Ok. You wake up at 38 weeks pregnant and you think you are "due." You know, the baby could come at any time. I don't want to down play this at all, because yes your baby could actually come. But if you are counting down the days to the arrival of your bundle because you are either excited to meet him/her or you just can't be pregnant any longer...keep reading. Most likely, your baby is not coming this week or next week for that matter. The average gestation is 41 weeks and 1 day. Your "due" date is arbitrarily based on the date of your last period (if you even know that) and it is a one size fits all model. Some of us ovulate on Day 6, some of us ovulate on day 21. Sometimes that sperm and egg meet up quickly, sometimes that sperm is waiting around for days for our sweet little egg....so you can't even guess based on when you had sex. If you hit week 40 and your healthcare providers starts even a whisper about induction, just breathe and remember the first unnatural thing about your pregnancy was that you were given a due date at all. It's a guess, a moving target and your baby will come when he/she is ready. Despite the fact that I am about to offer up natural induction methods, I would just be patient before anything else. Feel those kicks, sit your ass down and enjoy your last moments of being one with your baby. It is about to be over and you will actually be a little bit sad through the years that the pregnancy ended and the cord was cut. I know that is hard to believe as your rub your aching back and prop up your swollen feet. Are you still reading? I made this long on purpose so that maybe you might skip the natural induction techniques :). As your Doula, I want you to relax, but if they are planning that induction and there is no way out of it then please try all or some of the following bearing in mind I am not your doctor or midwife.
(I was 3 weeks late with #1 and had a scheduled induction with #2, I have personally done every single method that I am recommending). Start early in the morning because no one wants to jump start labor at night.
1. Make some labor oil: 1/2 bottle of almond oil, 1/2 bottle of castor oil, 10-20 drops of Clary Sage, 10-20 drops of lavendar. Rub this over your belly, wrap in saran wrap and add a heating pad on low heat. Recipe compliments of TenderHandsDoula
2. Hook up the breast pump for nipple stimulation. 15 minutes at a time several times a day. Also key if you can use the labor oil at the same time
3. Black and Blue Cohosh homeopathics. You can buy them at your local natural foods store. Take as directed, usually 3-5 pellets every few hours under the tongue.
4. Sex (with orgasm and ejaculation). The same way your baby was created is the same way your baby can come out. The semen will soften the cervix with prostaglandins and the sex, touch and orgasm will release loads of natural oxytocin.
5. Go get a prenatal massage. Again the oxytocin from the touch can jump start those contractions as well as the much needed relaxation and softening of the muscle tension. I recommend Annette Tucker at All About You Salon.
6. Chiropractic adjustment. Opens up the pelvis, makes sure everything is in alignment and promotes an easier and faster labor too. I recommend Stefanie Rodstater in Huntersville, NC at Adjusting the World (she is also a Doula).
7. Acupuncture. I recommend Cris Gregory at Well Being
8. Walking. Brisk walking with a bottle of water and the music of your choice in your earbuds. At least 2 miles if you can. And preferably more than once a day.
9. Insert Evening Primrose vaginally. You can even start doing this at week 36. Have your partner insert the primrose as close to the cervix as possible with freshly washed hands. Do this right before bed so it doesn't just leak out. When you go to the bathroom, you will see little drops in the toilet that look like oil. This is just the evening primrose and nothing to do with your own bodily fluids.
10. Eat some spicy food, eggplant and cantaloupe
11. See a reflexologist. I recommend Dr. Zhou in Charlotte off of Woodlawn. He is hard to understand, it is painful, but many of my clients have sworn by him!
12. LAST RESORT Castor Oil. Ok, your induction is scheduled and you really don't want to be induced with pitocin and hooked up to monitors. And let's face it you, you are ready to just not be pregnant. Then, I would take 4 oz of castor oil in a milkshake. And please, only do this ONE TIME. Most likely you will not even have GI upset but you will consistently contract. If you go for round 2, you will most likely have diarrhea that is not so fun.
I also believe in drinking a glass of wine, getting into the bathtub and relaxing at night with hypnobirthing.
Good luck. May the patience be with you. :)