Having a baby can be hard and painful, but it can also be incredibly empowering, especially if you get to see your body’s ability to give birth naturally. Natural methods of inducing, aiding, and easing contractions aren’t for everyone. But if you are in search of natural ways to help labor along and aid or ease your contractions, here are 10 easy tips to help you before, during, and after labor.
Pressure points are found throughout the body. Acupressure (not acupuncture) can be done at home by you or your partner. There are 2 pressure points that are said to stimulate contractions. They are located on your hand between the thumb and the index finger and above the inner side of the ankle bone. For your hand, pinch and rub it in a circular motion for 30 seconds to a minute at a time. Take breaks in between contractions. For your ankle, firmly press on the spot. It should feel a little sore. Rub in a circular motion until you feel a contraction. When the contraction is over, begin pressing again.
Walking is a simple method that is gentle and easy. It can be used in the last weeks of pregnancy, and after contractions have begun. Gravity and hip swaying from walking can aid in the baby moving into the pelvic area. Pressure from the baby opens the cervix more and leads to contractions. Make sure you have comfortable fitting shoes, especially if your feet are experiencing any swelling, and drink plenty of water. You’re not looking for a cardio experience; just keep a gentle, natural pace so that your baby can find a rhythm.
Cohash or Cumin
Only under the advisement and aid of a midwife or your doctor. This can be a possible option to help naturally induce labor, but it is strong. Ask your midwife after 40 weeks about using Blue and Black Cohash, in tincture form. Read more at: https://herbs.lovetoknow.com/Black_and_Blue_Cohosh_to_Induce_Labor
Some also recommend a Cumin Seed Tea:
1 T. cumin seed to one cup of boiling water, allow to steep for 5 minutes, then drink. No more than 1 cup an hour per day.
Rescue Remedy or Raspberry Leaf
A much more calm route to simply aid and soothe in a natural way for labor would be to try a rescue remedy or raspberry leaf tea. “Taking Bach rescue remedy and walnut during labor and especially in transition can help emotionally while balancing the mother,” explains Melissa Williams, a Certified Colon Hydrotherapist, and Certified Natural Health Professional (CNHP) and owner at After-Birth Services. “On the onset of labor, I drink red raspberry leaf tea, comfrey, and alfalfa to help prepare my body for birth. Mothers can continue to drink this during labor, as they feel led.”
Similar to the tip on walking, changing your position helps the baby to shift and move around to get into the right spot. Being stationary in one position can slow things down and make things more uncomfortable for a birthing mother. Listen to your body and don’t be afraid to move around to aid your baby’s movements during birth. “Different positions in labor, hands and knees, standing squat, resting on work out ball, or with leg up in standing squat can all help with labor,” states Williams.
Change the Environment
Not only is it sometimes necessary to modify your position, but it can often help if you alter where you are. Is the room too bright? Is there too much noise? Do you feel anxious or uncomfortable with the people around you? Negative factors in your environment can, sometimes, raise your stress or adrenaline levels. This can slow down the progress and process of labor. If you are able to, get some fresh air and find ways you can relax and feel emotionally comfortable.
“Water births can help labor progress, bring relaxation, help with dilation, lessen the pain of labor and provide a gentle experience for baby,” says Williams. Many birthing centers and hospitals now recognize the importance and value of water births and have installed birthing tubs in their labor rooms to aid women giving birth.
While this isn’t for after contractions have begun, it is recommended to get things going. Having sex can help with naturally inducing labor. The act of sex causes the female to release the hormone called oxytocin, which causes the uterus to contract. In addition, the male's semen contains prostaglandins that cause the muscles to contract and also helps to soften the cervix.
Same as above, this method is well-known as a natural form of induction. Used by midwives for centuries, starting with applying warm compresses, it not only stimulates the uterus during labor, it is said to be beneficial after the birth to aid in expelling the placenta and avoiding hemorrhage.
Don’t forget about the natural ways to strengthen yourself after labor. Consider having your placenta encapsulated to balance your hormones and emotions. “Having your placenta encapsulated supports the mother and the whole family. Women are balanced emotionally and have energy,” says Williams. “Ingesting the placenta helps prevent depression/baby blues, helps milk supply, encourages faster healing with less bleeding, provides hormonal support, and provides menopause support later in life.”
To learn more about placenta encapsulation and naturally balancing your body before, during, and after labor, visit: http://www.naturalafterbirth.com/services.html