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Nipple stimulation can be used to induce labor. While the nipples are stimulated the body produces the hormone oxytocin which causes the uterus to contract. Place the nipple between your thumb and forefinger and "roll" it around for about 20 minutes several times a day. Or you can have someone to "suckle" the nipple much the way a baby would while nursing. Be advised not to try this without the advice and help of your midwife or physican.
There are several methods of labor inductions both medically and naturally. Medically speaking there are the application of prostaglandin gel to the cervix, Pitocin IV drip, stripping of the membranes and breaking of the bag of waters. Naturally speaking there are herbs to help bring labor on, nipple stimulation, intercourse and exercise. If labor needs to be augmented (induced) find out all you can about the above mentioned methods.
Stripping the membranes in a pregnant woman means that her doctor will strip away the membranes from the cervix just inside the uterus. This is done to help bring on labor. The doctor does this with her fingers. Usually after stripping the membranes, the cervix will dilate and efface and the uterus will start contracting. This may take a couple of days to work.
There are a number of herbs that can be taken to help to naturally induce labor. Of these are black and blue cohosh, borage oil, castor oil, evening primrose oil, goldenseal, mugwort, and yarrow. All of these are uterine stimulates and help to bring on contractions. Evening primrose oil can also be applied directly to the cervix to help to dilate and efface (or thin out) it. Do not try any of these without the advise and help of your midwife or physican.
Exercise such as walking can help to bring labor on. Walking helps the uterus to contract. Swinging in a swing may induce labor too. The motion and gravity helps to move things along in getting labor started. Though for some women it may not work - usually if the woman's body is ready for labor anyway - exercise will help it along a little faster.
Having intercourse can be a method of natural labor induction. Semen contains prostaglandins which help to efface (thin out) and dilate the cervix. Orgasm causes the uterus to contract. It's not a given that intercourse will bring on labor - but for women who are ready anyway - it very well could do the trick.
Prostaglandin gel is used when labor needs to be augmented or induced. The gel is applied by a doctor or a nurse directly onto the cervix. The hope is that the gel will help to efface (thin out) and dilate the cervix. The cervix must be 100% effaced and dilated to 10 cm in order for the birth to take place.
Pitocin is a synthetic hormone just like the hormone oxytocin that a woman's body produces. The hormone helps the uterus to contract. Pitocin is given to women who need help with bringing on labor. Pitocin is given in an IV and the laboring mom is carefully monitored. Pitocin causes the uterus to have strong contractions in hopes of bringing on true labor and eventually birth.
A doctor will break the bag of waters if labor has begun and the cervix is at least 2 to 3 cm dilated. The doctor takes an amniotic hook and punctures the bag of waters. This will usually help to finish dilating and effacing the cervix as well as bring on the strong contractions needed to push the baby out.