If you are expecting a baby soon, then like most pregnant women I see in clinic, you would probably like to know how to avoid being induced so that you can enjoy a natural start to labour. This is such a common concern and is something I take time to cover in my HypnoBirthing classes.
Many women find themselves under increasing pressure to induce, particularly once they go past 41 weeks of pregnancy and this increased anxiety can cause tension in the body that impacts our ability to open and let go…the two things we need to do most to allow our baby to begin making their gentle entry into the world! So here are my 7 top tips for avoiding induction:
Tip #1 Don’t obsess over your ‘due date’. Think more of a birthing time or month.
The first thing to remember is that a normal length of pregnancy is anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks. The due date that you have been given is actually an EDD – an estimated due date – and should be treated as just that. In the absence of clear medical need, such as pre-eclampsia, toxaemia, reduced fetal movements, infection or fever, then we as women should feel fully confident in ‘waiting it out’. Just as we would not think of tearing open the chrysalis before a butterfly is ready to emerge, or picking the fruit from a tree until it is
fully ripe, the same applies to your baby. All natural birth has a process and a plan and we should trust that our body and our baby know best. You are not ‘post dates’ until you have reached 42 weeks. After this time, it is your right to request ongoing monitoring for you and your baby, as clearly stated by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE). Dating scans are not 100% accurate; in fact, it is not uncommon to hear of couples being given as many as 3 different due dates throughout pregnancy. Scans also get increasingly more inaccurate at judging size and gestation the further into pregnancy we go. So, trust the natural process of things and this will help you stay relaxed.
Tip #2 Eat well throughout pregnancy. To birth as nature intended, eat as nature intended.
If we wish labour to start without intervention, then we must respect our body and our baby’s need for wholesome, nutritious food and good hydration. You are the sole source of nutrition for your growing baby and foods that are man-made, processed, and otherwise tainted with chemicals or preservatives, can tip the delicate hormonal balance that supports both your baby’s growth, and your body’s ability to begin labouring naturally.
Tip #3 Take time for regular relaxation
As well as taking care of your body, you must also take care of your mind. Anxiety and stress cause adrenaline release, raised cortisol levels and stress hormones that prevent the release of endorphins and oxytocin which help your cervix and uterus to relax so that labour can begin naturally. Try and remove stress and take regular time to relax. Practising your HypnoBirthing relaxation and breathing techniques can really help. Also, simple activities such as meditation, walking in nature or taking a bath with some relaxing essential oils will help to soothe your mind.
Tip #4 Seek therapeutic support
Reflexology, Massage & Aromatherapy can all help you to balance and prepare your body for birth so that you have the best chance of avoiding induction. I specialise in pregnancy reflexology to encourage the natural onset of labour and it is such a wonderful, gentle therapy that works to relieve physical and emotion tensions and aligns the hormonal system ready for birth. During treatment I work with reflex and acupressure trigger points, essential oils, and guided relaxation to help you gain the most from each session. I would love to support you in preparing for your birth. However, if you are not local to my Bristol or Clevedon clinics then I thoroughly recommend seeking out an experienced reflexology practitioner who specialises in pregnancy care.
Tip #5 Keep your pelvis supple and your body aligned.
Your pelvic structure changes significantly towards the end of pregnancy and throughout birth. Keeping your pelvis, and your body generally, free-moving, aligned and supple will ensure your baby is far more likely to adopt the optimal vertex position, engage effectively and move easily out into the world when the time is right for them. Gentle Chiropractic with a skilled practitioner is well worth the investment. Not only will it correct any misalignment that may impede baby’s positioning; it will also ensure that the communicating system between brain and body (via your spinal cord) works effectively, so that your body receives the direction it needs to begin birthing. Regular pelvic rotations and tilts on your birth ball, walking daily, and classes such as Yoga and Aqua-natal will all benefit too.
Tip #6 Remember ‘Hugs before drugs’
Any form of skin-to-skin contact will help elevate oxytocin release, one of the main hormones driving birth. Love making, nipple or clitoral stimulation, and particularly orgasm, will optimise oxytocin and endorphin release. If you have attended my HypnoBirthing classes, then you can add Light Touch Massage to your ‘hugs before drugs’ list of activities to avoid induction. Semen also contains prostaglandins that help to ripen the cervix and initiate labour.
Tip #7 Regularly visualise meeting & holding your baby
It is easy to get so caught up in thinking and worrying about when birth will happen that you forget to remember that soon, no matter what, you will be holding your baby in your arms and this period of waiting will be a distant memory. So much focused anticipation can create tension, so switch your focus. Regularly visualise yourself with your newborn baby, looking relaxed, refreshed and happy. This image will help to lower anxiety and sends a message to your brain that all is well. The brain does not differentiate between reality and perception, so if you visualise this regularly enough – see it, experience it, hear the sounds your baby makes, notice their beautiful smell – then you can help bring this picture into reality.
For further support, free resources and to learn more about how HypnoBirthing & guided relaxation can aid the natural onset of labour, please visit www.bloomandbirth.co.uk