How to Use Nipple Stimulation to Induce Labor

You can try different techniques to induce labor, and nipple stimulation is one such option. Nipple stimulation for labor can also help speed up pre-labor and even help ensure that the uterus contracts back down after delivery. The technique is mostly recommended for laboring women who may feel that their contractions have stopped or become very slow. Using this technique may also make contractions become stronger and last longer. Let's find out more about it.

How Does Nipple Stimulation Help in Labor?

Nipple stimulation seems to work great for most women, and that is mainly because the technique involves rubbing and rolling your nipples to trigger the release of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for initiating labor and creating a bond between you and your child. Oxytocin is also responsible for bringing your uterus back to its pre-pregnancy size after delivery. It is worth mentioning that doctors often use a drug called Pitocin to induce labor, which is nothing but synthetically made oxytocin.

Many studies have also found that women with nipple stimulation have the shortest durations of different phases of labor and delivery. It is also found that women who go for nipple stimulation or uterine stimulation are less likely to have cesarean delivery.

How to Use Nipple Stimulation for Labor

It is true that there are certain benefits associated with nipple stimulation, but you need to do it properly to maximize its benefits. Here is how to proceed.

Talk to Your Doctor

Your doctor can explain everything you want to know about nipple stimulation for inducing labor. They will also tell you if you should really be trying this technique or you should avoid it. They usually recommend this option when you are at least 42 weeks pregnant and your placenta seems less efficient at supplying important nutrients to your baby. Most doctors want you to wait until 40 weeks to try nipple stimulation. Be sure to follow your doctor's advice.

Be Ready to Call for Help

When your doctor has allowed you to try nipple stimulation, you need to ensure that you keep a cell phone nearby. It is important because nipple stimulation can work quite quickly in some cases. It can cause strong contractions, and you need immediate help when it happens.

Start with One Breast

For good results with nipple stimulation for labor, you should begin with your one breast first. You should massage your areola first – use your thumb and forefinger for this. Massage gently and slowly move toward your nipple. Be sure to massage your nipple gently, but it is okay to lightly pull on it as well. Keep in mind that you should massage your nipple as if a baby is trying to feed. This is the reason why it is important to begin massaging your one breast first. You can also massage your areola and nipple with the palm of your one hand and use the other hand to massage the outer edges of the same breast.

Switch to the Other Breast

Once your nipple becomes erect and stays in this position for one minute, you should move to your other breast. Repeat the same process and be sure to move gently. Ensure that this stimulation takes up to 15-20 minutes. You can repeat the massage thrice a day for good results.

Proceed Carefully When You Feel Contractions

If you do everything right, you will soon feel contractions. While it is true that you are using nipple stimulation to induce labor, you do not want to start heavy contractions too soon. Therefore, you should proceed carefully and ensure that you do not do anything that proves taxing for your baby. Be sure to stop for a while when you feel a contraction. You can begin again once the contraction has concluded.

Make Use of an Electric Breast Pump

While you can always use your fingers and palms to stimulate your nipples, you can use an electric breast pump for the same. Some women use electric breast pumps along with massaging to get better results. The use of a pump often helps because it puts more pressure on your nipple area, which is why it is more likely to trigger contractions. Using a pump may also be a good idea if you find your hands hurting during pregnancy and feel it difficult to massage your nipples often.

Use Lubrication

Another good way to get better results is to use lubrication while massaging your breast. This really helps when your nipples are sore, dry or tender. Be sure to use a natural lubricant only – you can opt for coconut oil or nipple butter. Apply it to your nipple as well as areola. You can continue to apply more if needed.

Use Hot Compresses

Here comes another great tip on using nipple stimulation for labor. Using heat may also stimulate the release of oxytocin and trigger contractions. You can simply place a hot compress on your breast for a few minutes for good results. Be sure to apply heat to one breast first and then move on to the other breast after five minutes. Keep switching from one breast to the other for at least half an hour. Keep in mind that you should be using a hot compress just to keep the area warm, so do not use a compress that is too hot. It is also a good idea to buy microwaveable heat pouches and use them for the same purpose. Taking a hot shower may also help.

Use Oral Stimulation

This is the last tip on using nipple stimulation for labor. This is where your partner can also join the process and help you move closer to labor. Ask your partner to suck on your nipples. It is better if they mimic the movement of a baby sucking on your nipples. Not only can this help with labor, this can also be quite pain relieving in most cases.

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