Naturopathic Labour Induction
If you are interested in avoiding an artificial induction (either because your health care provider has discussed it with you, you are past 40 weeks pregnant and/or you have been induced in previous pregnancies) Dr. EeVon Ling ND is here to help.
She can do acupuncture, instruct you on massaging acupressure points, prescribe herbs and certain exercises to help your body ready the cervix and nudge or kick-start labour. Her methods are based on traditional approaches and evidence based ways to start labour.
To get more information on how to avoid an artificial induction please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Every pregnancy is different. Every length of pregnancy is different.
A healthy baby can be born anytime between 37 to 42 weeks of pregnancy and it is best to wait for baby to start labour on his or her own. That’s right, it is most likely (although amazingly, science isn’t exactly sure) that the baby is the one to start labour. When the baby is mature enough, namely the lungs and respiratory systems, to survive outside the womb, certain proteins and hormones are released from the baby that eventually make their way to mom’s brain, signalling her body to start labour. Some babies are ready earlier, like at 37 weeks, and some babies need a little more time and will arrive after 40 weeks. But the majority of babies are born between 39 to 41 weeks of pregnancy.
Artificial induction (or “scheduled induction”, “medical induction” or simply “induction”) is a medical procedure to start labour before it starts on its own. An induction may be needed to start labour in the case where the baby or mother have a medical condition (for example, severe gestational diabetes, severe high blood pressure, problems with the placenta or growth in the baby) and there are risks in continuing the pregnancy and the baby needs to be born right away.
So unless there is a medical reason, there should be no talk or recommendation for an induction before 40 weeks of pregnancy.
After 40 weeks, for the majority of otherwise healthy, low-risk pregnancies, it is generally safe to allow the pregnancy to go to 42 weeks. The woman may be advised to undergo assessments to ensure that the baby and placenta are in good health. Even so, many healthcare providers will advise that, if labour doesn’t start within 10 past the due date, then an induction will be scheduled. And if the pregnancy goes to 42 weeks with still no signs of labour, then the woman will be induced.
What is involved in an induction?
Once the decision to induce labour has been made, the labour and birth becomes highly medicalized. The healthcare provider will assess the woman’s cervix to make sure that it is ready for labour (it should be effaced, thinned out, very soft and open a little by a couple centimetres and anterior). If the cervix is not ready, then medications referred to as cervical ripening agents will be used. When using these substances, the woman and baby must be monitored by electronic fetal monitoring (for baby), blood pressure and heart rate monitored (in mother). To start labour itself, the woman is given a drug called Pitocin (artificial oxytocin) to start labour contractions. This is administered by IV at the lowest dose and then increased over time to produce an effective labour. The baby and woman must be continuously monitored throughout the entire labour and birthing. With the woman being attached to the monitoring devices, this limits her movement. And even though the drug is meant to mimic what the body does on it’s own, the contractions produced by Pitocin are usually very different — stronger, longer and closer together. In many cases, the use of Pitocin is followed by the request for an epidural.
An induction should be the last resort when a labour needs to be started. Natural means to get labour started should always be explored first.
** Views and opinions expressed here are independent of the HypnoBirthing Institute