Are laxatives helpful to induce labor?
Forty weeks are up, and you are at your D-day but aren’t experiencing any contractions! Wanna speed up things? What should you do? Should you try to induce labor naturally? Now you might have heard that ‘laxatives can induce labor,’ but what are laxatives? Are they even safe to experiment with? Let’s find out!
Laxatives are stool softeners and help bowels move. Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy, and laxatives help with this issue. Laxatives are for constipation and unnecessary to induce labor, but laxatives have been said to induce labor by several women. But there are no studies to support this belief.
There are two natural and over the counter:
Chamomile Tea and Prunes are some well-known natural laxatives that loosen stools and help increase bowel movement. It provides relief from bloating and constipation cramps. Over-the-counter laxatives like Colace, Surfak, and Dulcolax work on specific issues and provide relief.
They add moisture to a stool to allow strain-free bowel movement and trigger rhythmic contractions of intestinal muscles to eliminate stool. Although laxatives are a great solution for constipation, prolonged use of these, especially stimulant laxatives, may have harmful effects on the colon, electrolyte imbalance can make constipation worse.
Are Laxatives Safe During Pregnancy?
Studies show that stimulant laxatives may cause uterine contractions, which may cause premature labor. Due to this, doctors always suggest that laxatives are only a second option, the first being dietary fiber, and mild exercise. Some studies also show that electrolyte rice laxatives may elevate blood pressure.
Use of laxatives may or may not induce labor, but prolonged use will lead to side effects such as stomach discomfort, faintness, and cramps. It is also said that stimulant laxatives such as Dulcolax or Senokot, which trigger intestinal muscles to contract, can be harmful to pregnant women.
There are many cases online where women discussed their use of laxatives to induce pregnancy. While it had worked for some, however, most women suggest waiting. Some women who have tried to induce labor earlier had seen major to minor health issues in their newborns.
Doctors usually suggest that it is best to maintain a pregnancy for as long as possible to allow the continued growth and weight gain of fetal and safely deliver the baby. Some babies may require more time to develop themselves, which can be one reason for your late delivery. The extended period of growth of fetal will ensure better brain, liver, and lung development.
Babies born early are more likely to experience difficulty in breathing, vision, hearing problems, feeding difficulties, etc.
Sometimes, your doctor might recommend inducing labor if delivery is late and has risks associated with the late delivery.
The study suggests that the following factors lead women to post-term deliveries –
- Hormonal factors
- Obesity, fatty tissues that affect the balance of hormones
- Genetic factors such as if parents who were born post-term will more likely experience post-term delivery
- Having a baby for the first time
- When does the doctor recommend inducing labor?
- In some situations, a may recommend inducing labor, although he/she will consider the risks, benefits, and necessity for such intervention
- Any health concern related to woman and baby.
- The post-term date is approaching
- Infection in the uterus
- Delayed fetal growth
- Levels of amniotic fluid are low
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease
- Blood problems due to rhesus (Rh) factor issues.
So, if you are still determined to induce labor, do consult your doctor before making any plans. And if your doctor gives you the green light, you can try out some of these methods to induce labor. You are also needed to consult the doctor regarding the way which might be suitable for your case. There is no scientific evidence backing the effectiveness of these methods; these have worked for many women around the world.
The thing you can use to induce labor
1. Usage of castor oil
women have often been known to use castor oil to induce labor. Most women who take castor oil don’t experience any issues; however, it may cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea. A study shows that pregnant women who took castor oil after the due date more often went into labor than the women who didn’t take castor oil. However, doctors don’t recommend castor oil to induce labor as it potentially makes you sick.
A study shows that regular exercise may reduce labor by about twenty minutes, although there is no evidence to prove that exercise can immediately send you into labor. Many women have attested to the fact that walking and exercise have resulted in sooner labor. Aerobic exercises are known to be ideal for most healthy pregnant women.
There is a scientific theory that backs up this belief. The theory is that the ejaculate contains prostaglandin, a kind of fatty acid used to induce labor. Seminal fluid is rich in this. Therefore an ejaculate with prostaglandin may help you to go into labor. Despite that, people who had ruptured membranes are discouraged from having intercourse. Therefore, intercourse may cause contractions but not sure if it can induce labor.
4. Nipple Stimulation
Nipple stimulation causes the release of a hormone called oxytocin. This makes muscles in the uterus contract. However, it is not sure whether it can induce labor, but there is evidence that shows that it can speed up labor and may cause severe contractions. Sometimes it may even cause fetal distress; therefore, consult a doctor about safety. Health specialists use oxytocin to induce labor. It should be used closely with a doctor as oxytocin and prostaglandin may cause excessive contractions, which would lower the baby’s oxygen supply and heart rate.
5. Foods that induce labor
you will find a list of foods that are believed to induce labor; these include pineapple and spicy oods. A study suggests that pineapple contains enzymes that break down proteins; therefore, these enzymes might soften the cervix to get your labor started.
It is said that pineapple extract makes muscles of the uterus contract. Spicy food is also known to induce labor for many women; however, this might be a coincidence as people nowadays frequently eat spicy food, and maybe it was a coincidence that your water broke while you were enjoying that hot spicy bowl.
6. Herbal supplements:
Raspberry leaf tea, blue cohosh, and evening primrose oil are believed to hurry labor, but no study supports this belief, although midwives are known to use cohosh to help women in labor. As not many studies have been made to check the productiveness of these herbal supplements, these need to be tried after consultation with a doctor as they may cause side effects and lead to health issues.
Some studies have revealed that acupuncture might help the cervix get ready for labor, and most women who tried it are satisfied with the results.
8. Membrane stripping
it is a method in which doctor uses to get labor started about a week before a week. In this method, the doctor opens the cervix and helps separate membranes. This process can help labor start, but it may also cause bleeding, cramping, and other complications, so it is practiced by a doctor and something you try at home.
Women worldwide have attested the effectiveness of these methods, although some worked for some and didn’t for others. Therefore fret not, my ladies. If your baby’s due date is coming up, you’ll go into labor no matter what. While trying these options may be safe, it always best to consult a health care specialist and wait. You might want to induce labor, but you don’t need to brink risks on yourself and your little one. So keep calm and relax. Labor will start at the time it needs to.
Antara Chowdhury is a Content Marketer and Strategist with 6 years of experience. She is Master degree holder in Journalism and wants to explore everything she can write on.