Okay, time for some more tips on getting the baby out.
Stripping Membranes- This is when the doctor takes their finger and manually separates the cervix from the membranes or bag of waters. This releases prostoglandins which gives YOU contractions. This is a great procedure, I've heard it's painful sometimes, but it's really short. Some people even call it "sweeping" the membranes because it should just be a quick "sweep" of the finger. It, like many other techniques, won't put you into labor unless you are ready, but if you are close it can throw you over the edge. And if nothing else, contractions are the only way to progress, so most people will at least have enough contractions to dilate or efface a little bit more. My doctor will strip the membranes at 37 weeks, which is 2 weeks earlier than they can induce at my hospital. So personally, if I ever were to make it to 37 weeks which I haven't, I would ask the doctor to start stripping my membranes at my weekly appointments, it can be done multiple times. And many people (commenter Amber included) have their baby in their arms within hours of membrane stripping, so it's worth a shot if you're ready for that baby.
Castor Oil- Not to be confused with Castrol Oil, which would be a very bad thing to drink. Castor oil is essentially a laxative, but it has been theorized to have much better results than a regular laxative at inducing labor. Castor Oil has a similar effect, only maximized, to that of eating spicy foods. As it stirs things up in your bowels, it frequently causes contractions of the uterus. There are a few problems with Castor Oil. First of all it does give you diarrhea. That's the whole point. If you aren't okay with that, don't take it. Or I should say if you think diarrhea is worse than pregnancy, don't take it. Personally, I'd rather have a day of diarrhea than another week of pregnancy. Also, it is OIL. It is pretty tough to guzzle oil. I wouldn't recommend taking any less than 2 oz of Castor Oil if you are looking to go into labor. I'd start with 2 oz, and if that doesn't work, I'd go for 4 oz. Yes, that is the whole bottle. Two tablespoons will get you nowhere. My personal recommendation (which comes only from watching people drink it, not drinking it myself) is to drink the whole thing at once, and chase it down with something that will really clean the oil out of your mouth. Orange juice, root beer, whatever. If you notice yourself gagging, keep things going down. My Mother's rule is that if things are going down, they aren't coming up. It seems obvious enough, but don't forget it. Having a cookie or some bread to chew up and soak up the oil will help too. I believe in Castor Oil. I've never needed it, but I bought a bottle years ago, and I keep it on hand in case anyone I know needs it. It can be found at any grocery store probably by the laxatives.
Intercourse- Oh isn't that the most pleasant thought when there is already a baby's head in between your legs, and feet in your ribs? But it is one of the best proven tools for starting labor on your own. It's so effective for me in fact, that my doctor puts me on pelvic rest for most of my pregnancy to keep my babies in. There are a multitude of reasons for this working. 1. Semen has prostoglandins in it, essentially it is just like the stuff that they use to induce you
at the hospital. Prostoglandin leads to an increase in oxytocin receptor populations. An increase in oxytocin in your body is just like sticking an IV of Pitocin into your body, only maybe in smaller amounts. 2. The irritation can stir up some contractions. 3. Orgasms release oxytocin as well. It is frequently said that you get the baby out of you the same way you got that baby in you. But maybe it was a man that came up with that. :)
Movement- It is up to you to determine what causes your contractions. Some people don't contract at all until they are in labor. For me, I can cause some great contractions from sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming. Whatever causes those contractions, keep doing it. Especially if you've already got some contractions from some other self-induction technique. You'll want to keep those contractions going, but you have to keep moving. My strict orders for stopping my pre-term contractions are to drink some water, take a bath, and lay down on my side. So if you want to keep contractions coming.... don't do those things!
With all this said, please don't do anything stupid. If you feel nervous about anything, don't do it. Don't try to get the baby out before 37 weeks, it's not worth it. This isn't for everyone. But for those who are just desperate to get that baby out ASAP, these are some great tips, all time tested by a whole lot of women.
Next post coming up will be an open forum with advice on what to pack in the hospital bag. Be thinking, and check back for that post soon.