked for them, we’d give this a big fat thumbs down, especially if you’re suffering with gestational diabetes! Until we have sufficient evidence to base appropriate advice to women on dosage, safety and follow up, I think we have to rely on the wisdom and experience of Midwives who have lived and worked at a time when it was used more regularly. I do agree there is too much intervention but that is down to the medical model of care that seems to be eroding all choice women have over their bodys. I know many women would prefer to find a natural induction method when faced with medical induction, but I think we do also need to asks the question why they are being induced in the first place – is it medical need following a holistic, individualised assessment of that woman and baby in that particular pregnancy, or is it purely based on an imperfect date calculation? Because even though everyone knows that babies are rarely born on their actual estimated date of delivery, a due date feels more like an expiry date than anything else. I find myself getting frustrated when women or doctors try to rush a body’s natural inclination to allow labour to start and progress on its own.
I started showing early labour signs with Cameron around 35 weeks and had started to dialate around 37 or 38 weeks. As a work at home mom, she blogs about life at home with her husband Dan and three sons Cameron (age 5), Gavin (age 3), and Logan (age 1).
I so look forward to our post-nap snuggles because they are pretty much the only time we are able to do something close, where he is willing to sit still and I don’t have to expend too much energy. I did a few weeks before Cameron was born (although the place I went was VERY careful not to do anything that would induce labour. I was 3 days early with #1, and already dilated at 36 weeks, my doctor is sure I might go a little early and quickly, which is okay with me! Because, yes, when you’re this large and uncomfortable, sometimes all you can do is laugh. Although don’t worry if you’re still waiting – in reality most babies don’t arrive bang on the due date. She’s still shedding that greasy white protective vernix, turning the amniotic fluid from clear to milky.
If you want to move things along, you and your partner might want to enjoy a bit of lovemaking – it’s been known to help get labour started!
Furthermore eating a lot of pineapple is also likely to stimulate your tummy, which might also stimulate your womb. The weight of your baby’s head against your cervix causes pressure which can trigger the release of oxytocin, a hormone which brings on contractions.
For example if their partner is going to be posted abroad with the armed forces and they will miss the birth. If this is the case, your doctor will talk to you about whether to try stronger interventions, or wait and then try again, or have a caesarean. It is more likely to work if your cervix is already beginning to soften and prepare for labour. With pessaries only one dose is needed and the prostaglandin is released gradually over 24 hours.
Having said that, there is a very small risk that it could cause over-stimulation or hyper-stimulation of the uterus. There is an increased risk of this if you are having a ‘trial of labour’ after a prior caesarean section – this is why doctors are reluctant to induce labour after a prior caesarean section. However sometimes midwives or doctors may use it to speed up labour if it’s not moving along. A doctor or midwife makes a break in the membranes surrounding your baby using an amnicot (a medical glove with a pricked end) or an amniohook (a thin, long probe resembling a fine crochet hook). Synctocinon is only offered after unsuccessful membranes sweeps or prostaglandin, or in a case of ineffective contractions. After contractions have begun, the speed of the drip can be adjusted in order to manage the flow of contractions. But this could either be caused by pre-induction pregnancy complications or the induction itself. You may want to have this scan if your baby has been moving less, if you have had unusual tummy pains, light bleeding or if you have had some kind of accident (for example on the road or in a fall). This scan is usually only offered by the NHS if there is a complication with the pregnancy.
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So, to help you out, here's how the whole miraculous performance breaks down into an act of three parts. As labour nears, your body releases hormones called prostaglandins, which make the cervix soften and 'ripen' in preparation.
Some poor souls experience full-on contractions even though, particularly with first babies, there may be very little actual dilation action.
It can be completely exhausting and demoralising to be in what feels like full-blown labour for ages and still only be 1cm dilated. Typically, it lasts around six to seven hours if it's your first labour, and finishes when you're about 7cm dilated. If you haven't opted for pain relief, the contractions will soon be too strong for you to talk through them - although, strangely, you may be able to yell. Contraction strength and the position of both you and your baby have a big impact on how quickly things will happen.
Called an artificial rupture of membranes (ARM), you will also have to have this done if your baby needs internal monitoring. You may also be offered an intravenous Syntocinon drip - this is artificial oxytocin to stimulate the uterus and increase and strengthen your contractions.
In case of trademark issues please contact the domain owner directly (contact information can be found in whois). Everyone you speak to will have their own advice to give about things that can induce labour, some more successful than others, so we thought we’d try to see if there is any truth behind any of the methods. Harper says sex releases prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that are like the medications used to induce labor.  And it won’t hurt to try!
It also causes bad stomach cramps, which make handling contractions much more difficult, plus causing diarrhoea.
