yoga

Natural Ways to Induce Labor

(Photo by Meredith Westin Photography)

Mamas-to-be - it can be exhausting and frustrating to be facing week 41 of your pregnancy. Maybe you are wondering how you can encourage your body and your baby to begin labor. Natural induction methods are gentle enough that you won’t go into labor if your body is not ready but can help move things along at the end of your pregnancy. Always talk with your midwife or obstetrician before attempting to induce labor naturally. 

Here are some natural induction methods to help you and baby along:

 Acupuncture

Acupuncture is used in traditional Chinese Medicine. It involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points in the body to stimulate Qi, or energy. Studies have demonstrated that acupuncture is safe to use during pregnancy and research shows that acupuncture may help obtain optimal positioning, increase cervical ripening, and even shorten the length of labors. Acupuncture is one of the wellness services offered at Blooma and it can be beneficial for mom and baby in all stages of life and pregnancy. You can book an acupuncture appointment here or by calling us at (612) 223-8064.

Dates

While it is nice to go on a date with your partner late in pregnancy (for the connection and privacy of just the two of you), we are talking about a different kind of date – the sweet dried fruit that comes from a date palm tree. Several studies have looked at the effects of eating dates late in pregnancy because the Quran contains verses claiming that dates are beneficial for pregnancy. Randomized studies have found that eating dates might ripen the cervix more, lower the need for pitocin induction or augmentation during labor, increase the likelihood of having a vaginal delivery, and decrease postpartum blood loss. Dates can be great for bringing on labor, but be sure to talk with your care provider first. Dates are high in sugar, so we wouldn’t recommend making them a large part of your pregnancy nutrition. 

 Nipple Stimulation

Stimulation of the nipples releases the hormone oxytocin, which can lead to ripening of the cervix, uterine contractions, and milk production. Nipple stimulation can be an effective tool for inducing labor naturally. Studies are varied in the methods used and lengths of time for nipple stimulation, some studies used breast pumps and others used breast massage. The studies found that women were more likely to go into labor with nipple stimulation, had lower c-section rates, and decreased risk of postpartum hemorrhage. However, there have been a few case reports of hyperstimulation of the uterus, by either causing too many contractions or contractions that are too long.

 Castor Oil

Castor oil is a vegetable oil that is produced by pressing the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant. It is an herbal remedy that has been used for hundreds of years to induce labor, but it also works as a powerful laxative. Studies found that using castor oil can be an effective tool to stimulate labor as well as ripen the cervix. However, study participants in several different studies reported nausea after ingesting castor oil.  This is a popular natural induction method I see as an RN, but most women feel pretty miserable after taking castor oil. Also, there is strong evidence that taking castor oil in early pregnancy can be harmful to the developing fetus.

 Sex

Theoretically, having sexual intercourse should help to stimulate labor because human semen contains prostaglandins, which help to soften and ripen the cervix. Also, any orgasmic stimulation can increase uterine activity (whether alone or with a partner). And it’s fun, so why not? The evidence on having sex to induce labor is mixed. Some studies found no significant difference in those advised to have sex and those who were not. However, another study found sex in late pregnancy was associated with an earlier onset of labor and decreased chance of induction. Since it is safe to have sex during pregnancy and may even relieve some stress, we think this method is worth a try. Your partners can thank us later. *It is not advised to have penetrative intercourse of any kind if your water has broken.*

Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga and movement don’t necessarily induce labor, but can be beneficial for getting your body ready for labor and can even lead to a quicker delivery. Prenatal yoga poses can help your baby into the optimal position for delivery by stretching and opening the uterine and pelvic ligaments. New research has found that women who exercise during pregnancy have shorter labors and are less likely to use epidurals. Exercise during pregnancy also reduces the risk of gestational diabetes, preclampsia, and c-section. So, it's a no brainer, sign up for one of Blooma’s  yoga or barre classes today!

 The evidence has shown that these natural induction methods can associated with stimulation of labor and cervical ripening in women that are term or post-dates pregnancies. Remember to talk with your care provider before attempting to induce labor naturally. To read more about the research studies cited in this blog post, visit https://evidencebasedbirth.com.

 

Written by Beth Supple, MN, RNC-MNN

Beth is a Labor & Delivery Registered Nurse, childbirth educator, and mama of two.

 

 

 

Blooma- A Mama Thank You Note

I want to thank you for the safe and nurturing community you have created and continue to foster at Blooma.  We struggled with infertility for many years and when we surprisingly got pregnant it was equally frightening and thrilling.  I loved my prenatal yoga classes.  They became an incredibly sacred space for me - to connect with my soul and with the babe growing inside of me.  They helped me make peace with my fears.  I often tell people the best decision I made when pregnant was joining Blooma.  Once Henry arrived I could not wait to get back to Blooma.  Those first few months in BYOB (Bring Your Own Baby Yoga) were amazing.  I cried my way through the entire class my first time back.  I was filled with so much joy being able to reconnect with myself (and connect with Henry) in that space.  I also wept the day I realized we had outgrown BYOB.  He started crawling and climbing and finding his way off the mat entirely too soon!   I am not sure if hear this…  but… thank you. The space you provide for women (at so many places along the journey) is a gift on countless levels! 

Written by Katie, Blooma mama to little Henry, wife to Travis, lover of sunshine and bearing witness to the stories of others

 

To learn more about the classes at Blooma, please visit us HERE.

