Herbs Have Been Used For Centuries
Midwives in ancient times knew the value of herbs and their benefit to pregnant women, both during their pregnancy and at the time of labor. Rather than actually inducing labor, most herbs used during pregnancy tone the uterus and prepare it for birth. When considering the use of herbs as a means to get labor started, be sure to consult with your health care provider and do not try to induce labor until after 40 weeks gestation.
Too Much Of A Good Thing Can Be Bad
Herbs are potent and used in the wrong dosages have the potential to be harmful. Too much of an herb can be dangerous, and yet the same herb used in small doses can be extremely helpful. Since there are no regulations on herbs in the US, and manufacturers differ in their content when binding herbs, it is a good idea to buy herbs that are organic and from a reputable outlet.
Black cohosh may be an effective way to regulate contractions and make them more effective when used as a means of inducing labor. The recommended way of using this herb is as a tincture, which you can obtain either water-based or alcohol-based. The capsule form is not recommended. There are no studies to support the efficacy of herbs in inducing labor, or whether they are safe to use. If you are anemic or have a blood clotting disorder, then black cohosh is not recommended because it has been shown to cause blood thinning. Use of black cohosh could lead to excessive bleeding during delivery if used when these conditions are present.
Similar to black cohosh, blue cohosh is used primarily to strengthen the uterine contractions. A suggested protocol for use of both black and blue cohosh is as follows:
Take 10-15 drops of tincture of blue cohosh every hour and 5-10 of black cohosh every half hour until labor starts or for one full day. Take the next day off and repeat the process on the third day if needed.
Gift From Native Americans
A uterine tonic used by Native American midwives since ancient times is the red raspberry leaf tea. This beverage tones the uterus, does not start contractions, and can be used safely throughout the entire pregnancy. After the baby is delivered, continued use of this tea helps the uterus to shrink back to normal faster and it also reduces post-natal bleeding.
Ultimately, the choice to use herbs is a personal one. However, it requires wisdom and caution. The fact that these herbs work only when the cervix is ripe is another important point. If the cervix isn't ready, these herbs won't induce labor.