By the time that you get to the last trimester, if you are like most women you are literally tired of being pregnant. And as the due date gets closer and closer, the anticipation of giving birth heightens. The first thing that you need to remember is that due dates are simply an estimate. According to information from the American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology, only a mere 5% of women actually give birth on their due dates. Due dates are simply a calculation that uses the date of the last menstrual period. Throughout pregnancy, doctors often change due dates based on uterine measurements and ultrasound information. So while you may be pining for your due date to come it is absolutely no guarantee that the baby will arrive that day.
37% of all women deliver between 37 and 42 weeks. For those who pass the due date, their time becomes spent finding creative ways to bring on labor. And of course, there are plenty of old wives tales to go along with this inquiry. Will sex bring on labor? Can you walk yourself into labor? Does Castor Oil speed up the onset of labor? Are there herbal remedies on the market that are both safe and effective?
Doctors routinely tell women to wait. If you pass your due date with no real signs of impending labor, doctors will begin to monitor you at least twice weekly. Just like giving birth too early can be unsafe for the baby, so can delivering too late. This is especially true because the growth of the baby is so rapid during the last 4 weeks of pregnancy, and a larger baby can give a birthing mother more problems. Plus, beyond 40 weeks, the effectiveness of the placenta begins to disintegrate, and most doctors will perform stress tests to monitor the health of your baby. So, are the myths true? Can you do things at home to induce labor?’
Lets investigate a few of the most common ways women try to induce labor
One of the most common cures for late labor is to have sex. Across panels of medical professionals, most will agree that sex can be a good way to try and get labor started. Of course, having sex at 9 or 10 months pregnant may not be very comfortable for you and some men have fears that they will hurt the baby. (Note. According to medical professionals, there is no penis large enough to actually hurt the baby during sex). The reason that sex is both a safe and often effective way to bring on labor is because during sex prostaglandins, which are naturally occurring hormone like substance that can bring on labor. Prostaglandins mimic the medications that doctors will give women intravenously or cervically to start labor.
The key in having sex to induce labor is for the man to ejaculate inside the vagina so that the semen reaches the cervix, because it is the semen that contains the prostaglandins. The good thing about sex for inducing labor is that it is safe, and aside from a little discomfort, there are no side effects. Just be certain that you choose a sexual position that does not put pressure on your lower abdomen.
Other methods that are often used are long walks, spicy foods, black cohosh (NOT RECOMMENDED) Castor oil and evening primrose oil.
Long walks are a good idea when you are in late pregnancy. Not only will the walk help to increase your circulation and oxygen, but also it can help to put pressure on the cervical area to increase the chance that labor will start. It is also good for swelling, and believe it or not can help reduce inflammation and late term back pain. One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to walk too far or for too long because the last thing you want to do is show up in the labor and delivery room exhausted.
Castor oil is safe after the 38th week. The thing is, that most people end up with diarrhea because castor oil doesn’t affect the uterus at all. It affects the bowels. Doctors believe that the stimulation and pressure on the bowels may have a slight chance of inducing labor. If you take Castor Oil, don’t take it prior to the 38th week and definitely don’t take too much!
Obstetricians recommend avoiding any type of herbal remedies such as Cohosh, which was a common tool used a long time ago by medical professionals to induce labor. The problem is that Cohosh can be harsh and can actually cause problems for you and your baby. Evening primrose oil, which also releases prostaglandins is much safer than Cohosh, but should only be taken in very low quantities.
The best rule of thumb is to wait it out. Your baby will come when he or she is ready. Doctors rarely let women go past the 42-week mark, and if you are getting good obstetric care you and your baby will be monitored very closely once you pass your due date. If you just cannot wait perhaps the safest (and most pleasurable) way to induce labor is to have sex.