As the delivery day approaches, most mothers get curious about the delivery process. Some even try to stimulate labor through natural processes from the comfort of their homes.
There are lots of proven and unproven ways through which labor can be naturally stimulated in a pregnant woman. One of these ways is through nipple stimulation. Nipple stimulation simply involves rubbing or massaging the nipples to induce labor.
Yes, rubbing on the nipples can indeed induce labor. This is interesting, isn’t it? That’s what this article is all about. We’ll discuss how to stimulate nipples to induce labor and other related questions.
Can Nipple Stimulation Induce Labor?
Rubbing or stimulating your nipples helps your body release a hormone known as oxytocin. This particular hormone plays a role during sexual activities, initiating labor, and bonding between birthing parent and child.
Oxytocin also plays an important role in ensuring your uterus contracts after labor, helping it return to its pre-pregnancy size.
Breast stimulation also helps to initiate full labor by making contractions stronger and longer. It is a known fact that medical professionals often use the drug Pitocin, which is a synthetic form of oxytocin.
A study was carried out among 390 Turkish pregnant women, as reported in 2015 in Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing. This group of women was randomly assigned to one of three groups during their labor: nipple stimulation, uterine stimulation, and control.
The result came out quite surprising; the women that were assigned to the nipple stimulation group had the shortest duration of each phase of labor and delivery.
It was reported that the average duration was 3.8 hours while dilation is also known as the first phase, 16 minutes while pushing and delivery (second phase), and 5 minutes for the third phase (delivery of the placenta).
Another interesting fact that came out of this research was that no single one of the women in the nipple stimulation and uterine stimulation groups needed to have a cesarean delivery.
In contrast to the other group, most women needed other induction methods, like synthetic oxytocin, to get through delivery. More than 8 percent of women in the control group experienced cesarean delivery.
Read Also: How Many Squats To Induce Labor (Explained)
Is Nipple Stimulation Healthy for Every Woman?
Before we proceed, we would first answer the popular question that has played on many women’s lips. Is nipple stimulation healthy for every woman? Although nipple stimulation is a natural labor induction method, it is not healthy and safe for every woman.
Some women are advised to desist because it could lead to serious pregnancy complications. Some of these women are;
- Women with high-risk pregnancies
- Women below the age of twenty.
- Hypertensive women.
- Women with underlying medical conditions.
Also, before any woman tries to induce labor through stimulation, the consent of the doctor or midwife must be sought first to ascertain if it is the right thing for the woman. Knowing this would save the woman a lot of trouble.
Also, there are myriads of other natural labor induction methods that the woman can try out with her doctor or midwife’s permission.
How To Stimulate Nipples To Induce Labor
We are back to the question again, how to stimulate nipples to induce labor. Nipple stimulation can be done in several ways. Below are some ways in which nipple stimulation can be done to induce labor.
- The Usage of Fingers: This is the most way in which nipple stimulation can be done. Most women admit to stimulating their nipples with the aid of their fingers by rubbing their nipples in slow, circular, and steady motions.
- The Breast Pump: Nipple stimulation can also be done with a breast pump. A breast pump is very much akin to a child sucking the breasts. It exerts pressure on the necessary places, leading to irregular contractions.
- Sucking: Sucking on the nipples is another great way to stimulate them. Of course, it is almost impossible for the woman to suck on her nipples. Her partner can help do it. The partner can also take it further by massaging the nipple with his hands.
When stimulating the nipples, the areola should be given special attention because it makes the whole process faster. The areola is the darker and circular flesh surrounding the nipples.
Also, it is advised that one nipple be stimulated at once. Stimulating both nipples at the same time could lead to overstimulation which could, in turn, lead to complications.
Also, lubricants are advised for stimulation. Especially for women with skin that is susceptible to dryness and breakage. There are a variety of lubricants like this one made just for this purpose. You can consult your doctor or midwife to find the best one for you.
Read Also: How To Increase Nipple Size
Other Natural Labor Inducing Methods
There are lots of other natural labor-inducing methods that women can try out with the permission of their doctors or midwives.
Some of them can be paired with nipple stimulation too. But, you should take cognizance of the fact that some of these methods have no medical or scientific backing to them.
Just speculations and anecdotes. Below are some natural labor-inducing methods outside nipple stimulation.
- Sex: Sex is believed to induce labor because it fosters the rise in some essential hormones which are useful in labor. This implies that a woman whose due date has come or whose due date is very close can induce labor by having sex. But, the sex position and other factors like stress should be noted because complex and strenuous sex positions could lead to complications for the pregnant woman.
- Eating Spicy Foods: Spicy foods are also said to induce labor in pregnant women. This doesn’t have scientific backing, but research shows that many women have claimed to induce labor by eating spicy food. Women with medical conditions like ulcers and prone to heartburn are advised to desist from this method.
- Exercise: Exercise can also help in labor induction because it can cause the release of more oxytocin in the woman’s body. Oxytocin is a very essential hormone in the labor process. Oxytocin is responsible for arousal, which in turn leads to dilation. It also helps in mother and child bonding after labor. The major labor contractions depend on oxytocin, which is why it is greatly valued. Oxytocin is also available in synthetic form. Its synthetic form is called Pitocin.
- Castor oil: According to some women drinking castor oil can stimulate uterine contractions. Castor oil is a laxative and may result in stomach upset and diarrhea during natural labor.
- Pineapple: Some women believe that bromelain found in pineapple can help to soften the cervix and stimulate labor. However, there is no medical or scientific to them.
- Herbs: According to some women, herbs like black cohosh, raspberry tea leaf, and evening primrose oil can stimulate labor. However, you must consult your doctor before using any of these herbs, as some may cause adverse effects on a baby’s heart rate.
Read Also: How To Increase Nipple Size For Feeding
How Long Should Nipple Stimulation Last?
This is yet another important part of this article. Nipple stimulation can last between three to five minutes, depending on the woman’s body. Professionals advise that a fifteen minutes break should be taken after every stimulation.
A longer break might be needed if contractions begin to take less than three minutes to reoccur. For example, a woman might have mild contractions after stimulating her nipples.
Some of these contractions are very brief. Some take as long as five minutes to come again after the previous one. Once these contractions become very frequent, a break from stimulation becomes necessary.
Do you now understand the impact of labor induction on labor? We believe this article has enlightened you and taught you something new about the relationship between nipple stimulation and labor induction.
The final stages of pregnancy can be challenging. You may be tired, unease, exhausted, and anxious to meet your little one. Fortunately, no matter how you feel, you won’t be pregnant forever.
Also, remember to carry your doctor or midwife along on your plans. It is the best and safest thing to do.