Updated: Mar 28
Forty-one weeks. You heard that right. I was a whole 41 weeks pregnant with my 2nd child when I walked into my midwife’s office that crisp winter morning. My measurements were spot on and my baby’s heart rate was perfect. My uterus continued to be a cozy but comfy hangout spot for this little one.
At the end of the visit, my midwife gave me the option of scheduling an induction or waiting to see what happened. She was confident that we could safely continue to 42 weeks if necessary.
What? Possibly be pregnant another entire week?! No, Thank You!
My baby had already settled very low in my pelvis and had been there for weeks! I was absolutely miserable. I felt like I was carrying a bowling ball between my legs, my waddle was definitely a sight for sore eyes, and there was no way I wanted to do that for another week.
I had already turned to Dr. Google and tried getting things going on my own.
I was eating pineapple, had some spicy Thai food, and the eggplant parmesan at the famous Scalini’s Italian Restaurant and I don’t even like eggplant! (Everyone was so sad to see them go out of business during the pandemic.) And let us not forget, taking a roll in the hay with Bae, even though that was the last thing on my mind at the time.
So…we scheduled the induction.
Now before you tune out, this is not a story about how inductions are horrible and how I wish I had just waited. Stay with me.
I was instructed to come into the hospital the next evening. At that time, I didn’t know about Bishop Scores, but mine must have been on the lower side. I had to be given Cervidil, a synthetic prostaglandin, to ripen my completely closed and firm cervix before we began the actual induction process. Apparently, all of the evening primrose oil I had been taking had not produced the desired result. The plan was to begin the Pitocin that I was deathly afraid of 12 hours later. However, to my surprise, just a few hours after the Cervidil was inserted, I began to contract on my own. While It seemed like forever, it was only six hours before I had my 6lb 7oz beautiful baby girl in my arms.
I know what you’re thinking. Ok, Great! YOU had an awesome induction at the hospital. What does that have to do with me? I’m trying to AVOID a hospital induction!!! I want to know what I can do to get labor started NATURALLY!
This question comes up all too frequently in the mommy groups. I really want you to understand a few things about induction in general.
1. Whether medically indicated or not, inductions are not inherently bad, and they do not all end in c-section. All the interventions that come with your chosen method of induction are meant to facilitate a vaginal delivery.
2. Induction is still induction no matter how you slice the eggplant. Whether you choose to use natural methods to get labor started or medication, it is still an induction.
Consider these things when you start thinking about your options when it comes to induction.
All induction methods come with a level of risk. It is up to you to determine how much risk you are willing to accept, especially when an induction is not medically indicated.
Whether it’s the eggplant parmesan from your favorite Italian restaurant or your Nonna’s secret family recipe, midwife’s brew, herbs, penetrative intercourse, or Cervidil, Cytotec, Foley Bulb or Pitocin, you are attempting to induce labor. Any induction process carries risk. Talk to your care provider about the possible side effects and/or risks associated with these methods and do your own research.
Timing – Your due date is an estimated date not an expiration date. According to an article released by the March of Dimes, a healthy pregnancy lasts anywhere from 37-42 weeks.
It was once believed that if a baby was born anywhere within this 5-week period it was fine. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have learned that many important things happen to babies in those last few weeks of pregnancy, including brain and lung development, and now believe it is best for babies to remain in utero at least 39 weeks.
If you are feeling heavy, swollen, and totally over being pregnant, believe me, I know the feeling.
As physically and emotionally drained or overwhelmed as you might feel during those last few weeks, if you and your baby are healthy, use these guidelines as food for thought. Some things you hear like Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, Evening Primrose Oil, and eating Dates can be started earlier, as they do not actually start labor, but prepare the uterus/cervix for labor. Think about waiting on any activity or procedures that may produce contractions until at least 39 weeks.
As always, it is your pregnancy, your baby, and your decision. Sometimes having a doula to discuss your options can be a good way to help you come to the best decision for you and your family. Please discuss your plans with your midwife or care provider so they can be on alert if/when you are successful.
If you are looking for a doula, feel free to contact Atlanta Family Doulas for a complimentary consultation to see how you can benefit from doula support. It is never to early or too late to hire a doula to secure the support you need for your pregnancy and childbirth journey. Please be aware that it is out of the scope of practice of a doula to prescribe or administer any herbal or homeopathic remedies for pregnancy/labor support.