Whilst there is some evidence that it can increase uterine contactiltiy, there is no evidence as to what is an appropriate dosage. I believe thatr there is more that we do not know than that we do regarding pregnancy and birth.
At the end of the day it is her body, her baby, her birth and ultimately it is her decision. For forty weeks we look forward to this date, we count down to this date, we repeat this date over and over.
Babies are considered full term at 37 weeks but it is generally thought that they can stay safely inside of Mama until 42 weeks. There is without a doubt a point in which labour needs to be coaxed medically if it isn’t happening, but too often I see this happening earlier than I believe is necessary. I went into labour on my own, but still needed to be induced after my body failed to progress.
When she has time, she can be found reading, writing, snapping photos, or awkwardly running.
I almost wanted to hang onto pregnancy for as long as possible because I knew that he and I were experiencing such a special bond that could never be replaced. It took me nearly five weeks, broken waters, and a pitocin drip to get me from 1 cm to 10 cms.
Even though I know this baby will be here sometime within the next 2 weeks, this past-due period is some weird mental vortex that feels like FOREVER when we’re in it. You’ve got more time now you’re off on maternity leave so why not distract yourself from the anticipation with some movies or a treat? If you do, it’s perfectly fine to tell your loved ones that you’ll get in touch as soon as there’s any news. Make sure you consult a properly trained practitioner who is experienced in working with pregnant women though. If this doesn’t happen, there’s a risk of the mother or baby developing an infection so an induction will be offered. Or others may ask to be induced because of worry about prior stillbirth or current pregnancy complications. Different methods might be appropriate according to how soft and prepared for labour your cervix is.
Midwives rate you on the Bishop Score before beginning induction and to assess the effectiveness of various induction methods used. The idea is to separate the membranes around your baby from your cervix which can release hormones called prostaglandins, which can help to get labour going.
You might want to use this as an opportunity to practice your birth breathing techniques to help you relax. This drastically reduces your baby’s oxygen supply, in which case drugs can be administered to slow down or stop the contractions. This procedure is most effective when the cervix is already softening and ready for the start of labour. There is also a very small risk of over-stimulation or hyper-stimulation of the womb through the use of Syntocinon. Rest assured that if you turn up at the hospital only to be sent home for being way too early, you won't be the first. It also leaves the labouring woman quite dehydrated as a result of the vomiting and diarrhoea which result when the recommended dose of castor oil for labour induction is taken—2 oz, or about 4 tbsp. This leaves her without access to the energy she could otherwise derive from food or drink throughout her labour process. I am a midwife myself now and I have been advised not to recommend castor oil for the same reasons you stated.
Today is when I simply must give everything over to the natural rhythms of my body and pray that I will go into labour on my own, when I am ready.
Laura has been recognized as one of Canada's Top 10 Mom Bloggers by multiple publications, including Reader's Digest.
He would be born and then he would spend the rest of his wonderful life growing up and away. Normally 2 weeks is a short period of time but for me right now it feel like it might as well be 2 years. Induction is offered when the risks of continuing pregnancy outweigh the risks of giving birth right away. Also think about your preferred methods of pain relief; if induction is successful then your contractions may be stronger. You might also experience a bit of blood ‘spotting’ or irregular contractions straight afterwards. Half an hour later my midwife examined me and then all hell broke loose as I was already 9.5cm dilated. The advice I give I freely admit is based on anecdotal evidence – passed to me by very experienced midwives who were my mentors when I trained, and who had practised at a time when castor oil was used more freely. I firmly believe that if women are going to be induced, and many women request this, then its better to be at home with your husband than in a hospital.
Maybe I’ll convince myself that enough Mango Pineapple smoothies from McDonalds will have the same effect, but I am pretty sure that is not how it works.
Relish the days you have to just soak up Cameron before a 4th person changes the family dynamic! But sharing those two years of growing with him has been so exciting that I just want to start that process with this new baby.
Whilst in the absence of sufficient evidence to show its safety and with sufficient (albeit anecdotal) evidence to suggest a potential link to morbidity, I personally think it is reasonable to advise against its use, particularly without some kind of medical aupervision.
I should be assuming that this baby will be born sometime in April, but not necessarily by, or even around April 18th. I want to meet this baby and find out if we are having a boy or a girl and decide on a name and I do want to share this new baby – especially with the big brother who is waiting patiently with me. Just because something is natural and readily available, it doesn’t make it appropriate to use. Evening Primrose oil is another self help remedy for labour that is beginning to have its safety and efficacy called into question too. Unfortunately I can’t find the link, but it raised some very interesting points about how we freely recommend such treatments without necessarily having sufficient confidence that they will do no harm, and without necessarily giving the women appropriate accompanying advice on what potential side effects they might experience as a result of taking such things.

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