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Cynthia FlynnNatural Induction Methods
by Cynthia Flynn, CNM, Ph.D.

Q. I am 40 weeks and three days pregnant with my first baby. I saw my consultant on Tuesday who said the baby is at -1 station but I do not know whether I am dilated at all. I saw a midwife at the local Birth Centre who said I was not dilated at all but that my cervix was softening. I am booked in for an induction, however, I want to avoid this if possible as I really want a natural water birth and if I have to be induced, this willnot be possible. I have tried walking, raspberry leaf tea and sex but none of these have worked. Do you have any suggestions?

A. It is your body, your baby and your birth. It is your decision whether to be induced or not. That said, it is true that at some point, the risks of continuing the pregnancy outweigh the risks of induction. Providers disagree about when that point is, but most birth centers I am familiar with use the 42 weeks guideline, and suggest a hospital birth after that.

First babies are born at an average of 40 weeks plus five days according to the last study I saw, so doing nothing may do the trick! The only other things I offer my own clients that you are not already doing are nipple stimulation (try to get colostrum out, 15 minutes per side, three times per day) or other herbs and evening primrose oil. You should speak with your providers before trying any of these, though, because they may not be appropriate in your case, and may have their own risks.

When induction does become appropriate, I like to remind myself and my clients of my priorities:

  1. a safe mother and baby
  2. a vaginal delivery
  3. whatever they want.

Having a nice water birth would not be any fun if you and the baby weren't safe. And staying at a birth center past the time when the chance for a vaginal delivery is lost is also not good practice. Fortunately, most of the time, all three priorities can be met. I wish you all the best in achieving your goals.

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