If you are a soon-to-be-mother, you must be waiting for your due date with a lot of anticipation. It is perfectly normal to feel that anxiety and nervousness when you are nearing the labour time. Many times, mums get so paranoid that they are ready to do anything for the baby to come out as early as possible. Sometimes, it could be the big bump that might be too uncomfortable to handle, or she might have already passed the due date with no signs of contractions or labour.
Whatever the reason is, inducing labour before the due date might be a complicated affair because many methods are matters of hearsay, and the ones that are carried out by the health professionals are done artificially, which can cause considerable discomfort to you and your baby.
So, what are the things that are commonly used to induce labour? Let us examine two of them in detail in order to understand how they might affect you.
1. Use of Castor Oil To Induce Labour
This was a very common practice in the yesteryears – to consume castor oil for inducing labour, but now, the doctors advise against it. And there are very legitimate reasons to do so (1).
- Firstly, it is a laxative and if you have frequent runs to the bathroom, it will not only be troublesome, it can lead to dehydration too.
- Dehydration can also hamper your production of breast milk.
- There are chances that your baby might inhale meconium (his first poo), leading to more complications.
- The contractions after consuming castor oil can be more intense.
- It can increase the sensation of nausea.
- It can lead to embarrassing bouts of passing gas or poo while you are pushing the baby.
Interestingly, some studies have also proven that castor oil initiating labour could very well be a myth and it really doesn’t show much effect on labour or birth timings either (2).
2. Use of Black Cohosh To Induce Labour
Using herbs to induce labour has been a practice that is centuries old. Black cohosh is one such herb that is widely popular for inducing birth. But there are chances of some serious repercussions when this herb is consumed. It might be an effective way to induce labour, but it doesn’t come without some harmful side effects, thus putting your safety at risk (3). These side effects include:
- Irritation and stomach cramps. In fact, it could even lead to an abortion in the earlier phase of pregnancy.
- Liver problems if taken in higher doses.
- Can cause blood pressure to fluctuate, which is unsafe for you and the baby.
- Palpitation and issues with your heartbeat.
- It can lead to infant heart failure.
- It can cause neurological disorders in the newborn baby.
- It can make post-partum bleeding worse.
Black cohosh is a uterine stimulant, but safe administering of the herb is very important. If the dose isn’t regulated, it can lead to fatal reactions (4).
Since there have not been adequate studies to determine the factors associated with efficiency, safety, or dosages pertaining to the use of the above components, they pose a big risk to you and your baby. In such a situation, you could try some alternative methods that are guaranteed to be safe. For example, you can request for a ‘membrane sweep’ in case you have crossed your due date. Other activities that are good pregnancy workouts and are fun to do include walking, light dancing or making love. They have a natural way of stimulating the uterus and encouraging timely labour.
So, if you are feeling restless and desperate about the new arrival, we advise you to be patient and carry on a healthy lifestyle. Everyone’s body reacts differently to pregnancy, and it is just a matter of time before you will have your baby in your arms. Till then enjoy the last phase and days of your pregnancy and remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry.