Can I Self Induce Labor?
If you feel as big as a house and have serious difficulties in sleeping, swollen feet that feel like a ton of bricks, cramps, pain in your back, bulging varicose veins, painful hemorrhoids, and difficulty in breathing and in moving around and constantly need to use the restroom — it’s quite understandable that you are looking for natural ways to self induce labor.
The fact is that a typical pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. Sometimes, the pregnant mother may think that inducing labor is a good idea, though the baby may feel otherwise. Inducing labor naturally is usually a safe procedure. However, as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends, you shouldn’t try to induce labor before your pregnancy has reached 40 weeks. In addition, you should never attempt self inducing labor without the full knowledge of your healthcare provider.
So, what can you do to help your body to start labor naturally? There are quite a few natural labor inducing remedies. Some are more effective and safer than others.
One of the legendary labor inducing remedy is the “Prego Pizza”. It was originally created by Skipolini’s Pizza in Clayton, California in early 1980’s. The story tells of a woman in a very advanced state of pregnancy who happened to step into this restaurant and jokingly asked for a pizza that would make her have the baby soon. The chef created a masterpiece that had six types of meat and was loaded with fresh vegetables and extra basilica and extra garlic. The deeply pregnant woman left the restaurant after eating the newly created “Prego Pizza” — and gave birth to a baby boy on that very same evening. The original newspaper article about the pizza that induced labor can be viewed here.
Basilica and oregano, which are common pizza toppings, have stimulant properties on the uterus. In aromatherapy circles, these herbs and their essential oils are to be avoided, whenever possible, during pregnancy. Thus, basilica and oregano might be behind the success of the “Prego Pizza”.
Pineapple is said to induce labor as well. Pineapple, as well as papaya and mango, contain a proteolytic enzyme called bromelain. When bromelain is consumed with meals, it assists in the digestion of proteins. When taken on an empty stomach, bromelain acts medicinally as an anti-inflammatory agent. Therefore, naturopathic medicine uses this enzyme to reduce pain and swelling.
The mechanism by which pineapple contributes to inducing labor might be the proteolytic action of bromelain. Bromelain might help to soften the connective tissue of the cervix and, thus, bring on labor. Because bromelain is destroyed in the production process of canned pineapple, you should consume only fresh pineapple flesh if you are trying to induce labor with pineapple.
If your cervix is unripe — and you are not fond of eating plenty of pineapple — you can also use prostaglandin to help soften and ripen the cervix. You can use prostaglandins directly on the cervix or you can take it orally.
Evening primrose oil is an excellent source of prostaglandins. The general recommendation is to take 3-4 primrose oil capsules (500 mg per capsule) daily. Primrose oil can also be applied directly on the cervix if your membranes are intact (and you have not been diagnosed with placenta previa). Use the oil on your fingers to apply it on the cervix. If you have difficulties to reach it, ask your partner to insert the entire capsule into your vagina just before bedtime.