Thursday 22 February 2018

Overdue Kate Middleton: Old wives’ tricks and professional tips that could induce labour

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, Photo: Chris Jackson/PA Wire
Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

The world’s media is on edge as they patiently wait outside St Mary’s Hospital in London’s Paddington, but it seems like the royal baby isn’t ready to be introduced to the monarchy just yet.

Now five days overdue, poor Kate Middleton must be eager to get the show on the road and pop out baby number two.

It’s not the first time the Duchess of Cambridge has had to cope with a royal’s late arrival as Prince George also kept his mum waiting for three days after his due date when he was born in July 2013.

Many of us are familiar with the discomfort that follows the clock ticking past a due date, but perhaps Kate should give some of these old wives’ tales a go to try and induce her high profile labour.

Ten ways to help induce labour past your due date

1) Sex

After 40 weeks, getting busy in the bedroom might be the last thing you want to put on your to-do list but evidence shows that sex can help to get things moving on the baby front.

As well as the physical movement that comes with sex, a woman’s body also releases oxytocin which can help induce labour.

Hormones present in sperm called prostaglandins can also help speed up the process when they are deposited as they work to soften and dilate the cervix.

2) Pineapple

Many women are apprehensive about pineapple throughout their pregnancy as the fruit contains an enzyme called bromelain which can cause contractions in the uterus. Eaten in large quantities the fruit can cause the cervix to dilate, a process which is necessary during any natural labour.

Dates are also said to be helpful when it comes to coaxing the baby out of the womb as they contain oxytocin, the same hormone released during sex.

3) Take a bumpy drive or a walk

A bumpy car journey might be just the thing to help try and induce labour, but experts say low intensity physical activity might do the trick too.

Long walks or a few minutes on an exercise bike can kick start contractions and stimulate the uterus.

4) Spicy food

Tucking into some spicy tapas or scoffing a curry is an old wives’ trick that might give your baby a nudge in the right direction. Spicy food stimulates the bowel muscles, which in turn can have an effect on your uterus. Although light spice can be helpful, very hot dishes can cause tummy upset and discomfort so keep anything you do eat quite mild.

5) Blowing up balloons

There isn’t any scientific evidence that blowing up balloons can help induce labour but some researchers believe that the process stimulates muscle contraction in the abdomen and in turn, the uterus.

6) Stimulating your nipples

Lightly rubbing the nipples stimulates the pleasure hormone oxytocin which can help prompt labour. Lightly tweaking or rubbing the areola in the shower can help increase the level of oxytocin in a woman’s body.

7) Have a tonic!

While alcohol is usually not a good idea while pregnant, nothing is stopping you indulging in a tonic water. The water’s natural bitter, quinine, stimulates the production of oxytocin. Alternatively tucking into a bag of liquorice can stimulate your digestion and in turn trigger contractions.

8) Relax

Stressing out will not help the situation in anyway so it’s best to put all of your energy into relaxing. Long warm baths and leisurely massages are advised when it comes to inducing labour as of course these activities can stimulate the production of pleasure hormone oxytocin. Acupuncture has also been found to help induce labour by relieving certain pressure points around the body.

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