Sex and pineapple and wine, oh my!
Today I am 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant, and doing my utmost to get this baby out naturally. Which is funny really when you think that I was happy to go to 42 weeks with this pregnancy and was in no particular rush for the baby to get here. However that all changed a couple of weeks ago when I started itching crazily one night, and then my blood test results showed that there was an issue with some of the levels linked to my liver. I was in and out of the hospital 3-4 times a week, seeing midwives, having blood tests and abdomen scans to check my liver, kidneys, spleen and gall bladder.
Initially they diagnosed it as being Obstetric Cholestasis which affects 1 in 140 pregnant women every year in the UK, and there is a chance of your baby being still-born if it is not managed, which means in general having an induction by 38 weeks. If you think you might have OC there is a great video about it over on Honest Mum’s blog who suffered from it during her first pregnancy, and which I found really helpful as I was getting my head round it initially.
However, having told me at 37 weeks that I was likely to be induced by 38 weeks, my levels settled down, which made them think that it probably wasn’t OC. This was naturally a huge relief, but the problem now is they don’t know why my levels went haywire, so to avoid any unnecessary risks it looks like it’ll be induction time for me this Friday when I am 39 weeks….unless I can get this baby out naturally by then.
Now I had an induction when L was born (read her birth story here) and was so hoping to avoid medical intervention and inductions this time round, so my initial reaction was shock and disappointment. Then I realised that the main thing here was the safe arrival of this baby, however that might be.
The good news is that when I saw the consultant last Tuesday she told me that I’m actually looking quite promising for an early natural labour – at 37 weeks and 4 days I was already 1-2cm dilated and my cervix was soft and looked promising. She gave me a sweep and since then I’ve been having lots of contractions and lower back pain, which haven’t led to anything but which make me hope that natural could still be on the cards.
I’ve been reading up on natural ways to kick-start labour. Again. I went through all this with L last time and none of it led to anything, but then when they induced me with her I was nowhere near ready for a natural labour, so I’m hoping that this time I might just cheat the induction….
So what are natural ways to start labour?
- Sex seems to be the biggest suggestion from everyone, which is convenient as it’s so the easiest thing to be doing when you’re the size of a house!
- Slightly easier but not everyone’s cup of tea is another suggestion that you hear more in whispers than being shouted about, and that’s oral sex. Something to do with the prostoglandins in semen working faster/better if they go into the digestive system rather than onto the cervix. Hmmmm, maybe. Sounds a bit like male propaganda to me, but who knows?!
- Pineapple. Eating it. Lots of it. The only problem being you need to eat about 7 to get the desired effect. I ate one whole one when pregnant with L and burnt my mouth something chronic. Do you know how acidic a pineapple is?!?
- Raspberry leaf tea or the tablet version. I tried taking the maximum of this from weeks 38 to 42 with L and it never did anything for me, but others swear by it. I’d say the jury is still out on it.
- When I had an antenatal check-up with my GP he suggested (along with lots of sex with hubs) that I have a couple of glasses of wine, now that was the best suggestion I’ve heard in a while. But after 9 months of sobriety, the two glasses I had in Pizza Express to celebrate the start of half term on Friday made me happily merry, which is not a bad thing. Although I’m sure I looked like the worst kind of mum, with my big bump and my glass of wine!
- Hot curries. Hubs is delighted as normally I’m all about the korma so there’s no sharing to be done in this house when it’s takeaway time. That all changed last week and he’s loving watching me sweat my way through the hot curries he loves to order.
- Walking. In the last week I have done two brisk 3 mile walks, and all they’ve done is tire me out.
- I even tried the Wii Dance with L and realised we really should get some net curtains, as I’m sure that wasn’t a pretty sight for the neighbours and passers-by!
There are many other old wives’ tales which I won’t list here, but so far nothing seems to be working here. We get the contractions. We get the back pain. We get all excited, thinking this is it. And then, nothing.
So it’s back to see the consultant tomorrow, another sweep and no doubt a date in the diary for an induction sometime before Friday. Until then you might see me pounding the streets of London, in between swigging wine and getting jiggy with it with hubs!