View Full Version : Nipple stimulation - natural induction
OK...this is related to my other Q but has anyone tried nipple stimulation to induce labour??
Did it work for you?? Did you do it at home to start things off or when you were in hospital to get labour progressing??
My middie told me this can cause baby to go into distress and should only be done under supervision. We were going to try it with DS but Dr insisted in induction due to GB Strep once my waters had broken.
The whole idea behind the nipple simulation is that it released oxytocin. this is one of the hormones that brings on your labour.
oxytocin is the 'love' hormone. it comes out when you have sex, breastfeed and also in labour. this is why nipple stimulation/foreplay can help things move along (as long as they are ready to be moved along)
there is an american midwife out there called ina may who often spoke of women who's labour would hault, and she would get her and her partner to go lie in bed and cuddle/kiss/foreplay and that brought labour back on.
you can try it at home or the hospital. maybe just try it when the midwives leave the room as they are not always that open minded.
best of luck
I tried nipple stimulation...and sex, and bumpy car rides, clary sage oil, raspberry leaf tablets, membrane sweeps and just about everything else you could possibly imagine from about 40 weeks. He still came at 42 weeks when he was good and ready. Your baby will come on time...their time and I don't think anything will shift em until they're ready. If its any consolation, my placenta was perfect and he didn't come out "overcooked" so don't stress and let the baby come when they want to.
Medical induction, with artificial hormones, is far more risky than nipple stimulation, which involves your natural hormones. If it were strongly likely that nipple stimulation could cause foetal distress, we'd have to ban women near the end of their pregnancies from having sex, "in case it gives the baby foetal distress" and we'd also have to ban them from having dinner with friends (another acitivity which causes a peak flow of oxytocin) because that might cause foetal distress too.
It's surprising to me to see concern about nipple stimulation causing foetal distress, while we are quite blithe about induction, pethidine, epidurals and attaching mothers to monitors and having them lie on beds - all acitivities that really do hold risks for the baby and are associated with causing distress. Do you know what I mean? I'm amazed that people would worry that nipple stimulation would cause distress, while in the same breath actually recommending induction. When our system is quite maverick about using these extreme medical measures routinely, it's surprising to me that they would be concerned that nipple stimulation might cause distress.
Induction is so over-used nowadays that we have a skewed idea of the length of a normal pregnancy. Some women start labour at 44-45 weeks. As long as the foetal heart rate is fine, and there is plenty of amniotic fluid, and the baby is moving, this is as safe as life gets. Sometimes there may be medical reasons to induce earlier but many inductions are done because of Failure to Wait.
There's several natural methods that can be used to give labour a gentle 'nudge', but like any induction, it works best when your body is ripe and ready and on the verge anyway, so we don't normally talk about it until around 42 weeks. Adding time to the recipe, trusting your body and being as relaxed as possible so that your hormones can flow in peak amounts, is helpful.
You can also try:
* sex. Semen contains a natural prostaglandin that ripens your cervix (like a natural version of the gel). Intimacy, orgasm and nipple stimulation all promote the release of oxytocin. Nipple stimulation is so much nicer in this natural context!
* Evening Primrose Oil contains GLA's that cause the body to produce prostaglandins. You take take it orally or insert as a pessary.
* Spirulina also has high levels of GLAs
* A strong brew of Raspberry Leaf Tea (which tones and nourishes the uterine muscle) has anectodal reputation of helping labour along. (I used it, worked for me, but how do I know what would have happened without it? IYKWIM).
* If your baby is optimally positioned in the left anterior position (front-lying, baby's back along your tum, over to the left), and if your baby is engaged (if this is #1 baby) some long walks can be helpful, especially incorporating some steps or stairs (which changes the shape of your pelvis - works nicely in labour too). If your baby is not optimally lined up, try Optimal Foetal Positiong on hands and knees, and see a Chiropractor.
* Acupressure massage can be helpful in naturally inducing labour
* Some people have had good success with a Chinese herbalist for induction
* In Melbourne, we have an acupunturist in Warrandyte (Meridian Wellness) who has a great track record for successful inductions.
