If you’re at the end of week 40, 41 or (or even 42 for some) and you’re feeling ready to bring your baby earthside, fair enough. While pregnancy is a beautiful time, it’s also an exceptionally taxing time for the female body. You’ve done an incredible job.

Curious about ways to encourage your baby to relinquish their rental in your uterus? Let’s explore. To preface for safety reasons, prior to actioning the suggestions below, run it past your obstetrician, midwife or your GP. Pregnancy is not a ‘one size fits all’ situation.

  • Go on an easy paced, long walk to get your body moving. Bring your phone just in case.
  • Have you heard of gutter walking? Gutter walking is walking while having one foot on the gutter (or the curb), and one foot on the flat pavement. This uneven style of walking is thought to encourage the pelvis to open, prompting the baby’s head to descend. As the baby’s head deepens into the pelvis, more pressure is placed on the cervix, causing dilation. 5 to 10 minutes of this style of walking is fine.
  • Gentle bouncing on an exercise ball can help your baby descend and engage in the pelvis.
  • Try to boost your oxytocin levels (oxytocin is the hormone that makes the uterus contract) via nipple stimulation, hand expressing (you can capture any colostrum using a syringe and freeze it to give to your baby after birth) or having sex. How does sex help? There are three possible ways. (i) An orgasm can cause uterine contractions, (ii) sexual activity can trigger the release of oxytocin and; (iii) semen may help to soften or ripen the cervix.
  • On the topic of softening and ripening the cervix, snacking on medjool dates or spicy food can also help in this department. Alternatively sipping on raspberry leaf tea may help stimulate uterine activity and induce contractions.
  • You could look into acupuncture, acupressure or massage with a licensed professional. Acupuncture is a natural way to help soften the cervix, stimulate uterine contractions and relax the birthing person to encourage the natural onset of labour. A similar theory applies to acupressure and particular types of massage.
  • Organise a ‘Stretch and Sweep’ (aka A Membrane Sweep) with your midwife or obstetrician. A stretch and sweep is when two gloved fingers are inserted into your vagina and through your cervix to check the dilation of your cervix. The stretch aspect refers to the process of stretching the cervix to check if it’s open. If it is open, the sweep can then occur. The sweep refers to ‘sweeping’ or separating the membranes from the cervix, stimulating the release of hormones known as prostaglandins. Prostaglandins help naturally induce labour by dilating the cervix.

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