Warm Bath to Induce Labor & Other Tips
Once you’ve reached the end of your third trimester and you’re ready to give birth, but your baby is reluctant to come out, you may find yourself desperate to induce labor at home.
There are several things you can try to induce labor at home, although none of them are guaranteed to be effective at jumpstarting labor, and you should always check with your healthcare provider before trying any method to induce labor at home.
Before we jump into different ways to induce labor, one of the most natural ways to induce labor is to use a warm bath. Taking a warm bath to induce labor allows your body to relax, which sometimes is all your body needs in order to be able to go into labor.
Before you jump into your bathtub, it’s important to note that your body temperature should never be above 101 degrees Fahrenheit after spending 10 minutes in the water.
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Benefits of Taking a Warm Bath While Pregnant
There are several benefits to taking a warm bath while pregnant. First, water immersion can help you have a shorter labor. Allowing your body to relax in the beginning can have long-term positive effects on your upcoming labor and delivery.
Water immersion can reduce your need for an epidural. If you’re trying to have a natural birth or even a water birth, and you want to avoid an epidural, using a warm bath to induce labor may help you avoid having a medicated birth.
Another benefit of water immersion is that it can help ripen your cervix and encourage oxytocin release. As your body prepares to give birth, your cervix will begin to soften and open up for your baby to pass through the birth canal. A warm bath can also stimulate the release of oxytocin.
Before adding Epsom salts to a warm bath, you’ll want to talk to your care provider and make sure you’re pregnancy is in good standing. Adding Epsom salts can help you relax, which can help your body go into labor.
Reasons to Avoid Baths During Early Labor
Now, even though there are some really great benefits to taking a warm bath to induce labor, there are also some important things to keep in mind.
If you have an epidural or you’ve had medication for sedation, you should 100% avoid taking a bath while laboring. Taking a bath can become incredibly dangerous if you’re unable to be in control of your body.
I know this from experience because I was considered high-risk and I wanted to labor in the shower. There are fetal heart rate monitors that you can use in water, but they won’t stay on well. I had fantastic nurses, but after a while, it became far more of a hassle and disturbance to my labor trying to keep a fetal monitor on than it was worth. So, if you can’t have a fetal heart monitor on, avoid taking a bath (or shower).
If you’re having preterm labor, you should avoid taking a bath. You may not know it, but your water may have already broke and this can become dangerous for your baby. Until you’ve been cleared by a healthcare professional to take a bath, don’t do it.
If you currently have an infection that can be transmitted by blood to your baby, you should avoid taking a bath. If you think it’s something minor that shouldn’t be an issue, consult your healthcare provider.
This is the “any other noticeable complication” part of the post. If you notice anything off, you should never take a warm bath to induce labor.
Other Ways to Induce Labor Naturally
There’s no way to know if having sex to induce labor actually works, but it’s worth a try. Now being honest, having sex is probably not going to be an easy task at this point in your pregnancy as you likely have a small basketball attached to your abdomen.
But, your partner’s semen contains prostaglandins, which can help ripen the cervix. Also, when your body pulses during an orgasm, this is actually your uterus contracting. This may also help to induce labor. One thing to note is that you should not have sex if your water has broken.
Some people won’t even give a second thought to chiropractic care, but for some, it’s a gamechanger. Chiropractic care can help align your spine, which sometimes is all your baby needs to move down into the birth canal easier. I can personally say that I had chiropractic care during my pregnancies and the birth when I had visited the chiropractor the week prior was super easy.
Walk, Walk, Walk
It may be uncomfortable, but one of the best things you can do when you’re trying to go into labor is to WALK and keep moving. Some people like to swim, some like to do jumping jacks in hopes that gravity will help bring the baby down. Regardless of what activity you choose, get up and get moving!
Eat Something Spicy
Some people swear that eating spicy food is what caused them to go into labor. There is no evidence to prove this, but here is what I can tell you. Sometimes, the spice in your food can cause your digestive tract to contract. Give the closeness of your digestive system to your uterus, sometimes having the stomach contract can cause your uterus to begin to contract.
So, if there’s a food that you’ve been dying to eat but you’ve been holding off, now may be the time to give it a try!
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Another way to try to induce labor at home is to drink red raspberry leaf tea. Some people can’t stomach the flavor, while others don’t mind it. This method is simple in that all you do is make and drink the tea. Here is more information on drinking red raspberry leaf tea to induce labor.
Nipple stimulation is exactly what it sounds like. When your baby suckles at the breast, this stimulates contractions. If you’re breastfeeding, you’ll quickly notice that when you breastfeed your new baby, your uterus contracts. At that point, this will all make total sense.
A few things to note. Don’t stimulate the nipple during a contraction, you should only do one nipple at a time, and if your contractions start to get closer together, take a break. Do not use nipple stimulation when your contractions become 3 minutes apart or last 1 minute. As with any tips shared here, always run your ideas by your healthcare provider first!
Get a Massage
Having a prenatal massage is AMAZING and I highly recommend you get one as long as your doctor gives the all-clear. But, did you know there is a massage therapist who is trained to give massages that could actually help you go into labor? It *may* not be an incredibly relaxing massage, but when you’re desperate to jumpstart labor, this may be a great option to naturally start labor.
Get Your Membranes Stripped
For this procedure, your care provider will first do a vaginal exam and make sure that you’ve made progress in dilation and effacement. Then, they’ll slide their fingers around the amniotic sac and the uterus, trying to separate it from the uterine wall. This procedure can tell your body that it’s time to begin labor. Be aware that having your membranes stripped can cause some light bleeding. If you’re concerned about the amount of bleeding, you should call your care provider immediately.
More Helpful Birthing Tips
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