Some people joke that the last month of pregnancy feels like an absolutely eternity, however this really can seem true if you go over your 'due' day into the 40+ week category.
(Image source: https://me.me/i/every-month-has-an-average-of-30-days-except-the-17901907)
It is important to remember that your 'due' date is only an estimation and that approximate figures suggest only 5% of babies are born on this date. Several cultures around the world also believe that due dates are at 42 weeks, whilst others only give a due 'month'. So relax and trust in the knowledge that baby will come when baby is ready.
However, this is always easier said than done, and if you are heavily pregnant in a heatwave, are expecting your second and have a toddler running round, or know that you are going to be medically induced before 42 weeks, then you may be looking for ways to kick start your labour. So what are your options?
Reflexology & Acupuncture
Both of these complementary therapies help to stimulate a natural labour by accessing pressure points in the body that are linked to childbirth.
Reflexology works reflexes in the feet to stimulate organs and hormones linked with labour, whilst triggering your parasympathetic nervous system. In essence, your body needs to feel safe and relaxed to go into labour, so a reflexology treatment can put you into this zone whilst sending messages to your body that you are ready to meet your baby.
Explore all your pregnancy reflexology options here >>
Drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red raspberry leaf tea is a common suggestions by midwives and mothers as it is known to strengthen and tone the uterus, preparing your body for labour.
Even if this doesn't help induce labour directly, drinking it will ensure you are hydrated, which will help when you do enter childbirth.
Stimulating nipples is one of the more scientific ways to encourage labour. By stimulating the nipples, the uterus can be prompting to start contracting, which can bring about labour. This stimulation during breastfeeding post-birth is what encourages the uterus to return to its normal size via contracting, so there is method in the madness!
Stimulating nipples also helps to release the hormone Oxytocin, which is also released in childbirth.
Gentle exercise, such as pregnancy yoga or going for a lovely walk, can help encourage labour. Not only does it keep your body (and baby) moving, raising your heart rate can be a trigger to the start of childbirth.
It may be the last thing on your mind whilst you are prepping the nursery and the last few bits, but sex can encourage natural labour. Sex releases Oxytocin, which can prompt your uterus to contract. Combine with nipple stimulation and this may be very effective!
Also, semen naturally contains prostaglandins, which encourage cervical ripening to prepare the body for labour. In fact a synthetic form of these prostaglandins are used by medical professionals to help move things along, so why not go for the natural version and spend some quality time with your partner too before baby arrives?!
Most importantly remember that happy mummy means happy baby and that being relaxed is your most inate power in labour.
Mhairi @ Wild Air Wellbeing