by Serena Ma, ND, MS, LAc
Home stretch! This week Dr. Christine and I will start with stronger labor acupuncture treatments. Today, I'm one week from the due date - but you know, babies are rarely born on their actual due date so I have no expectations. :-)
I want to discuss other techniques I suggest for my patients for inducing labor. There are some that I personally DO NOT advocate because I find them too harsh (blue cohosh, black cohosh, castor oil). Instead I prefer these methods:
- Evening Primrose Oil - evening primrose oil is high in GLA (gamma-linolenic acid) which is a precursor to certain prostaglandins needed to 'ripen' or soften the cervix.
- starting week 34 - can take 500mg of evening primrose oil orally twice per day
- starting week 36 - can insert 1-2 capsules (softgels) vaginally before bedtime (it will dissolve while you sleep!)
- starting week 38 - can increase to 2-500mg capsules orally twice per day
- Nipple Stimulation - produces oxytocin (which is considered a 'love' hormone) which brings on labor contractions as well as dilation of the cervix. In fact, pitocin is the drug they use for labor induction which is synthetic oxytocin.
- I suggest some major nipple stimulation with the breast pump - 15 minutes each breast twice per day (1 hour total).
- Sex - a double whammy; semen contains high levels of prostaglandins and oxytocin is secreted, so go have sex!
- Walking - the thought here is that walking (gravity) causes the baby's head to press on the cervix which may stimulate the release of oxytocin.
Might as well try it:
- Spicy food - thought to irritate the intestines and get things moving
- Pineapple - contains bromelain which may soften the cervix