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Overdue Pregnancy? Induce Labor Naturally

Updated on August 31, 2013
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It's been nine long months and you are finally nearing the end of your childbirth journey. But while you are anxious for the birth day to arrive, your little one seems to have plans of his or her own. Unfortunately, modern science has provided no miracle meal or treatment that is guaranteed to bring about labor. Never fear. As long as old wives continue to tell tales there will be those who swear by home remedies to bring about the start of labor safely and effectively.

A normal, healthy pregnancy lasts from 37 to 41 weeks. Babies born during this time are considered full-term. A baby born before the 37th week of pregnancy is called preterm or premature. If your pregnancy lasts past the end of the 41st week, it is called a post-term pregnancy. In other words, the baby is overdue.

An overdue pregnancy can be stressful for both mother and baby.
An overdue pregnancy can be stressful for both mother and baby. | Source

An overdue pregnancy can be highly stressful, leaving the mother-to-be anxiously waiting. As you get further and further beyond your due date there may also be health risk to the unborn child. For instance, the placenta (which grows inside the uterus and keeps the baby alive inside the body) continues to age and may begin to slow down or stop the baby's growth. If the placenta continues to do its job, the baby may then grow too big, making your upcoming labor a harder and longer experience.

Induce Labor Naturally: A Word of Caution

There are no self induction methods that have been consistently proven to be safe and effective. Before engaging in any kind of natural induction activity it is there are a few simple rules you should follow. These are:

1. Clear it with your physician, midwife, or other healthcare provider. This is particularly important if you have preexisting medical conditions. Your healthcare provider is the only one abreast of your individual healthcare needs, potential complications, etc.

2. Be informed. Research is ever changing. It is, therefore, important that you do your research and seek out the latest information regarding any method you may use to induce labor naturally.

3. Weigh the pros and cons. You may be anxious for your little one to come into this world but some forms of induction may be accompanied by side effects and risks that are just not worth it. Be realistic in your expectations and never try anything that will place you or your child in significant risk for complications.

Foods That Induce Labor Naturally

It’s a popular theory, but is there really any proof that certain foods can bring on labor? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Still, even in the absence of scientific evidence, many swear that the ingestion of certain foods spurred their little one into prompt action.

Spicy Foods: Though there is no direct connection between the stomach and the uterus, spicy foods are described by many as being the answer to their lack of labor woes. It is believed that these types of foods gently irritate the intestines and cause the uterus to contract. Unfortunately, modern science suggests that this particular method of induction is more likely to result in heart burn than labor.

Castor Oil: Surprisingly, there are some childbirth experts who believe that taking a small amount of castor oil after the 38th week of pregnancy may indirectly affect the uterus. Castor oil stimulates the bowels which are in close proximity to the uterus during pregnancy. This stimulation is said to encourage the body to begin the labor process. Be forewarned, however, castor oil can cause diarrhea that can then lead to dehydration.

Cohosh: Few studies have been down regarding cohosh and labor, however, there are some who believe the herb can effectively bring about labor when used correctly. Most doctors do not recommend it as too little is known at this time regarding any side effects or other health concerns.

Evening Primrose Oil: This oil is said to contain substances that the body changes into prostaglandins. These prostaglandins soften the cervix in preparation for later. Further study is needed regarding the effective of evening primrose oil for inducing labor.

Pineapple - To induce labor with pineapple it is said that it must be fresh. According to this popular therory, using pineapple to induce labor works because the fruit contains and enzyme called bromelain that works much like prostaglandin to soften the cervix.

Raspberry leaf tea - Induce labor with Raspberry leaves by taking it by tablet or consuming raspberry leaf tea. This particular tea is believed to stimulate the uterus and encourage labor.


© 2013 LQWILLIams

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    • holly-turner profile image

      Holly Turner 

      5 years ago from Falmouth

      Worth noting that France has added another month to their pregnancy length, meaning that a French baby isn't overdue until 42 weeks. Mothers shouldn't focus on their due date as though it's a "best before" date

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