Are You Overdue, and Should You Induce labor With a Prenatal Massage?
These days, health care providers aim to carry all pregnancies to term, or until 39 weeks as it’s generally known that waiting for labor to begin on its own is best for both mother and baby. Ultimately, this means that you should not perform elective labor before then. But – what if you’re already post-term (past 41 weeks of pregnancy), and you’ve decided that you’ve had enough?
Enough of being heavily-pregnant, uncomfortable, and tired – all you want to do right now is be able to see your toes again! Well, if your baby’s due date has come and gone for two weeks now, you might be able to give nature – and your tiny one – a little nudge.
What is Induction?
Put simply, to induce labor means to cause it to begin, rather than allowing your baby, or body, to initiate the process.
Why Would You Induce Labor?
Induction may be a necessity (due to some obstetric, medical, and fetal complications) or elective – performed for the convenience of the patient or her health care provider.
Given that you’re now well past your due date, your doctor may decide – after a consultation – that induction is a medical necessity when the risks of continuing the pregnancy are higher – for both you and the baby – than that of early delivery.
Problems with your health that may warrant labor induction include, but are not limited to:
- Suspected macrosomia (a significantly larger-than-average baby)
- An infection in the amniotic fluid (such as chorioamnionitis)
- Signs of fetal distress
- Decreased amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios)
- You have certain risk factors (gestational diabetes or pregnancy-induced hypertension)
But – what if your doctor decides that induction is not medically necessary? Do you have to continue waiting it out until your little one is ready?
Well, there’s always the option of an elective induction; but take note that while some doctors gladly perform elective inductions, others are vehemently opposed to the whole concept of it.
Be sure to consult with your health care provider before you make any decisions. Once an induction has begun, you cannot stop the process of labor – you’d be committed to delivering your baby in whatever way necessary.
Medical Methods of Induction
In a medically indicated induction, a doctor typically uses the following techniques and medications for labor induction:
- Stripping the membrane
Your doctor will insert their (gloved, of course) finger into your vagina and inside your cervix, sweeping and separating the membranes surrounding your baby from your uterus.
You’re likely to experience some cramping and bleeding afterward. And, it doesn’t always work – you could end up frustrated and in discomfort, with nothing to show for it.
- Artificial rupture of membranes (amniotomy)
A special hook is inserted into your cervix to create a hole in your amniotic sac. Your amniotic fluid will start to leak, and you’ll experience an increase in the production of prostaglandins – in turn, kick-starting contractions.
As you can imagine, the insertion of the hook to break your sac means there’s no going back now; if labor doesn’t begin after, another method of induction will be necessary.
- Synthetic oxytocin
Usually administered via an IV drip, synthetic oxytocin is started at a low dose and gradually increased. In typical, un-medicated labors, the release of oxytocin stimulates contractions.
Unlike the oxytocin naturally released by your brain; however, artificial oxytocin only acts on the muscles of your uterus – this means that your brain cannot release endorphins (natural painkillers) in response.
As a result, you may find the contractions extraordinarily intense and painful. It is also possible that you may experience abnormal contractions, or tearing of the uterus.
A Gentler Alternative: Prenatal Massage
But, what if you don’t want anything stuck into you when inducing labor? Is there a safer, more comfortable, and less painful method? Well, we’re glad you asked because there is: a prenatal massage (also known as the antenatal massage).
The six labor-inducing pressure points
You see: there are six acupressure points on your body that when pressure is applied, can encourage your uterus to contract; this sets off the start of labor. So – which six?
Spleen 6 (SP6) – located above the ankle; it’s about four finger-widths above your inner ankle bone.
Bladder 60 (BL60) – located on the foot; in the depression between your ankle and the Achilles tendon.
Pericardium 8 (PC8) – located in the center of your palm.
Bladder 67 (BL67) – located on the end of your pinky toe, near the edge of the nail.
Large intestine 4 (LI4) – located on the back of your hand, deep between the webbing of your thumb and pointer finger.
Bladder 32 (BL32) – located in the dimple of your buttocks, right above your intergluteal cleft.
How a prenatal massage can help induce labor
You don’t want to abuse your new-found knowledge of the various labor-inducing acupressure points by applying pressure to them any time you desire! If you don’t know what you’re doing, you may be putting both you, and your little one at significant risk of a miscarriage!
It’s best to leave the application of pressure to a specially-trained prenatal massage therapist. Typically, prenatal massages in Singapore are done carefully to avoid inducing premature labor, but upon request – a certified and well trained experienced therapist will apply certain antenatal massage techniques involving the above-stated meridian points to help an overdue pregnancy go into labor without invasive or uncomfortable medical procedures. So – what exactly will the therapist do to induce labor?
Well, in addition to applying suitable pressure to the above 6 points through gentle, stroking motions, the professional massage therapist will also focus on working out tension and knots in your body. This will regulate blood flow circulation which is vital for your baby to receive stem cells through its umbilical cord.
Imagine: a massage that relieves stress and pain, while inducing labor? What a vast difference from being stuck with a needle in your veins and having a finger probe you up to your cervix!
Ready to Induce?
So – now that you know of a better alternative to medical inductions, would you give prenatal massage a try? Of course, you should always let your doctor know if you’re planning to induce labor with a prenatal massage – this way, you can be informed of risks, if any at all, and make an informed decision as to whether you should proceed.
Read more about pregnancy and childbirth in Theraply’s other guides:
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