Friday, June 17, 2011

Inducing labour: DIY is not much help!

A normal healthy pregnancy lasts for 40 weeks: agreed? And the last few weeks seem to go on for months, and so the temptation to "hurry things up" has probably popped into most Mums heads at some point as they struggle around the Supermarket feeling like a beached whale. And according to a study in this months issue of the Journal "Birth", just over 50% of Mums attending a US hospital have tried to do just that.

Jonathan Schaffir, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Ohio State University and lead author of the study, gave his Mums-to -be a list of of methods gathered from women 10 years previously, and which they thought might be successful, and asked them to tick which ones they might have tried.102 out of the 201 ticked a box, but they also ticked the box that said that they hadn't told their treating Doctor that they had tried something! Another interesting finding was that the majority of women got their information mainly from family and friends, and occasionally from the internet: but rarely from their Doctor.

Here's the list of suggested methods that they tried: walking, exercise, sexual intercourse, nipple stimulation, masturbation, use of laxatives, use of enemas, ingestion of spicy food, ingestion of herbal preparations, acupuncture and starvation.

Of all those, only nipple stimulation may have a basis in fact, but even if it did work, the resultant contractions can be irregular and painful and lead to more problems than positive outcomes. The reason none of these "home remedies" work, is that it is thought that the unborn baby is in charge of when labour starts! The theory goes that the babe releases a hormone that initiates the onset of labour which is then maintained by the mother's release of the hormone Oxytocin - which is also associated with nipple stimulation and lactaction.

The conclusion is that home remedies to initiate labour are still "out there", they probably don't work anyway and no-one's telling the Doctor about it! Answer:

1. For medical "things", talk to the people who have most experience, and that's probably not your mother-in-law, but your Obstetrician who has delivered thousands more babies than your much loved relation!
2. Doctors need to be empathetic towards their pregnant patients, especially in the last few weeks, and offer as much support as they can. In the end, it's in their best interests too, as the last thing they want to do is to deliver a baby to a mother who has recently swallowed a healthy swig of Castor Oil!

I wonder whether many Aussie women have tried to bring on labour with a home remedy?
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