Bringing on the Baby

by Rachael Forrest

Image: LaTrobe University

Image: LaTrobe University

We see quite a large percentage of women for labour ‘induction’ here at the clinic, probably due to the fact that we treat a lot of couples with fertility issues. It’s always lovely to see people at the other end of their ‘journey’ and about to embark on a whole new way of life. Most of us have been in the same position and are happy to dispense wisdom and advice at the same time as giving practical help in terms of either acupuncture or pregnancy massage

Unlike medical intervention, acupuncture cannot force your body to do anything. It works by re-balancing hormones which in turn relaxes the muscles in your body allowing the baby to move further down towards the cervix. Generally this is not a quick process although it depends how far down the line you are. Some women are ready to go and the acupuncture is the trigger they need to really boost things forward. With other women there is further to go and often this is a result of not finishing work early enough.

With 20 years experience helping to bring on labours, I can honestly say that it’s the people who try to stay at work until the bitter end who, generally, have a harder time. This is because your body needs a good few weeks to come down from the stress/adrenaline levels it’s used to. It takes a week, at least, to realise you no longer have to get up to go to work and another week or more to stop ploughing through the to-do list. Learn to delegate and use this precious time to relax and do quiet things. You don’t need to stay in bed or do nothing but just minimise activities which raise your heart rate and treat yourself to some ‘me’ time (you wont get that chance again for another twenty years, believe me!!). Your body needs to feel that it’s safe to give birth and it’ll only do that given peace and relaxation. Once you’re past 40 weeks and discussions about induction start it makes it more difficult to combat the stress.

We recommend women come to see us weekly from 36 weeks in order to meet the delivery date (which is, in any case, pretty arbitrary so don’t stress too much about it) and then twice a week from 40 weeks to really try to get things moving.

It’s also useful to re-record your answering machine messages to say (along the lines of). “Thank you for calling. Everything is fine and we’re not yet in labour but we will get in touch when we have news” Which means that people are kept informed but you don’t have to have the added pressure of telling them you’re not in labour yet.

Labour is not called labour for no reason. It’s hard work and pregnancy is hard work so treat yourself to a few extra weeks off pre-birth and you and your baby will really reap the benefits.