Go into any dedicated pregnancy or parenting support group and you’ll see posts regularly popping up asking about “natural” induction methods, ways of encouraging baby to be born earlier, ways to get yourself more dilated, more contractions (or stronger contractions), more quickly into labour etc etc etc...
Occasionally you may see a comment stating that “natural” induction methods don’t work, or that baby is the one who initiates labour when he/she is fully ready to be born, but for the most part people comment with what they did regardless of if it appeared to work or not.
The truth is that they don’t actually work, 100% of the time these people who promote them went into labour afterwards BECAUSE their baby was actually ready to be born.
Current research shows that, in the absence of premature labour, that it is actually baby who initiates when he/she is physiologically ready (meaning fully mature and ready to live outside the womb) by releasing specific proteins from his/her lungs that tell the mothers body that it is time for birth. Prior to this the mothers body has been slowly preparing for the birth by building up its own hormone levels (and lowering the levels of those hormones that are not necessary for labour) so that when baby is ready labour can begin within a few hours or days.
What this means is that all of those “natural” induction methods and ways of supposedly making your body ready quicker are pretty much useless.
While they may make you feel like you are doing something constructive and proactive to help you really aren’t doing much – if anything – at all and the majority of the time they just leave you frustrated, tired, exhausted, upset, physically and emotionally drained and sometimes you are left feeling like your body is broken because nothing has worked, you’re still pregnant and no, or very little, progress has been made.
If none of those methods work, where does this leave you though?
There are many other things that you can do instead which will prepare your body a lot better for your upcoming labour and birth:
- You can rest your body: with sleep, sitting down when your body tells you that it needs to sit and rest, reducing your current activity level (let’s face it, life in this day and age is normally hectic, especially when you have other children or are still working, and it can be hard to slow down but for your health reducing your workload, even a little bit, can help during these last days and/or weeks of pregnancy) by slowing down your busy everyday life to a somewhat reduced pace.
- Relaxing: not only what was mentioned above re rest, but also by doing things that leave you feeling relaxed and calm and ready to face whatever life will throw at you.
- Eating: not just eating for the sake of eating, but eating high energy (and good for you) foods that not only taste good but also give you that boost to your energy levels that you will need when labour begins. Contrary to popular belief foods that are healthy and “good for you” don’t have to taste like crap or be plain salad and meat, they can be really tasty and include all sorts of fruits, vegetables, grains (if you are gluten intolerant or have caeliacs there are other options available), dairy (there are non-dairy options available for those cannot or do not wish to consume it) and meat products (again there are non-meat options available for those who do not consume meat). Google “healthy high energy meal recipes” and a plethora of recipes and meal ideas will come up, some of them are so simple (and taste so good too) that even the worst home cook can make something palatable that tastes great and fills you up while providing energy and those much needed vitamins and minerals for your health.
- Hydrating: make sure that you are consuming enough fluids. The average person requires 1.5-2ltrs of water a day to remain healthy, there are many who don’t drink that much though and as a result are at higher risk of dehydration. Some beverages (for example those containing caffeine like tea, coffee and energy drinks) can have a diuretic affect making fluids pass through your body faster than normal, reducing the amount that your body absorbs as a result, so reducing your consumption of those beverages can be a good idea (note: I do not say stop consuming them completely, as a coffee and tea drinker myself I understand fully how much those types of drinks can sometimes be needed just to get through the day). If plain water is unpalatable for you (you can’t drink it plain for some reason) there are many flavour enhancers available on the market that you can use to flavour it with. Alternatively using a sparkling mineral water (with or without bubbles) and one of those flavours can be a good option as well, with the right flavouring the bubbly ones can taste like soft drink without having all the sugar that soft drink contains.
- Doing something that YOU enjoy: do something that you enjoy every single day, whether that’s going for a walk, doing something crafty, getting a manicure and/or pedicure, going shopping, doing a pregnancy safe workout, yoga, meeting up with friends for a coffee or day out away from the kids etc, just do it for you.
- Focus on your body and your baby: start listening to what your body and baby are telling you – is your body extra tired or run down? If so it’s telling you that it needs to rest. Is your gut instinct telling you that something isn’t quite right but you can’t really tell exactly what is it? Listen to it and get checked out – thoroughly. If your body is telling you that you need to get up and move then follow its instructions.
When focusing on your baby pay attention to his/her normal movements throughout the day – when is he/she the most calm and quiet? When is he/she the most active? Under what circumstances do they change from active to calm and back again? Is baby more or less active while you are moving? And is baby more or less active when you are resting/laying down? Does baby react to what you drink or eat?
By becoming more in tune with your body and your baby you’ll be able to recognise, instinctively, when something isn’t right and act quickly to get it checked out (and don’t forget to push for a proper in-depth check up, not just CTG monitoring and palpation as both of those have been shown to not improve outcomes in pregnancy).
Lastly I would like to say that while these last few days/weeks can be some of the longest and most frustrating/draining of your life you only get to do this once with this baby – make the most of it and try to find ways to enjoy this time while baby is still inside you.
Do you want 1-on-1, 100% focused on YOU support during your pregnancy and birth? Do you want someone willing to listen who really HEARS YOU? How about a source of unbiased up to date information? Someone who doesn’t have a hidden agenda? Who trusts in, and believes, in you? Who doesn't pretend to be someone that they aren't? Someone who will give their all in supporting you to the best of their ability and beyond?
If your answer is a resounding YES!!! and you live on the North Side of Brisbane send a message TODAY to arrange a no obligation interview.