Before You Induce Labor—Understanding Your “Due Date”

by Oct 11, 2018

About the Author

Dr. Jeanne Sandheinrich, D.C.

Dr. Jeanne Sandheinrich, D.C. is co-founder and an esteemed chiropractor at First Step Family Wellness. As a St. Louis native, she has a deep connection to her community and is passionate about providing exceptional care to her clients.

Induce or Wait for Nature?

This may not seem like it’s a choice that the mother can make, but it is, and the right choice is always to wait. Due dates have proven to be notoriously inaccurate, and according to Dr. Vern Katz, et al., they should be eliminated entirely.

Dr. Katz and her colleagues from the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, Oregon, reported that the calculations used to set a woman’s “due date” based upon her menstrual periods is “flawed”. The use of an estimated gestational period to determine the best care for the patient is causing confusion and the patient does not treat this date as an estimate. She, and her entire family, considers that date a very specific point in time that they are looking forward to quite anxiously.

As the “due date” approaches, if there have been no signs of labor, the mother begins to grow anxious and distressed. This typically leads to a recommendation by her OB/GYN to induce delivery, usually leading to further interventions in birth. The problem with this is that intervention in the delivery process frequently leads to trauma for both the mother and the baby.

Dr. Katz and her colleagues conclude that doctors should expand the concept of a due date to a “due week” and, in this way, “allow biology [or nature] to take it’s a course a bit more”.

Baby Too Big for My Body?

At this point, your baby is no longer growing bone density wise. Baby is only getting pudgier, and fat can squeeze through tight places. Your baby is not too big for your body to deliver, regardless of the size of your pelvis. Receiving Webster technique chiropractic care throughout pregnancy allows your body and baby to be in the optimal position for vaginal childbirth.

The average gestational time for an unmedicated, first time mother is 41 weeks and 3 days. Some babies come before, and some come after. If the fluids are still safe, the placenta will remain intact and able to give nutrients to your baby.

44 Weeks—A Personal Testimony

Dr. Jana Flora, Doctor of Chiropractic at 1st Step Family Wellness in St. Louis, safely delivered her second child, Miles, at home after a 43+ week pregnancy.

“With my first born at 40 and 3, I never expected to go 43 and 6 with my second. But both my formal education and my spiritual beliefs kept me grounded in those long final weeks with the understanding that my body has an innate intelligence that supersedes any guideline or expectation. And with the expert care of my homebirth midwife, my baby and I were blessed to experience the beauty and intensity of natural childbirth.”

Check back for her full birth story in a future post, or ask her yourself next time you are in the office.

Natural Ways to Induce Labor from Home

If the care provider you’ve chosen is not comfortable waiting for your body to go into labor naturally, and wants to induce labor, know that you have the power to change providers at any time during your pregnancy. There are OB/GYNs and midwives out there that understand and respect the natural birth process, and will not push to induce labor. Often, it is the labor facility’s policies that restrict even the most well-intentioned doctors from supporting a woman’s natural birth plan. Contact our office for a list of local, natural-minded care providers.

If you are comfortable with your care provider and facility and are aware of the risks of a medical induction, but are in a situation where you want to avoid an immanent medical induction, you can find a list below of natural ways to promote labor from home.

As mothers ourselves, we understand the emotional stress that can occur in those last weeks of waiting and wondering “when will I hold my baby,” but be encouraged that you are not alone, we have been there too. So we understand women asking, “What triggers the start of labor?”

Remember, your baby cannot stay inside you forever, so your body will inevitably kick into labor naturally if you’re not induced. These natural, at-home options will support your body’s innate timing for labor and delivery without the potentially harmful side effects of inducing labor.

How Can I Induce Labor Naturally?

  • More frequent Webster Technique chiropractic adjustments
  • Lengthy walks of 30 minutes to several hours duration
  • Acupressure at Spleen 6 (a point located four finger widths above the inner ankle bone) maintain pressure for 10-15 seconds for 3 repetitions. Repeat as often as possible. This helps to dilate the cervix.
  • Drink A LOT of Water
  • Increase intake of good fats—wild caught fish, avocados, etc.
  • Nipple Stimulation- You can use fingers or a breast milk pump, which cause the release of oxytocin.
  • Sex- Sperm contains prostaglandins and can work in the same way as prostaglandin gel. Make sure to have your husband ejaculate inside you and lie there for 30 minutes. Although the prostaglandin is less concentrated in the semen, frequent sex is reputed to help.
  • Orgasms create a uterine contraction.
  • Evening Primrose Oil- can be started after 36 weeks. Take one capsule orally in the morning and insert 1 capsule vaginally in the evening. Helps to ripen the cervix.
  • Clary Sage Essential Oil—can be started after 39 weeks. Using only therapeutic grade essential oil (Young Living or DoTerra) apply several drops topically and massage the oil upward along the inside of the ankle up along the calf muscle. You can do this several times a day.
  • Pelvic Tilts- Do 100 pelvic tilts per day.
  • Walk up the stairs sideways
  • Scrub the floor on hands and knees
  • Suck your thumb
  • Eat ripe young pineapple
  • Drink red raspberry leaf tea
  • Turn off the TV- Nothing frightening should be watched since your animal instincts naturally take over telling the baby to stay where it is safe.
  • Dim the lighting in your home—Think about being in a cave or other dark spaces where most other mammals can focus, relax and birth their babies.
  • Share a bottle of wine with a friend–relax
  • Borage Oil- rub on the cervix— causes ripening of the cervix
  • Castor Oil- This is a traditional treatment, although revolting to the palate, it does sometimes start labor for women. 1st Dose- 2 oz castor oil in 1 part vanilla ice cream, 1 part orange concentrate. If after 2 hours there is no bowel movement, do another dose. This can cause nausea and vomiting—make sure you are well hydrated.

Stand strong about denying a medical induction. You are ultimately in charge of your body, and you do have a choice about what happens. Your body was perfectly designed to birth your baby! You can do this!

Still have questions, or feel like you need help? Call us at 314-805-7837.