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Walking, sex and spicy food are favored unprescribed methods to bring on labor
Date:6/16/2011

search has suggested that castor oil as a laxative might indeed help labor start more quickly, but it has drawbacks, including diarrhea and the risk of dehydration for the mother, and increased potential for fetal bowel movements as well.

The one method known to produce a physiological effect related to labor is nipple stimulation, Schaffir noted. This leads to the release of the hormone oxytocin, which can cause uterine contractions.

"These contractions can be hard to control, and there's some potential downside in causing too many contractions," Schaffir said. "It's just not something I recommend because there is no established safe protocol."

The average age of the women trying unprescribed methods was 27.3 years, compared to 30.1 years of age among women who let nature take its course. The study population was mostly white (62.2 percent) or African American (22.9 percent), and no difference in whether the women tried these techniques could be attributed to their race. In general, country of origin and education levels were similar in both groups of women.

Survey respondents reported that their sources of information about trying to trigger labor came from family (41 women), friends (37), physicians (26), the Internet (11), other media (nine) or nurses (six). Forty-six of the women who used one of these methods fewer than half told their physicians that they had tried to induce labor on their own.

"Regardless of whether these techniques are harmful or indicated, I think it's good for caretakers to know that their patients are trying to do things to make their pregnancy end sooner," Schaffir said.


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Contact: Jonathan Schaffir
Schaffir.1@osu.edu
614-293-9899
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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