Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Helping my body cope with Early Induction

With most of the baby preps done now, save for washing the clothes and nappies, I'm focusing on what I need to do to help my body be ready for the induction. It's another week yet before my next GD appointment but I am (as ever) hopeful that they will narrow down that induction date from "38 weeks ish" to an actual appointment. Either way I have about 6 weeks to go to my induction and I really really want to avoid being put on the drip or having a c-section. That means employing what ever methods are at my disposal to get my bits ready!

There is a wealth of information on the internet on "preparing for induction" and  "how to ripen your cervix for labour". I have read sooo much I've actually made my eyes itch! However, it's usually the same things that come up time and time again.

Yup. Sex. Because sperm contains prostaglandins which can help ripen the cervix, and female orgasm releases oxytocin which is known as the "labour hormone". This one is a bit tricky for us though, and not just because of the Bump. Hubby is squeamish about pregnant sex (he worries about squashing baby and gets freaked out by baby kicking during "the deed"), and it is flipping HOT this summer! Plus, with 3 kids already, finding the energy and time while pregnant in the summer heat is hardly easy. Still.... I'm trying to talk him round!

Evening Primrose Oil
This clever little supplement mimics prostaglandin and helps to ripen the cervix. You can taking it orally and/or internally from 36 weeks. I've already started taking it orally as that is 4 weeks before due date and I am being induced 2 weeks before my due date. I used it orally and internally when I had my induction last time. It went well. People's recommendations for dosages vary so I'd suggest doing your own research and speak to your own care givers.

Raspberry Leaf
This one is easy if you like fruit or herbal teas. If you don't you can get tablets instead. I like the tea! Hot or cold like iced tea. It's pretty special stuff (check out this link) but when it comes down to preparing for this induction my selling point is it's ability to help strengthen the uterus and make the 2nd stage (pushing part) of labour quicker and easier. It also helps with after pains and milk supply. I used this with all but my first pregnancy and found my births much easier, and the after pains nothing like as bad as expected.

Eating Dates
Seriously. Just 6 a day for the last 4 weeks of pregnancy can have a beneficial effect. This isn't like the "eat pineapple" myth (where you'd need to eat 3-5 WHOLE pineapples inc the core to have any effect at all) or "eat spicy food" theory (which works only by upsetting your belly and bowels), this has a study behind it. It's dry reading, but here if you want to have a look. The gist of it is that it can help to dilate your cervix, and reduce the need for prostin/oxytocin, therefore reducing the latent and 1st stage of labour. I.E. reduce the need / use of the pessaries etc used to induce.

Nipple Stimulation
This also releases oxytocin. I'm going to give this another go. I've tried it in the past but found it too time consuming. I've read that in order for it to work it has be constant from anywhere from 15 mins per nipple for an hour . I simply couldn't be bothered haha! It's been suggested that using a breast pump can make that easier, but mine are manual so it didn't do much to ease my boredom. It just started to hurt my nips. Ideally though you would stimulate one until you start to feel tightenings, then switch to the other side. I've also read a ideal way of doing this is to "borrow" someone else's new born baby and have them latch on. I can't see that happening much in this society though even if you were lucky enough to know a new mum well enough to consider asking. I may well try the breast pumps again the day before my induction though. The kids will be at my Mum's so I can get my boobs out without them wandering over to ask why and prod them!

Unlike my 2nd and 3rd pregnancies I am pretty much resigned to the fact that I am going to be induced. After going through an induction with my 3rd baby I am more confident that having an induction doesn't HAVE to be awful. To my mind "awful" would be having to go on the drip and have instant back-to-back contractions requiring an epidural to cope with, or having to have a c-section because the birth hasn't progressed well and baby is in danger. I want to experience the birth! Not be knocked out or completely numb. If I can encourage my body to be ready to go into labour with nothing more than the pessaries I will be perfectly happy.

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