Bringing on labour
If you're past your due date and you want to start things rolling you're probably wondering which methods may actually work and which ones are myth?
- Taking castor oil: Traditionally used as a laxative, castor oil causes intestinal cramping and diarrhoea. Dehydration is another charming side effect, plus it tastes foul. This one is best to avoid.
- Eating a curry/fresh pineapple/liquorice: There is no scientific proof that these foods will induce labour but they may get your digestive tract moving which could lead to contractions, however there are no guarantees that it will lead to anything more than a trip to the loo.
- Raspberry leaf tea: This nutrient-rich herb tones the muscles of the uterus, but one cuppa won’t induce labour. Research suggests that drinking the tea from the 32nd week of pregnancy may help ease contractions, and sipping after birth helps shrink the uterus back to normal size and reduce bleeding. Don’t drink the tea if you’re having a caesarean or if you have other medical issues. Always consult your LMC.
- Sex: Of all the old wives’ tales about how to induce labour the most scientifically valid is the one about sex. This is because you release oxytocin (the labour hormone) when you’re aroused and particularly with nipple stimulation. Semen also contains prostaglandins – the substances that help to soften the cervix.
- Walking and gentle exercise can also help.
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