Are you hoping for an “on-time” arrival?
As a midwife and new mother, I knew the emotional dangers of becoming attached to my due date and harboring the expectation of an “on-time” or even early delivery. I have cared for many women who experience increasing anxiety levels and distress as their due date passes, and then another week passes, and even another week….
Although I was open to the possibility of going two weeks or more beyond my due date, I wanted to be as proactive as I could to help prepare my body and mind for labor. Here are 5 ways to naturally help the process along:
The end of pregnancy can be highly emotional. Many of us bathe in excitement, anxiety, and impatience for the start of labor and arrival of baby. These emotions are not helpful. Rather, a mama who is at-ease, relaxed, and grounded is much more open to the experience of labor. We have all heard that the fight-or-flight response can hinder or stop labor entirely for animals. Well, this certainly applies to humans. Scullcap, Passionflower, and Lemon Balm are my favorite herbs that calm the nervous system. They are gentle and safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. You can find all of these herbs in tincture form at the local Co-op and health food store. Consult with a midwife, herbalist, or your health care provider on a regimen and dosage that is appropriate for you.
While going on dates with your sweetie, friends, or family is fun and relaxing, I’m talking about the fruit. This study, from the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, concludes that the “consumption of date fruit in the last 4 weeks before labor significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labor, and produced a more favorable, but non-significant, delivery outcome.” Remember, dates are sweet and high in carbohydrates. Trying replacing some of the sugar (particularly refined sugar) already in your diet with dates.
Acupuncture is an ancient medical modality continually practiced around the world. It can serve a plethora dis-eases and ailments. Acupuncture is highly effective, safe, and pharmaceutical-free, while promoting the body’s amazing self-healing properties. Acupuncture is an excellent therapy during pregnancy. One therapeutic means is to prepare the body for labor. We have many great practitioners and a low-cost community clinic within the Burlington area.
4. Oxytocin and Prostaglandins
We know oxytocin as the amazing love hormone. It is responsible for helping the uterus contract, orgasm, breastmilk ejection and more. Such a versatile hormone! The two best ways to stimulate the release of oxytocin and prostaglandins are intercourse/other sexual activities (sperm contains prostaglandins which help ripen the cervix) and nipple stimulation. What helped get the baby in will help get it out! Consult your midwife or doctor to make sure it is safe to have intercourse. There are complications of pregnancy where sexual activity and uterine stimulation is contraindicated.
5. Optimal Fetal Positioning
I like to think that when the uterus is aligned and well supported by the fascia, muscle, and bone within the body, baby snuggles into an optimal position for birth. Our bodies take a beating over time, and the following therapies are healing and replenishing for both mama and baby: Mayan Abdominal Massage, Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment, Chiropractic Treatment, Acupuncture (particularly for Breech positions), and Yoga. There are many practitioners in the Burlington area who offer these services. Additionally, the Spinning Babies website provides great tips, resources, and exercises to do at home. Any and all of these treatments (I did them all!) are best to start at the beginning of pregnancy and continue into the postpartum.
I hope these suggestions are as helpful to you as they were for me!