• Due Date Arrived and Passed? 6 Ways to Naturally 'Induce' Labor

    How concerned should you be about your due date especially when you're past the mark?
    by Rachel Perez .
Due Date Arrived and Passed? 6 Ways to Naturally 'Induce' Labor
PHOTO BY iStock
  • There comes the point in your pregnancy when you're like "Let's this get over with!" You're near your due date, and you feel the heaviness and fatigue. 

    In our Facebook group, Smart Parenting Pregnancy Village, a lot of expecting moms seem eager to give birth once they reach 37 weeks, which is considered a full-term pregnancy. And those who get past the mark and even enter their 40th week, the excitement turns into worry.

    How concerned should you be about your due date especially when you're past the mark? SmartParenting.com.ph asked obstetrician-gynecologist and sonologist Dr. Maria Carla Esquivias-Chua of the MCEC Mother and Child Ob-Gyn Ultrasound and Pedia Clinic, in Kamuning, Quezon City, to explain a few things.

    How do doctors predict a pregnant woman's due date?
    Doctors use the Naegele's Rule. Instead of counting nine months forward from the woman's first day of her last menstrual period (LMP), doctors subtract three months and seven days from her LMP date. For example, if your LMP is March 20, your expected date of delivery (EDD) is December 27.

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    How accurate is the due date?
    It is not set in stone — your EDD is flexible. A pregnant woman can go into labor three weeks before her EDD or two weeks after. First-time pregnant women typically go to labor nearer their due date.

    To ease your worries, don't miss those prenatal checkups, which becomes more frequent as your due date gets nearer. Doctors do internal exams, monitor the fluids by ultrasound, and other tests deemed necessary to make sure you and your baby are still doing okay.

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    Can I ask my doctor to induce my labor?
    Patients undergo induction of labor only when fetal well-being is in danger. When the pregnant woman’s amniotic fluid is already less than the regular amount or when her amniotic sac or water bag is confirmed to be leaking but there are no labor pains yet, you need to be induced because your baby's protection against infection while inside you has been compromised.

    Other reasons to medically induce your labor are if you’re already post-term, which means nearly two weeks after your due date, or you have pregnancy complications such as uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes, etc., which may adversely affect you and your baby’s health.

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    Can I do something to start the labor process?
    Be more active during their last trimester (see below), but you also need to listen to your body. Near-term pregnant women have to monitor the frequency of the baby’s movements and if they're already having uterine contractions. Watch for signs like light spotting and feeling of wetness or fluid coming from the vagina. It can mean you're about to give birth.

    As for activities you can do to "start" the birthing process, make sure you get your ob-gyn’s go-ahead first before trying any of these activities. These will not automatically send you to the labor/delivery room. 

    1. Walking. "We ask our pregnant patients to do more walking, so the baby’s head will descend in their pelvis," Dr. Esquivias-Chua said. If your doctor allowed you to exercise while pregnant, you could continue your workouts.  

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    2. Sex. Studies have shown (and Dr. Esquivias-Chua also confirmed) that semen contains prostaglandins that can help ripen the cervix. (Read about more about pregnant sex here.)

    3. Nipple stimulation. Hours of nipple stimulation helps release oxytocin hormones and bring on the contractions, according to the book What To Expect When You’re Expecting.

    4. Evening primrose oil. While this doesn’t induce labor, it helps ripen the cervix. It’s relatively new, and only a handful of studies have been done on its efficacy. It works for some preggos, but not in others.

    5. Raspberry tea leaf. Doctors don’t typically recommend this, but some midwives in other countries do. It’s usually given to a pregnant woman who is already in labor to help the uterus work more efficiently. Preggos who aren't in labor yet but want to try it should it gradually in increasing doses.

    6. Acupressure or acupuncture. Experts in the U.S. say there are pressure points on the feet and ankles that might help move things along regarding labor. It is best and safest, however, to let a professional do it.  

    Dr. Maria Carla Esquivias-Chua holds a clinic at MCEC Mother and Child Ob-Gyne Ultrasound and Pedia Clinic located at Unit 210 Apartment 20 Building, #20 Kamuning Road, Quezon City. Call +632 506-2495 or text +63 917 634-0020 to book an appointment. She also has a clinic at Capitol Medical Center (call +632 372-3825 local 5117 or text +63 917 897-10300.

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