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Sometimes it becomes necessary to naturally induce labour or strengthen contractions during labour. Nipple stimulation becomes a useful tool at such times. It is helpful in speeding up pre-labour too. Women who notice that their contractions have either stopped completely or slowed down can benefit by artificially inducing labour through nipple stimulation. Through this method, the hormone Oxytocin is released into the body which causes uterus contraction and induces labour.
Is it Safe to Induce Labour at Home?
Before trying any techniques to induce labour, you should speak to your doctor and understand its advantages and disadvantages. It entirely depends on your medical history if breast stimulation to induce labour can prove to be a safe method for you. It is important to do this because most home induction methods do not have any scientific evidence to prove their effectiveness. Speak to a trusted medical professional if you are worried about going past the due date and enlighten yourself about the following:
- What are the methods you recommend to induce labour, naturally or medically?
- When would you recommend using these techniques if labour does not begin on its own?
- When must I arrive at the hospital if the contractions begin?
Can Nipple Stimulation bring on Labour?
Although you should not count on nipple stimulation to bring about labour, it can work if there haven’t been any complications during the pregnancy. There isn’t much proof that this technique works and can prove to be a laborious and time-consuming method.
How does Nipple Stimulation Work?
When nipples are rolled or rubbed, the female body release oxytocin which initiates labour and arousal. It is also known to contract the uterus after labour. In fact, the drug Pitocin which doctors use to induce labour is a synthetic version of the oxytocin hormone.
How to do Nipple Stimulation?
Before you begin with this method, it has to be noted that nipple stimulation should be carried out only when the pregnancy is normal. Here’s how you should carry it out:
- Stimulate only one nipple at one time
- A combination of the forefinger and the thumb should be used to gently roll the nipple.
- Stimulate the area around the areola and pull the nipple downwards to make it erect. Oral licking or gentle sucking or use of a breast pump can cause it to become erect too.
- After the nipple becomes erect, continue the stimulation for another minute.
- Stop the process for a couple of minutes or more.
- Move on to the other nipple and repeat the same process
- Wait for a couple of minutes before working on the first nipple.
Nipple stimulation can be carried out orally, by hand or using a breast pump. The stimulation should ideally mimic the suckling done by a baby, so you can ask your partner to do that too. You can even stimulate your own nipples during labour. Apply coconut oil or breast milk if your nipples become sore and tender due to the stimulation.
Which are the Other Safe Techniques for Inducing Labour?
The exact date of your baby’s arrival (your due date) is no more than a well-calculated guess. You may want to wait the entire 40 weeks to deliver the baby while on the other hand, many women deliver healthy babies a week before or after the due date. There are many natural methods of inducing labour but remember to check with your doctor how safe they are before attempting any of them:
- Exercise: During pregnancy, a long walk can enhance the heart rate which is an important factor while inducing labour. It can help in relieving stress and strengthening the body.
- Sex: Contrary to popular opinion, having sex at full term is completely safe. Indulging in sex helps release the hormone oxytocin which can jumpstart uterine contractions. This is why having sex to induce labour can prove to be beneficial. However, do not do so after your water has broken as this could lead to infections.
- Membrane Stripping: During this process, the doctor separates the amniotic sac from the cervix using a finger, without giving any kind of medication. By doing so, hormones called prostaglandins are released which helps the woman to go into labour.
- Acupuncture: Through acupuncture, it is possible to stimulate the release of oxytocin in the body. By doing so, the need for medical inductions can be significantly reduced. A trained professional should be engaged in this method.
- Spicy Foods: Eating hot and spicy foods can induce labour pains though there hasn’t been any kind of scientific evidence or reasons for the same. Do not try this if you normally do not consume spicy foods.
- Acupressure: This technique can induce labour, but it is necessary to get it done by a trained practitioner. If you plan to self-administer, get the necessary instructions before beginning. If acupressure does not induce labour, it can reduce the pain and discomfort that one feels during labour.
When should you Consult a Doctor?
On the delivery day, you will feel your baby move lower into the pelvis, and regular contractions will begin. Time these contractions as initially they could be 15 minutes apart and may last for a minute or more. When you near active labour, these contractions will occur 3-4 minutes apart for a minute or less.
Call your doctor if the water bag breaks before the contractions happen and also if you experience bleeding. Make arrangements to move to the hospital in case of any major discomfort or if the contractions happen every five minutes for an hour.
It is always recommended to speak to your doctor before trying anything to induce labour. This will avoid any risks or complications that may arise if it is administered wrongly. Check with your doctor if nipple stimulation will be useful for you as they will know best about medical history and can decide accordingly.
Also Read: How to Speed Up Labour