If you’re waiting for your baby to come out for a while, or it has been past 40 weeks, it’s inevitable that you might be curious about effective ways to induce labor naturally. You might be surprised that when done right, you can use nipple stimulation to induce labor. Remember to take your doctor’s approval before practicing nipple stimulation, since it can be dangerous for a high-risk pregnancy. In the meantime, read on to know more on how to use nipple stimulation to induce labor naturally. 

What Is Nipple Stimulation During Pregnancy And How Can It Help Induce Labor?

Nipple stimulation is the process of rolling or rubbing your nipples in a circular motion. It is considered a natural induction method and its effectiveness does have scientific evidence. Nipple stimulation releases oxytocin. What oxytocin plays a role in is arousal, inducing labor by causing contractions, and also increasing the bonding between the child and the mommy post-delivery. Oxytocin also makes the uterus contract post-labor, so that it returns to its pre-pregnancy size. It is a fact that in traditional induction of labor, doctors often use a synthetic form of oxytocin called Pitocin. 

Moreover, stimulating the breasts may also help in inducing labor by making you contract even stronger and for a long period of time.  

How long does nipple stimulation take to induce labor?

The minimum breast stimulation time to induce spontaneous labor was reported to be 1 hour each day for 3 days

Is It Safe To Do Nipple Stimulation At 37 Weeks?

The delivery that occurs between 37 weeks and 38 weeks + 6 days is called an early-term delivery. Infants born before completing 37 weeks are much more likely to experience various kinds of complications. These can be breathing difficulties, vision and hearing problems, and not being able to stay warm. Moreover, there can be feeding difficulties among many other health problems.

For these several reasons, inducing labor naturally before 37 weeks is not recommended. Doctors recommend nipple stimulation after completing the period of 37 weeks. Plus, you MUST consult with your doctor about using nipple stimulation to induce labor before you try it. Ensure you’re at a point where you can safely try to naturally induce labor.

nipple stimulation to induce labor

How To Perform Nipple Stimulation To Induce Labor?

Note that this practice is only recommended for normal pregnancies, its effects can be detrimental in late as well as early pregnancies.

Choose A Tool 

For getting the best results, try to mimic a baby’s latch as closely as possible. Try to use your fingers, an older baby who is still nursing, your partner’s mouth, or a breast pump to stimulate your nipples.

Keep Your Focus On The Areola

With the help of your fingers try to gently rub your areola with a thin cloth or directly on the skin.

Prevent Overstimulation

– Focus your attention on one breast at a time.
– Limit the stimulation process to just five minutes, and wait for 15 minutes before trying again.
– Take a break from nipple stimulation during contractions. Contractions are a sign that labor is 24 – 48 hours away so ensure you don’t overdo it.
– Stop the nipple stimulation once the contractions are 3 minutes apart or less, and are one minute in length or even longer.

Remember, always speak to your doctor before inducing labor with nipple stimulation during pregnancy. 

Moreover, if you’re full-term and have taken your doctor’s permission, you can try these too:

  1. Exercise
  2. Sex
  3. Eating spicy foods

To conclude, nipple stimulation is an effective technique in inducing labor as it releases oxytocin- the hormone which initiates labor and helps make the contractions stronger and longer. Again, always make sure to speak to your doctor about each and everything you are trying to practice and if this technique is safe for you to try.

FAQs On Nipple Stimulation To Induce Labor

How Long After Nipple Stimulation Does Labor Start?

Since nipple stimulation induces labor by releasing oxytocin, it is silly to expect it to work immediately. From previous studies, women went into labor around 3 – 4 days post starting nipple stimulation and regulary doing it each day.

How Often Should You Do Nipple Stimulation To Induce Labor?

Stimulate the nipple of one breast for about 5 minutes, and take a 15 minute break before resuming. You can do this a few times a day, each day until you go into labor. Your best bet would be to get your doctor’s advice on how long and often to do it since every pregnancy can have different requirements.

Does Nipple Stimulation Help Your Water Break?

Nipple stimulation may not necessarily help your water break. Water breaks largely due to the pressure your baby puts on it, and it is a sign of approaching labor.