40 Weeks +1 – Spice up your life
Heard that old wives’ tale that eating a hot curry can trigger labour? Stimulating the stomach and bowels may in turn stimulate the cervix, but don’t go crazy with the curry powder. If you upset your tummy too much you could end up with diarrhoea – a hassle you’d rather do without if you then go into labour!
“It appears that labour can sometimes be triggered by an irritated bowel so you can try eating a spicy curry,” says Practical Parenting’s midwife Anne Richley. “However, you might just end up with heartburn and the runs.”
Try cooking up a small, mildly spiced curry and enjoy a night in with your partner – if nothing else it’ll pass the time.
40 Weeks +2 – Back to the bedroom
Having sex is thought to trigger labour, so it’s time for some fun. “Prostaglandin, found in semen, is very effective in encouraging the uterus to contract and it also helps in softening the cervix ready for labour,” says Peter Bowen-Simpkins, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
If you have an orgasm, too, it’s a double whammy because it causes the release of oxytocin, a hormone that encourages the uterus to contract.
“Having sex when you’re overdue is perfectly safe, just as long as your waters haven’t broken, you don’t have a low-lying placenta, or have experienced bleeding,” Peter adds.
40 Weeks +3 – Squatter’s rights
Doing squats from a standing to sitting position may well help your stubborn little one to budge – it will encourage him to move down your pelvis and for his head to engage, if he hasn’t done this already.
“I started doing squatting exercises to gentle music, but after I saw my daughter having so much fun on the dance mat, I decided to join in too,” says Lisa Burrows, 30, from Kent, mum to Harriet, 9, and Josh, 1. “A few hours later, my contractions started.”
Fewer qualified nurses will man the phones on the new 111 health helpline
40 Weeks +4 – Get the message
To reduce the number of friendly callers, record a message on your answer machine saying that you’ll be in touch as soon as you’ve got some news. This won’t trigger labour, but it’s a sanity saver – and if your little one decides to put in an appearance just after you’ve done it, what an ironic twist!
Why not use this day to get on top of your ironing as well? It’s almost 100 per cent guaranteed that this will fall by the wayside once your baby has arrived.
Firm pressure is put on points of your foot from toes to ankle
40 Weeks +5 – Time for reflection
Reflexologists work on reflex points in your feet, and it’s claimed the therapy may help to bring on labour. “During treatment, I use a stimulating technique on pressure points that relate to the uterus and pituitary gland, encouraging the natural release of the labour hormone oxytocin,” explains pregnancy reflexologist Helen Fowler. “Reflexology sessions can also help reduce stress, letting the body more effectively prepare for labour.”