By Dr. Deepa Sethia, Gynaecology
Your due date is an estimation of when the baby would be ‘stepping’ into the world. Majority of women give birth to healthy babies a couple of weeks after or prior to the presumed date. In case one has completed the 39th week of her pregnancy, she can induce labor either naturally or through medical intervention; wherein the fetus along with the placenta (organ nourishing the baby), umbilical cord and the membranes get expelled out of the uterus.
- Exercises: Anything from climbing stairs to a long walk can initiate labor. Gravity helps the baby descend through the birth canal by enlarging the cervix with a simple pressure.
- Nipple Stimulation: Stimulating the nipples contracts the uterus, eventually bringing about labor.
- Spicy Foods: Spicy foods release prostaglandins (compounds with hormone-like effects) throughout the digestive process, triggering uterine contractions.
- Evening Primrose Oil: Consuming this oil orally or inserting it into the vagina softens the cervix and eases childbirth.
- Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Drinking this tea in combination with the evening primrose oil can help in controlling irregular contractions.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture triggers the release of oxytocin in the body, causing shrinkage of the uterus, thereby helping in contractions. It is a process wherein a needle is penetrated into the skin to stimulate certain points in the body to alleviate pain.
- Stripping the Membranes: Here, the midwife or the doctor uses a gloved finger for separating the amniotic sac (bag of fluid within the uterus nurturing the fetus) from the uterine wall to release hormones that would trigger contractions.
- Hormones: Hormones called prostaglandins are administered to open up the cervix that helps trigger contractions.
- Mechanical Dilation: In this procedure, a thin tube is inserted into the cervical opening through the vagina. Next, the doctor uses water for inflating the balloon at the catheter end, resulting in the expansion of the cervix.
- Medications: Few medicines such as Pitocin aid in initiating contractions.