Recently all I am hearing is ‘Oooh when is baby due? Oh try *insert random bullshit here* to bring on labour*’ or similar and it is something that really bugs me.
I have two children already, one of which is old enough to be a bit unsettled about his impending sister, despite being extremely excited, neither of which seem to sleep in their own beds for a significant period of time each night and both of which view their days as an opportunity to see who can send the other into the biggest fit of hysteria. I’ll give you a hint, neither of them manage to go as crazy as I do. So I am doing all that is humanly possible to encourage my little bundle of joy to get a shift on into the world as soon as she is ready, predominantly for a good rest on the maternity ward!
I thought I would put together a little list of the most common suggestions of how to induce labour and explain the reasons they are TOTAL rubbish. For fun.
1. ‘OOOhh you need to try pineapple!’
No. NO NO NO. Pineapple does NOT induce labour. You would have to eat your own body weight in pineapple to feel any of the effects of those ‘super helpful’ enzymes and considering I am currently about four stone (yeah, you read that right) heavier than I usually am, I have no intention of snarffling that much pineapple.
2. ‘Curry, a good hot curry will shift that baby! It worked for me!!’
Actually, I hate to tell you this, but no it didn’t work for you, because it doesn’t work. It’s a myth. Sorry to break it to you, lovely lady behind the counter at my local supermarket, but curry (or even spicy food) doesn’t bring on labour. What usually brings on labour is the subsequent peristalsis of the bowel and intestines, which cause the cervix to begin contracting because they are so closely situated in the body. In other words, unless you are prone to getting the runs after you have had a curry, it ain’t happening, and even then you’ll probably just feel rubbish for a few hours. Move along.
3. ‘You need to keep as active as possible’.
While this is true, it is not something that will ‘induce labour’. Exactly how inactive do you think most women who have a toddler or toddlers can be? I have two small boys under 4, if I get any more active I will end up making Jessica Ennis look like a slob. Oh and of course then there is the obligatory ‘Don’t over do it’ that comes with said active lifestyle… thanks…
4. ‘The birthing ball… you need the birthing ball!’
Why thank you, I haven’t got one of those. Of course I have a birthing ball! And there is a reason it is called a birthing ball, it is for birth. BIRTH. Not to encourage birth. Yes, birthing balls will help to get baby in the right position, and yes they do provide a better option for encouraging gravity to take it’s course than the oh-so-comfortbale sofa that you desperately want to curl up on because you are so heavily pregnant you are aching all over, but no, you cannot physically bounce a baby out. It isn’t happening.
5. ‘Get some raspberry leaf tea down you!’
Right, this is possibly the only one that has anything to credit it. Raspberry leaf tea is a herbal remedy that is often suggested to help shorten labour, not really induce it. Shorten it. You need to drink a good build up of it from about 36 weeks because it helps to tone the muscles of your uterus, drinking a lot in one go is not only dangerous but can cause really strong contractions that can stress out baby. I also hate when people suggest this constantly because it is something that isn’t advised for so many mums: Had a cesarian section? On iron tablets? Had vaginal bleeding throughout your pregnancy? Then don’t take it. It’s not wise and most midwives will advise you away from it.
6. ‘Oh I had lots of sex towards the end of pregnancy, it totally sent me into labour!’
Did you? Well, thanks for telling me that random stranger! Firstly, you really would have to have LOTS of sex, we’re talking 2-3 times a day, to bring on labour and the only reason it would bring on labour is because the prostaglandins in sperm can help to soft the cervix and bring it all about (see your partner isn’t totally without use at this stage of pregnancy!). Like I said, you would have to have a lot. An awful lot. Now, ask me if I look like I have the energy to have a lot of sex? More importantly, point out exactly how that is feasible when I have my own gravitational pull at this point in pregnancy.
7. ‘Take some castor oil or blue/black cohosh. It will bring you on in hours!’
No it won’t. What it will do is dehydrate you because you won’t be able to take your derrière off the toilet. Both of these things induce diarrhoea, not labour, and neither are recommended by midwives or doctors. I want to have my baby, not enjoy the afternoon pleading with my toddlers to get out of the toilet and give me a seconds peace and quiet while I enjoy more discomfort than usual.
8. ‘Oooh move the furniture about, it’s just what you need.’
Yes, and every time I touch furniture I am shouted at by various people, including random strangers who witness the event. As a pregnant woman you hear ‘keep active’, ‘move furniture’ and other such specialised advice approximately 3o seconds before you hear, ‘Put your feet up and don’t hurt yourself!’… which one exactly did you want me to do, or am I moving the furniture with my feet?
So there you go, don’t say grumpy, pregnant women can’t myth bust. And just so you know, I’ve eaten an incredibly spicy stir fry this evening, wrestled two toddlers out of the bath and into bed and I have spent the last 3 hours sat on my birthing ball while writing for the blog. Guess what? I’m STILL pregnant.
And no, sex won’t help tonight.