Labor and nipple stimulation
For some women who are full-term or who are past their due dates, using a breast pump may help induce labor.
According to the notion, breast pump stimulation of the nipples raises the body’s oxytocin levels.
In turn, this might help the body unwind and trigger uterine contractions.
This approach is only secure if your pregnancy is low-risk, healthy, and has your doctor’s blessing.
If you are experiencing pregnancy difficulties or a high-risk pregnancy, you should avoid using a breast pump for nipple stimulation.
Continue reading to find out more about this method of inducing labor, including safety issues and how to use it.
Read on to learn more.
✅ Every person’s experience with utilizing a breast pump to start labor will be unique.
✅ It’s possible that contractions begin right away. Additionally, it can take a few days for your body to start laboring, or you might not be able to use this strategy to start labor.
✅ Always with your doctor or midwife before attempting any at-home labor induction techniques.
✅ I Instead, they can suggest an in-office technique like manually breaking your water or membrane stripping.
✅ They can also tell you if trying to induce labor at home is safe.
What do the studies reveal?
While studies that explicitly looked at utilizing a breast pump to induce labor are more constrained in scope, research on manual nipple stimulation to induce labor seems encouraging. Nipple stimulation with a breast pump and synthetic oxytocin for labor induction were contrasted in a 1999 study. The study looked at 79 expecting mothers. 30 of the study’s women received oxytocin, while 49 received stimulation of the breast pump.
The oxytocin group’s labor progressed more quickly, but the breast stimulation group’s first-time mothers delivered their babies more naturally than the oxytocin group. The likelihood that women in the oxytocin group needed to deliver their babies with a vacuum or forceps were higher.
More recently, small research of 16 low-risk pregnant women conducted in 2018 indicated that nipple stimulation might be useful for naturally raising oxytocin levels in the body. The study did not employ a breast pump; instead, it stimulated nipples manually.
The pregnant women who participated in the study were all between 38 and 40 weeks along when they were watched over the course of three days in a hospital maternity unit. They massaged their nipples for a total of one hour each day, 15 minutes at a time.
Researchers discovered that the women’s oxytocin levels peaked on day three, suggesting that it would take several days for nipple stimulation to take effect.
The efficacy of nipple stimulation for labor induction requires larger-scale trials.
How safe is it?
If your pregnancy is low-risk and healthy, nipple simulation is typically regarded as safe for inducing labor. However, you should only employ at-home labor induction techniques if you are close to or past your due date. Premature or premature birth of your child could result from premature induction of labor.
Preterm infants (born between 34 and 37 weeks) are often healthy but may experience transient issues, such as:
Having trouble eating
Trouble regulating body temperature
Additionally, preterm infants may experience learning or developmental issues in later life.
Always check with your doctor or midwife to see if using at-home labor induction techniques is safe for you. They might make an alternative suggestion that is safer for you and your pregnancy.
Timing of labor induction
The act of starting labor has dangers. The best person to evaluate the situation and assist you in making a choice that is best for your health and the security of your unborn child is your doctor or midwife.
If your doctor or midwife is worried about your or your baby’s health, they might suggest a rapid labor induction technique. For instance, if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, or if there is insufficient amniotic fluid to cover the baby, they might advise induction.
If you are more than two weeks past your due date, your labor might also need to be induced. Amniotic fluid production declines after 42 weeks, increasing the likelihood that your baby will be bigger than typical.
After the due date, keep in touch with your healthcare provider because your doctor will want to monitor your development carefully.
How to use a breast pump to start labor
It’s crucial to consult your doctor or midwife before beginning breast stimulation. Before you start, you should let them know that you plan to use at-home labor induction methods like breast stimulation.
Nipple stimulation is probably only going to be advised by your medical team if you’ve already dilated. Otherwise, you run the danger of having a baby too soon.
When your medical team gives the all-clear, carefully follow these instructions.
- Before using the breast pump, take it out of the container and confirm that it is sanitary.
- Cover each breast with a warm washcloth.
- Take out one of the washcloths when you’re ready, then secure the breast pump. For this, you can either use a hand pump or an electric breast pump. You should only use one breast at a time if you have a twin electric pump.
- Start hand pumping or turn on the breast pump.
- Carry out this procedure for no more than 15 minutes before moving on to the other breast. Remove the warm towel from your other breast and reapply it to the breast you just used the breast pump on.
- Keep doing this for 15 minutes per breast until regular, powerful contractions start to occur. After an hour or so, if you are still not experiencing contractions, you might want to quit and try again the following day. Additionally, contractions may begin an hour after ceasing nipple stimulation.
- Stop nipple stimulation as soon as you start to feel contractions and allow your body to go into labor naturally. You can reapply the pump and stimulate for five minutes per side if your contractions stop or weaken.
- Continue stimulating yourself until you experience five-minute-distance contractions.
- Inform your doctor or midwife of your development. When to visit the hospital will be something they can help you with.
Other natural methods for triggering labor
You can also try taking a walk, eating hot cuisine, or having sex to try to naturally start labor at home. If you had a healthy, low-risk pregnancy, none of these are typically seen as being damaging to your health, despite the fact that the effectiveness of each of them varies.
Before attempting any at-home induction technique, consult your doctor or midwife. If you’re on bed rest, have a health issue, or are carrying a high-risk pregnancy, don’t attempt to induce labor at home.