(Pumping to induce labor) Breast Pumping for nipples stimulation is one of the practices to induce labor in pregnant women. The pumping causes sensory cells in the brain to release oxytocin. These hormones cause contractions in the body. The pumping also helps the uterus to contract after birth. This process is considered as natural as during delivery a drug called Pitocin is used. A drug is a synthetic form of oxytocin.
Is it safe to induce labor by breast pumping?
The process is safe for women who are healthy and have no risk during pregnancy and delivery.
The process is safe when it is done under the supervision of a doctor. For practicing the procedure at home, one must first be concerned with a doctor.
Breast pumping success in inducing labor
Nipple stimulation by breast pumping is often suggested to induce labor. But there is a question about whether the technique is successful to induce labor for pregnant women.
The process is successful for healthy and low-risk pregnancies. In the research to find the effectiveness of breast pumping to induce labor, it has been found that the process is effective for those pregnant women who are healthy.
Advantages of breast pumping to induce labor
Breast pumping to induce labor is useful because it increases the oxytocin in the body during delivery.
According to a study on breast pumping to induce labor, women who undergo the process of nipple stimulation has often a shorter first phase of birth, called active labor. Active labor in women lasts for an average of 3.8 hours. The women without the process of breast pumping have a longer first phase. In this situation, the first phase lasts for 6.8 hours on average.
The advantages of breast pumping can also be seen in another study. In the study women in their first pregnancies were studied. The research shows that women who massaged their breasts for 15 to 20 minutes daily three times a day at 36 to 38 weeks of pregnancy have a delivery at 39.2 weeks of pregnancy on average. Women who didn’t go through the process of breast pumping or massage had deliveries at 39.5 weeks of pregnancy on average. The study also depicts that the women who did the breast massage had lesser chances to go for cesarean deliveries as well.
Similarly, there is another study that depicts how breast pumping is useful in inducing labor and during pregnancy. In 2005, a review of 6 trials was done. The review showed that nipple stimulation is a useful process for the reduction of the occurrence of postpartum hemorrhage. Among the women who went for nipple stimulation, only 0.7% of them had postpartum hemorrhages while on the other hand, six percent of women had hemorrhages. These six percent of women are those who did not do nipple stimulation during pregnancy.
Disadvantages of breast pumping to induce labor
Like other processes, breast pumping to induce labor has also limitations and drawbacks
- The process of inducing labor isn’t universal as it is not appropriate for all women, especially those who have high risk during pregnancy and delivery.
- The process is not recommended for those who have placenta previa. It is when the placenta is blocking the cervix.
- The process is not suitable when the baby is not head down.
- The process ought to be avoided when the women have a history of C-sections with a classic incision
- The process is also not good when the women have a history of major uterine surgery.
- Breast pumping is not useful when the women have a genital herpes infection that is active.
- Breastfeeding is useless when the women have uterine cord prolapse that is the umbilical cord slippage into the vaginal canal before delivery.
How to induce labor with the breast pump?
- When one goes for the process, nipple stimulation ought to start after talking with the doctor or midwife. The doctor must be known of the fact aware that one is going to try at-home labor induction techniques like breast pumping to induce labor.
- The concerned doctor would only recommend nipple stimulation when the pregnant women are already dilated. Otherwise, there is a risk of premature delivery.
- Once one gets the permission for breast pumping to induce labor from the doctor, one should follow these steps carefully
- Use the breast pump that is new and in the package.
- One should make sure that is free from germs and sterile.
- Use warm washcloths to be placed on both of the breasts.
- After using a warm washcloth remove one of them and attach the breast pump for massaging. A breast pump can be a hand pump or an electric breast pump.
- Never pump both breasts at the same time even one has a double electric pump.
How long breast pumping is required to induce labor?
- There are different methods that are used for a breast pump to induce labor. The timings for the process vary in different studies. The time varies from 15 minutes to 1 hour. One ought to go for the method that is recommended by the doctor. Mostly the following method and timings of breast pumping are recommended
- First, do four minutes of pumping followed by equal minutes of rest for a total of 30 minutes.
- Rest for half an hour
- Repeat for the next two hours or until contractions start.
- If the contractions have not increased in these two hours, rest for sixty then start the process again.
The bottom line
To cap it all, the breast pumping process is used to induce labor. With breast pumping, oxytocin levels in the body increase. This hormone helps women’s bodies during delivery as it causes contraction in the body. Oxytocin is the same hormone whose synthetic drug Pitocin is used by doctors during delivery. But, as per the research, the process is helpful only for healthy women and for those who have low risk. The process should be used with the guidance of doctors. Proper procedures and measures should also be followed.