Starting Young: 5 Reasons Why Kids Should Be Doing Yoga

I was an active kid. I grew up playing a lot of sports that I adored, but what has stuck with me the most, are the vivid memories I have of my dad taking me to his favorite yoga class, led by a local Swami. I didn't really know what yoga was, but I loved how easy it came to me, how quiet the practice was, and how calm I felt after savasana, or in my kid brain, "glorified nap time." There was a general ease and peace that I didn't have words for at the time, but after years of teaching and studying yoga, I have a much better understanding of what was happening in that room. I was gaining lifelong tools that promoted confidence, self-care, self-inquiry, and a general sense of inner peace.

I often see students come to their mat for the first-time, later in life, due to a suggestion from a medical professional, usually for an injury. It is never too late to pick up your yoga mat, but I often find myself wondering how incredible it would be to be able to share yoga with kids, as a way to instill healthy breathing, movement, and thought patterns for a life of happiness and balance.

 

Here are the 5 reasons I think all kids should be doing yoga.

  1. 1. Healthy Breath. Children naturally breathe using their diaphragms. Unfortunately, the stress of adult life shifts us into unhealthy shallow chest breath. Teaching kids the importance of maintaining healthy breath patterns can have a lasting lifelong effect of less stress, healthier bodies, and more alert minds. There is a saying that goes, "Where the mind goes, energy flows." When we are breathing with ease, our bodies naturally relax.

 

  1. 2. Healthy Body. A body in motion stays in motion. Teaching kids at a young age how important the balance of movement, flexibility, and strength are can have a lasting impact on their lives. One of the things I love most about yoga is that you see people of all ages and backgrounds practicing. This is a sustainable practice that is gentle on the joints and can be adapted for the rest of one's life.

 

  1. 3. Connection and Community. One of the original tenets of yoga is "ahimsa," which means "do no harm to yourself or others." Yoga is a nonviolent practice, that gives a child inner resources and tools to lessen stress, but also encourages connecting with others in a positive, nonviolent way. The word "yoga" means "union" and the practice encourages us to see ourselves in others and seek ways to make the world a better place.

 

  1. 4. Self-care. Understanding the importance of taking care of oneself at a young age is crucial for a balanced life. One of my former students takes it upon herself to go to her room when she gets stressed out and meditates until her breath normalizes. She's 12 and already has tools to deal with the stressors in her life. When a child has tools to handle his or her daily stressors or frustrations, empowerment and confidence build.

 

  1. 5. Inner Resources. Childhood, especially adolescence, can be a time of shifting identities, with a lot of influence from peers. Yoga has taught me so much about myself and has instilled a sense of inner confidence. As a child, yoga gave me the time and space to explore who I am, what I like, where my limitations are, etc. Because of the reflective nature of yoga, kids have the opportunity to turn inward and learn about themselves, creating more confident, self-assured adults in the long run.

Join Meghan Foley for our "Becoming a Yogi" Series beginning January 7th. It is a great way for kids ages 9-12 to explore yoga and its benefits. Learn more here.

Meghan Foley is a 500 hour Advanced Teacher of Therapeutic Yoga, with extensive training in Yoga Therapy, Yin Yoga, Prenatal Yoga and Power Yoga. She loves sharing yoga with kids, particularly teenagers, because she believes this to be a crucial time in children's lives that can be impacted positively with yoga tools.

Five Tips for Staying Healthy Through Your Pregnancy

When most women find out they're pregnant, first comes excitement, then comes the sometimes overwhelming reality of all the changes that are to come. We want to take care of ourselves and our changing body to promote the best health for ourselves and our babies, but sometimes it’s hard to know what to do. There’s advice everywhere, and it’s often contradictory. As someone who’s delivered babies for over 20 years, here are my top 5 behaviors for keeping you (and baby) healthy through your pregnancy:

1) Eat well – We all know that pregnancy is a time when we need more calories for the development of the growing baby.  Mamas need an extra 300 calories a day. An average apple has 95 calories, a banana 105, and a ½ cup of cucumber only 8.  We also need a lot more protein than most of us usually get.  You need 2-3 servings of meat and/or legumes a day to get the recommended amount.  Eggs and peanut butter are also good sources of protein.

2)Move Your Body– Exercise is always important. It’s also a lot easier to say, than do. During pregnancy, exercise helps keep your weight healthy and safe for you and baby.  It has also been shown that women who exercise during pregnancy tend to have an easier time with labor.  Yoga can be particularly helpful, especially to maintain flexibility while building strength.  Some studies even show that women who exercise during pregnancy have babies who are healthier during their first year of life, compared to babies of women who don’t exercise.

3) Sleep – Over the course of pregnancy, this only gets harder, both because of body discomfort and the need to empty your bladder in the middle of the night.  Sleep is when our bodies rejuvenate themselves.  Things are much more tolerable when we have had plenty of sleep.

4) Find a community – It’s easy to start to feel isolated. Finding support with people going through the same thing gives you a place to get questions answered about the changes that go with pregnancy. Find a community of other mothers or mothers to be (Blooma is a great place to do this!)

5) Communicate with your partner – Pregnancy causes a lot of changes to your body and mind, and it’s easy to internalize a lot of those changes and the thoughts that go with them.  Remember that your partner wants to know what’s happening.  Together you are the base for your family, so make sure to carve out time to maintain the relationship that existed before pregnancy.

We encourage you to move your body, relax your mind, and connect with other mamas at Blooma. Learn more about our offerings here.

 

Written by Laura France, MD, FACOG, obstetrician/gynecologist, Senior Medical Director – Women and
Children’s Service Line at HealthEast. Learn more at www.healtheast.org/maternity.