Looking for methods to induce labor from home? Well strangely enough using nipple stimulation is a safe and (exceptionally low) cost method to try!
Bizarrely enough, in 1989 a patent for a device that mechanically stimulated the nipples of a pregnant woman was filled. Not my idea of fun, but if you’re anything like me, after 38 weeks pregnancy you’d give anything a go!
The science goes something like this.
Labor is stimulated naturally through the release of labor-inducing hormones in your body. These hormones are released into your blood supply and when they reach certain level, contractions will increase in rate and lead to a natural birth.
Nipple stimulation is believed to resemble breast feeding and trigger the release of oxytocin, one of the labor inducing hormones that occurs naturally.
This has been studied for years and an article in January 2011 monitored foetal heart rate, uterine activity and oxytocin levels in healthy full-term pregnant women who were in weeks 38 to 39 of pregnancy.
We need a little more information than that!
Midwives and some midwifery society have prescribed nipple stimulation because of the increase in oxytocin but medical folk will admit it’s somewhat aggressive compared with say acupressure to induce labor.
How to Induce Labor Using Nipple Stimulation
Step 1: Warm your nipples up using a damp cloth or gauze
Step 2: Gently massage your nipples using either the cloth of your fingers.
Step 3: Roll your nipples between your finger and thumb for several minutes
Step 4: Rest and repeat
The medical trials are typically very standardised, say stimulation of your nipples for one hour per day for three days consecutive days.
The key is to listen to your body. Sure you’d like to see your baby sooner but look after and listen to your body. Stop if you start to feel discomfort and be careful not to apply too much pressure.
Experiment with two to three minutes of nipple stimulation and then rest them for two to three minutes more before starting again.
The biggest downside (and something that pushed me towards acupressure) is how stimulation can lead to nipple irritation and discomfort. You might also experience some milk secretion during nipple stimulation.
This is something you might want to consider if you’re planning on breast feeding and want to avoid having sore nipples before your newborn arrives.
As you can imagine it’s quite hard to post a video on Nipple Stimulation (another reason you might want to try a different method)! And of course if you’re worried about sore nipples? Then click to find out more about Maternity Acupressure