It’s one of the biggest concerns of an expecting mother… when will my baby arrive? As a due date approaches, the expectation to enter labor becomes more and more imminent. When your EDD passes, you may find that your family, friends, and coworkers are asking whether are had the baby almost daily. This is a particular concern for a mother who is hoping to have a natural labor in a hospital setting. The further you get from your due date, the closer you get to induction. These days, it is simply a reality. If you’re nearing your due date and hoping to avoid induction (or just plain ready to go!), that begs the question… Is it possible to prevent yourself from going past your due date?
Unfortunately, the answer to these questions may not be so black and white. As a midwife, I stand by the philosophy that birth is a natural process. A woman’s body cannot be forced to perform; not at home with a fridge full of pineapple, or at the hospital with a big bag full of synthetic oxytocin. There is no doubt that a pineapple pales in comparison to Pitocin, but even a medical induction, when the body is not ready to birth, will lead to difficult labors and a cascade of medical interventions. That being said, I do believe there are ways to be proactive in order to prevent medical induction. Here are three important strategies that you can utilize to encourage the onset of labor, that are often overlooked.
Walking, bouncing, dancing, tailor sitting, pelvic rocking, birth balling, stair stepping- Just move. If you find yourself sitting a lot, pick the floor or the birth ball instead of the couch. Avoid lounging throughout the day, as tempting as that can be at the end of pregnancy! If you must lean, lean forward so that the heaviest part of the baby, its bottom, rotates towards your belly button (the optimal position for baby). The more you put pressure on your cervix as your baby descends, the more your cervix will feel pressured to open up and allow that baby to come on out!
As a birthworker, I fundamentally trust that a woman’s body knows what it is doing in labor and birth. Although this is the case, our bodies may not be ready to do what they are meant to do. Activities of daily living, desk jobs, and poor posture can affect the way the spine and pelvis are aligned, thusly effecting the amount of room there is for the baby to descend. Getting an adjustment from a chiropractor, monthly visits to a cranial sacral therapist, prenatal massages, even a few acupuncture points can really help keep the body stay balanced and ready to begin its journey through labor.
One of the hardest things about the end of pregnancy is the wait. This is the perfect time to break out the relaxation techniques that you learned from your doula or childbirth educator. I encourage all mothers to embrace the stillness in the anticipation of your new baby. Utilize deep breathing, mindfulness, and positive affirmations as you enter the vast unknown of your long awaited birth journey. Nurture the moments you have with your existing family, cherish the feeling of that life force inside of your belly. When you are at peace, your body will feel safe and release any tension preventing the progress of labor.
Have you thought about how a midwife can help you achieve your desired birth?
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PHOTO CREDIT: HEARTLOVE PHOTOGRAPHY