Labor is always unpredictable. Most women go through labor on their own when they reach their due date of baby delivery. In the labor room, mothers will be lying or walking or sitting alone as they wait for labor and feel the pain of labor. At times, there are mothers that their labor is progressing very slowly. A slow and stalling labor can increase the risk and likelihood for the need for medical intervention such as cesarean delivery. There are also times that a mother develops a specific condition such as hypertension, cholestasis and skin rashes that leads to slow labor pains. In most cases, labor needs to be induced. This article will be sharing with you different ways on how to speed up labor during pregnancy.
How long does it take for normal labor?
The average normal and first stage of labor for first-born babies is at eight hours. Sometimes labor can be shorter or longer. But for mothers that deliver babies for the second time and onwards, they shall expect a shorter time of labor in an average of five hours. However, there are cases that more than five hours but it is unlikely to last for more than 12 hours.
Fast labor can be physically and emotionally challenging, while slow labor can cause too much exhaustion by you and your baby.
When does labor during pregnancy ideally happen?
Labor pains will happen after 37 weeks as the fetus achieve the level of maturity. Although mothers start to feel the tightening of their womb after the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy, it is not as intense with the laboring.
The pain starts coming every 20 minutes, which is the signal that you should go to the hospital. Often, labor starts early than the estimated due date and sometimes beyond the due date. But if the wait reaches up to 42 weeks, close fetal monitoring is done with no- stress test (NST) and sonography to monitor the amniotic fluid index.
How do they measure the speed of laboring?
Labor happens an hour or can be in slow and little progress. It is then followed by intervals towards faster progress.
The midwife will closely monitor the progress in every four hours. An internal examination is regularly done to check the dilation status of your cervix. Also, the midwife will listen to the baby’s heartbeat with the hand-held Doppler or a Pinard Stethoscope.
The four-hour checking interval will allow the midwife to monitor and see the situation of your laboring to reduce the risk of getting a cesarean delivery. But, if you have specific health concerns, continuous monitoring is necessary especially if labor complications are already happening such as meconium.
If the cervix is not dilating in a rate of at least 0.5cm an hour over an hour interval period, then there is a need to speed up your labor. Your doctor will also be at your side to give you guidance and motivation as you undergo the process. Therefore, it is crucial that in your pregnancy stage, you start learning how to speed up labor during pregnancy.
Causes of slow labor
The following are the probable causes of slow labors;
- Dehydration and exhaustion
- You baby is not properly-staying in proper position inside your womb
- The feeling of fear and anxiety. These emotions can interfere with the release of hormones that can trigger the laboring
- Contractions are not frequent and not progressively becoming strong
- A tall and narrow pelvis that allows the baby to settle to a back-to-back position (posterior)
How to speed up labor during pregnancy in a natural approach
1. Keep changing your positions and movements
Change your body positioning and posture. Keep moving around like regular walking in the streets or at home. Doing this can help the baby to descend to the pelvis and apply pressure on the cervix. If you keep on moving every day, the baby will typically adjust to the best position to progress the labor.
2. Take time to do walking exercise
When your due is about to come, frequent walking will allow gravity to help you. The baby will start to move towards the right position for birth. Rocking, swaying, and dancing can help decrease labor pains.
3. Arouse your breast
If you get aroused, the oxytocin will come out in your bloodstream to trigger contractions and speed up labor. You can regularly massage your nipples with your nipples. The warm water during shower moving towards the nipples can stimulate your breast for you to get aroused.
4. Warm shower
Sit or stand in a warm bath and make yourself relax. Lying in a bathtub will also be helpful. If you are in a spa, listening to music and visualize a peaceful place can give you a relaxing feeling.
5. Applying acupressure
It can stimulate contractions and speed up labor. During labor, you may ask your husband to do acupressure to pressure points to speed up labor and ease labor pains;
- Inside your ankles
- Between thumb and index finger
- Lateral to the spine and lies in the middle of the spinal process.
6. Sexual intercourse
Although there is no scientific proof to support this, the release of prostaglandins can initiate labor. The labor-inducing medicines contain prostaglandins. Also, when you have an orgasm, you are releasing oxytocin that stimulates contractions.
7. Take some castor oil
Mix two ounces of castor oil to a glass of orange juice and a teaspoon of baking soda. It helps cervical dilation and stimulates contractions
8. Drink raspberry leaf tea
The fresh raspberry leaf tea is a traditional way to stimulate contractions and induce labor.
9. Drink Oregano Tea
The Oregano tea is an emmenagogue (one that improves blood flow to the uterine region). The team is excellent to speed up and stimulate contractions. You can add hot water to the herb leaves till it steeps. You may also boil the Oregano leaves with basil and ginger for better taste.
10. Use of Aromatherapy
The essential oils like lavender and chamomile will help you stay relax. You can use them during the massage or inhale them through a steam infusion. It can reduce labor pain, anxiety and nausea. It can also give facilitate better contraction intervals during labor.