Labor, likewise known as Childbirth, is the process of delivering a baby, the placenta, membrane, and umbilical cord from the uterus through the vagina to the outside world.
There are three stages of labor:
- The first stage of labor (likewise known as dilation): the cervix fully dilates to a diameter of 10 cm (2 inches).
- The second stage (also known as expulsion): is when the baby moves out through the fully dilated cervix, then out of the vagina to the outside world. Expulsion generally lasts 2 hours for a first-time mother and l hour for a mother who has given birth before.
- The third stage of labor (also known as the delivery of the afterbirth): begins after the baby comes out and ends when the placenta and membranes are successfully expelled without any presence of leftover tissue. It is the shortest stage of labor and lasts for about 5 – 20 minutes.
How To Induce Labor Naturally?
In a normal healthy pregnancy, labor can only start when a woman’s due date is near. The expected time frame for pregnancy is 40 weeks, so labor is usually expected to occur two weeks before the awaited date of delivery.
It is best to let the body do its job to induce labor when the baby is prepared to come out, but most times during the 40th week, most mothers can’t handle such strain from the baby anymore. They want the baby out right away. That’s where the induction of labor comes into play. Labor can be induced medically or naturally.
You should speak to your doctor or midwife before trying any labor induction methods. That being said here are five ways to induce labor naturally:
1. Sexual intercourse may induce labor
Semen is known to be a source of prostaglandins. Prostaglandins enhance cervical ripening, which prepares the body for labor. Sexual intercourse is also known to increase uterine activity, which is needed to enhance labor and dilates the cervix. Sexual intercourse is advised to be done before the water breaks in order to prevent any infections.
2. Try Nipple stimulation
Nipple stimulation is believed to stimulate the uterus and trigger the contraction of the uterus. Uterine contraction induces labor. You can use your fingers, your spouse’s mouth or a breast pump to help stimulate your nipples.
3. Light exercises
Moderate exercises such as long walks cause the heart to beat faster and may trigger contractions.
4. You may use acupuncture to induce labor
Acupuncture is believed to induce labor by various natural birth supporters. It is advisable to visit a professional acupuncturist for this procedure in order to prevent any mishaps.
5. Try Spicy foods
Spicy foods have been promoted for decades as a way to induce labor naturally. There are no clear scientific backings supporting this idea, but there is no harm in trying it to see if it works as long as you can handle it. Go slow with how spicy the food is and see how you feel before you add spices anymore to your food.
Note: Some spicy foods can worsen pre-existing acid reflux, so it is best to evaluate several options before using this option to induce labor.
Before you try anything that induces labor, you should speak with your doctor or midwife to examine any risks or possible complications.