When I was pregnant with my first son, I was anxious to go into labor. I was sure I was past my due date, although I didn’t have any definitive, medical proof.
I asked my midwife whether she had any ideas for inducing my labor naturally. She suggested I take castor oil.
Now that I look back, I realize that some of the so-called natural ways to induce labor are not really natural. The idea of inducing labor is itself an “unnatural” concept. Still, if my doctor told me he or she must induce labor for the safety of my baby, I’d listen.
Choking down castor oil
I found castor oil to be very unpleasant. I felt as though it made my stomach churn for hours. I also felt nauseated. But, I did go into labor shortly after taking the castor oil. The problem was my labor seemed unnaturally long. I thought I’d give birth to my son on January 19, but the 19th slowly turned into the 20th, which turned into the 21st before he arrived. I don’t know if I endured three days of labor because of taking castor oil, but I do know I regret the moment I spooned it down.
My doctor said taking castor oil stimulates the bowels, but doesn’t have a direct affect on the uterus.
Going on a long walk
With my second pregnancy, my midwife encouraged me to take long walks to jump-start labor. Instead of going into labor, I just became extremely tired. During my actual labor, I continued to go for walks. I wanted to stay close to my home in case the baby decided to arrive. Unfortunately, my second child also took three days of laboring.
Visiting a chiropractor
I’ve heard that some women try acupuncture to induce labor. While I have never tried acupuncture, I did try my midwife’s suggestion to see a chiropractor for an adjustment during labor. The goal was to speed up the labor or move it from the early stages to the later stages. I don’t know if anyone promised that the chiropractic adjustment would ease my labor pains, but it did do just that. I felt as though I could enjoy a reprieve in the middle of my labor. The adjustment was like an oasis in the middle of a desert.
My midwife broke my bag of water, not to induce labor, but to speed it along. Hours later, I still had not given birth to my son. The doctor at the hospital also attempted to augment my labor. He gave me an injection of Pitocin or Oxytocin to speed up my labor after two days of no “success” at home. I had heard that women who are given Pitocin are more likely to have a cesarean section, uterine rupture and ask for an epidural. Fortunately, with my first son I didn’t have any of these problems.
Although I know my doctor had to give me Pitocin so I could have a chance at a vaginal birth, I do regret having an amniotomy, which is the medical term for breaking the water.
If I could do it all over, I’d skip the castor oil and not allow anyone to break my water. I’d go for very short walks. I’d have a chiropractor on call not to induce labor, but to give me an adjustment so that I’d feel less pain during labor.
While I didn’t like having the doctor speed up my labor with Pitocin, I do believe in retrospect that it was a medical necessity that allowed me to avoid a cesarean section with the birth of my first son.
More from this contributor:
Rh Factor During Pregnancy: My Complicated Birth
Brewer Diet During Pregnancy
Can I Skip Breakfast During Pregnancy?