* Basil is said to help. I dunno. But anyway, I tried it, I added basil to my birth tea along with the RLT.
* There's black and blue cohosh, but as with ANY method of induction, you need to google it, research it, take responsibility and find a practitioner who knows what they're talking about.
* You might have heard about Castor Oil, but I don't recommend it. Yes it gives you diarrhoea, but it could have an effect on the baby too - there's a connection between castor oil and meconium apparently, and although meconium is not a positive indicator of foetal distress, no meconium is better, right? Some bowel activity can sometimes trigger things, that's why people go for a hot curry or whatever. If it was me I would try a glass of prune juice, that's about as far as I would take this.
I think time is the most important ingredient, and state of mind. Better to wait and try gentle induction when your body is ripe and ready. Forcing your body before it's ready, with either natural or medical medicine, could well cause a cascade of further intervention.
At the moment I am just doing some thinking about what my options are and nipple stimulation I guess is just one of those options. I've just found out I have gestational diabetes so of course induction is a standard practise.
If I don't go into labour naturally before or close to my EDD then I will be under a lot of pressure to submit to another induction (I had one with DD for 11 days postdates). It's definitely not something I am blithe about seeing as last time my experience was bloody awful :no: I understand the risks of a medical induction well seeing as I experienced uterine hyperstimulation, my DD's heartrate dropping alarmingly, an unwanted epidural and a large episiotomy :( The only thing I was lucky to avoid was a c/s but it was touch and go there for a while.
From what I have read the last few days it seems that nipple stimulation is one of the things that have actually been shown to work (unlike most of the more "natural" things that are recommended to bring on labour).
Thanks again for everyone's thoughts and suggestions :) I really do appreciate it.
I tried nipple stimulation at home. I don't think it helped... It just annoyed me.. :laughing:
I also took raspberry leaf tablets, drank the tea, went for walks, bounced on an exercise ball.. I massaged my belly and pressure points on the ankles with lavendar and clary sage oils and burnt them in a burner. I took castor oil, it didn't make me go to the loo or feel sick but about 4 1/2 hrs later my water did break and my contractions started. Who's to say if it was going to happen anyway or not?... I don't know!!:o
I tried nipple stim with my last pregnancy because my blood pressure was going up I knew they were going to induce me, I wanted my induction to go smoother, so I stimulated ten minutes each side (as if a baby was feeding, some people use a breast pump) and ten mins off and in three hours of this I went from having a high hard cervix to having a favourable soft cervix that was 3cms dilated. Because of my scarily high blood pressure they broke my waters but then I went as natural as can be from there and had my baby four hours later in a very easy birth.
My first birth was hard because of fear and the unknown and loss of control, my next three were fabulous experiences, each one different, but each one I let go and relaxed my baby into the world :)
*see the baby in my av pic, she was just born, still attached and as natural as could be*
hrmm I may have gone off on my own tangent here... but you get the idea - thanks for bringing back good memories ;)
I too tried everything and the only thing that worked 'naturally' for me was a S&S performed by my Obs when I was overdue-\
all the best :)
Thanks again everyone for the comments :) DoulaRobyn that sounds very positive :yes:
MotherofPearl - I had a S&S last time with DD when I was overdue and it didn't do a thing unfortunately :( I definitely would be asking for one of those again though ahead of a potential induction.
I had a chat with my OB yesterday about nipple stimulation for induction and while he was fairly sceptical as to whether it actually works (he said is causes contractions but doesn't often lead to labour) he was very adamant that it isn't safe to do at home especially for a higher risk patient (eg someone with diabetes).
On the positive side he said he would be open to me trying it if I was being monitored but he didn't want me doing any serious attempts at home just in case baby became distressed or I got a massive contraction.
hmmm I know it has to be pretty full on!
I am still breastfeeding my 2 year old DD and due for my 2nd in 2 weeks it does nothing apart from some extra strong braxtons. I might see what the go is when I have the baby though!
I gave it a few attempts.
It's a bit borning and tediouse really:o
I gave up quickly, but it never even gave me bh.
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