You’ve been pregnant for what feels like a lifetime and you’re totally over it. You’re exhausted, bloated and beyond ready to meet that baby of yours. But, that baby seems to be in no rush to arrive. So what’s the fastest way to induce labour?
You can try your luck with natural methods and old wives’ tails to bring on labour – castor oil, anyone? No. (Please no, this has been proven dangerous and can increase your chances of a poop incident in the birth suite)! How about tweaking your nipples while eating spicy food followed by a bumpy car ride? While women claim to have had success with natural methods of speeding up labour, only your obstetrician can give you the best advice on the fastest way to induce labour. Medical ways to induce and speed up labour aren’t for everyone but they are the most reliable options and those you’ll be presented with when you hit that 41 week mark!
When can you medically induce labour?
That due date you were given when you found out you were pregnant, that’s a rough estimate. Babies usually arrive anywhere between 37 and 41 weeks. It is recommended you wait until 40 weeks before attempting to induce labour, unless your obstetrician advises otherwise.
Your obstetrician may recommend induction if there is an apparent risk to the baby or you. Depending on your stage of pregnancy and how soft your cervix is, your obstetrician will present you with options to bring on labour.
How to induce labour
When it comes to inducing labour, your obstetrician may recommend one of the following methods.
Also known as a stretch and sweep, sweeping the membranes involves your obstetrician inserting their finger into your vagina to separate the membranes from the opening of your uterus around the baby.
Breaking your waters
Been waiting for your waters to break like they do in the movies? Sometimes you need a helping hand. The artificial rupture of membranes can sometimes be enough to kick-off labour. Your obstetrician will use an instrument to rupture the amniotic sac around your baby.
A gel or pessary inserted into your vagina can encourage your cervix to dilate. The gel can also be used in conjunction with breaking your waters and oxytocin.
Oxytocin to induce labour
Once your waters have broken, your obstetrician can administer oxytocin via a drip. Oxytocin is known as one of the fastest ways to induce labour as it can bring on and increase the level of contractions. Oxytocin is found naturally (in low levels) in foods and is produced naturally in your body. Oxytocin drips are controversial in the birthing suite because they can lead to nausea and other unpleasant side effects during birth. Remember that Oxytocin is the labour inducing drip, Oxycontin is the pain killer they tend to give you after birth. With all the chaos around you, it’s easy to get those two confused!
Using a balloon catheter can cause your cervix to soften and dilate. The balloon is filled with saline and applies pressure on your cervix once inserted. When using this method, you may also need oxytocin.
Natural ways to speed up labour
If you prefer to let nature take its course, check out these natural ways to induce labour. Acupuncture is a popular natural way to speed up the birthing process and others swear by sex to bring on labour due to the levels of oxytocin in sperm.