In humans, the gestation period in pregnancy lasts 9 months or approximately 40 weeks. After this time, the body naturally starts going into labor. However, in certain situations the labor needs to be induced earlier than that. The labor can also be induced in women whose pregnancy lasts for more than 40 weeks and when the due date has passed.
Situations that call for labor induction
If the mother suffers from certain health problems and medical issues, like hypertension, seizures, heart disease and similar, doctors may recommend labor induction in order to prevent health risks for the baby.
Also, if the unborn baby is found to suffer from a congenital disorder which requires special conditions, labor induction may be required.
Inducing the labor is often done when the due date has passed and there are no signs of labor. This does not mean that if the labor is two or three days late, it should be induced. It is not easy to determine precisely the due date because each woman’s natural ovulation cycle is different, and the date is only approximate. However, if the contractions and other signs of labor fail to occur two weeks after the due date, labor induction may be required.
Circumstances that prohibit labor induction
It is not recommended to induce labor too early, because it can hyper-stimulate the uterus, which reduces the oxygen supply to the baby. In addition, if the labor is induced too early, there is a chance that the baby’s growth may not yet be complete.
There are certain situations and circumstances when it is not safe to induce labor. For example, when the doctors decide that the only safe way to deliver the baby is through the c-section or when there are complications related to the umbilical cord. Labor induction is not recommended for women who have had more than one c-section before, women who have herpes, who have had an uterine surgery or are carrying triplets.
How to induce labor naturally
There are drugs that can be administered to induce the labor. However, there are other, natural ways as well. Walking is one of the best natural methods of labor induction, especially if the contractions have already started. Sexual intercourse has a similar effect.
Eating spicy food is believed to induce the labor, however, this has never been medically proven. Still, there is no harm in trying, as long as the mother-to-be is not suffering from acid reflux or gastrointestinal problems.
Castor oil mixed with orange juice can also be used for the purpose of inducing the labor. It causes intestinal spasms that put pressure on the uterus so it starts contracting. Women who wish to try this method should bear in mind that castor oil has a strong laxative effect.
Blue and black cohosh are herbs that are often used together to induce labor. Blue cohosh makes the contractions stronger while black cohosh regulates them.
Other methods include stimulation of nipples and a bumpy car ride.