Most deliveries occur between the 37th and 40th week of pregnancy. In fact, from week 36 the baby can arrive at any time since all her organs and systems are formed and function well. At that stage, his immune system is maturing to fight the infections that await him outside the womb, and his bones have become strong enough. In fact, it is likely that the baby is already positioned with his head on the pelvis waiting for the most appropriate moment to be born.
This moment usually comes naturally, but there are times when it can last up to 42 weeks, when doctors intervene and cause labor artificially to avoid health complications in both the mother and the baby. Although the best option is usually to let nature take its course and/or rely on the judgment of specialists, there are some simple tricks to facilitate dilation and speed up labor safely and without risks that you can put into practice between the 38th and 40th week of pregnancy.
5 remedies to advance labor naturally and without risks
One of the natural tricks used by grandmothers to speed up labor was to consume spices and spicy foods. Although science has not proven its effectiveness, it is believed that the spicy stimulates the intestinal movement and, with it, the contractions that are the prelude to childbirth are advanced. In any case, since spicy food also increases the risk of hemorrhoids and can cause heartburn, these are other tricks that can also be useful.
1. Walk daily
Did you know that walking at a moderate pace for at least 30 minutes three times a week can help you bring your labor forward? This was confirmed by a study carried out at the Santa María de Lisboa University Hospital in which it was found that walking from the 38th week of pregnancy not only promotes natural and spontaneous childbirth but also reduces the chances of surgical intervention during this procedure.
This is because when you are moving, the diameter of the birth canal increases and the pelvic muscles relax, while the baby descends and is positioned correctly in the birth canal. Of course, it is important not to overdo physical exercise to prevent injuries, avoid exhaustion and control the production of adrenaline, a hormone that can delay childbirth.
2. Stimulate the nipples
Another of the natural tricks to advance the time of delivery is to stimulate the nipples, in fact, it is a technique that is also used to cause labor. Its effectiveness is due to the fact that when the nipples are stimulated, oxytocin is released, a hormone that women secrete naturally and that, in addition to accelerating the dilation of the cervix, induces labor.
You can stimulate your nipples in different ways, either by rubbing them with the palm of your hand and then slightly stretching them, rubbing them with your fingertips, or using a breast pump. The idea is to simulate the sucking of the baby when feeding. For best results, settle into a relaxed position and massage for 10-15 minutes on both breasts 1-3 times a day.
3. Take soaking baths in lukewarm water
Soaking in warm water not only helps to clear your mind and relax your body, it also helps to bring your labor forward naturally. This is because warm water increases the production of endorphins, while reducing tension and facilitating muscle relaxation of the pelvic muscles. In addition, it is an excellent exercise to improve blood circulation and fetal oxygenation, while lowering blood pressure, reducing the risk of complications during childbirth.
It is also a good practice to reduce the discomfort of the last stage of pregnancy and relieve the pain of contractions. This was demonstrated by an investigation involving 108 women, of which a group took an immersion bath for about 60 minutes. When comparing the effects of bathing with an experimental group, women who had bathed were more relaxed and felt less pain compared to those who had not.
4. Have sex regularly
A widespread myth states that during the last weeks of pregnancy you should not have sexual intercourse as it could affect the baby, but the truth is that, unless you have a delicate pregnancy, this practice is not only safe but also beneficial. Having sexual intercourse during the last weeks of pregnancy is one of the best methods to advance labor in a natural and pleasant way.
This is because sexual activity mechanically stimulates the cervix and promotes dilation. In addition, semen contains large amounts of prostaglandins, which play a very important role in childbirth as they favor the maturation of the cervix and trigger the contractions that start labor. It is worth noting that if you do not feel comfortable having sexual relations at this stage, you can always resort to the stimulation of the erogenous zones and erotic games.
5. Practice yoga and/or Pilates
The benefits of yoga and/or Pilates for childbirth are undeniable. Practicing these exercises strengthens the pelvic floor muscles, improves the elasticity and control of the vaginal muscles, provides greater flexibility to the abdominal area and strengthens the legs, which helps you to better support the weight gain during pregnancy. Its practice also helps to relax tensions, reduces blood pressure and improves blood circulation, preparing the woman’s body for this moment.
However, some exercises, such as Pilates ball moves, are known to be excellent for helping the baby get into the correct position in the birth canal. They also facilitate canal dilation and stimulate the onset of contractions. Of course, it is important to bear in mind that not all exercise is worth it, that is why it is recommended to consult a specialist in yoga and/or Pilates for pregnant women who will guide you in the best exercises and postures during this stage.