Christian Doulas

Past 40 weeks encouragement for baby to come out

Tired of knitting booties? Ready for that Baby to join us in the World of Air? Here are some ways other women have used to encourage their babies to make the big move. (But if you would rather knit just one more pair of booties, here's the pattern for these adorable white ones.)


  1. Marital intimacy. Softens the cervix with natural prostaglandins, stimulates contractions with oxytocin-producting orgasms, relaxes mother.

  2. Nipple stimulation. Produces oxytocin. Goes nicely with suggestion #1.

  3. Mexican food, or other spicy foods particularly spiced with cumin, which can help blood vessels in uterus contract (this might be urban legend, but some swear by it). Some also say eggplant is helpful too, but, again, this suggestion is based on purely anecdotal evidence. Here's a recipe for eggplant parmisiana that hundreds swear by; (pineapple also is a popular food for these purposes).

  4. Exercise, especially walking, swimming, and lunges. Don’t overdo it, though, because you won’t want to be exhausted if you do go into labor.

  5. Asymmetrical standing. When possible, place one foot up on a step stool while you are standing. This encourages baby’s descent, and helps him wiggle into the best position for labor. Switch which leg is on the step for comfort.(some midwives suggest a more aggressive variation of this called "curb walking";  If you live near a road that has the concrete curbs on the sides, walk for a while with one foot up on the curb and the other down on the road. Walk a ways, then turn around and have the opposite foot on the curb/road.

  6. Evening Primrose oil contains prostaglandins, and helps soften a cervix that is ready to soften. Some women have taken gel-caps orally 3X's per day and then inserted 2 in the vagina at bedtime.

  7. Red Raspberry leaf tea, helps tone the uterus and encourages Braxton Hicks contractions to focus into the real thing. It’s good to make a lot of this tea and drink it iced throughout your postpartum time too, because it helps your uterus get back to its non-pregnant state.

  8. Acupressure. There are two points that stimulate uterine contractions. These points are about four finger-widths above the inner ankle on your calf, and in the webbing between your thumb and forefinger. You will know when you've found the spot because it will be very sore. You rub your calf, or pinch the webbing on your hand, in a circular motion for 30-60 second at a time, taking 1-2 minute breaks in between.

  9. Ask your doctor or midwife about the possibility of bringing out the big guns:stripping membranes, using castor oil, and trying serious herbal encouragements. Do NOT try this without your midwife's or OB's OK, but here is a "cocktail" one midwife has used in the past:

    Warning: this is for serious business!  It works at least 4 out of  5 times especially if taken with blue and black cohosh as instructed below.


    Buy 8 ounces of castor oil, orange juice and soda crackers (or bread).


    1st dose:  4 ounces castor oil and 4 ounces orange juice in a 12-16 ounce cup.  Heat in microwave for about 15-20 seconds.  Stir very fast to mix the two together and drink down FAST. Immediately chase down with some soda crackers.


    30 minutes later, 2nd dose:  2 ounces castor oil and 3-4 ounces orange juice.  Heat, stir, drink and chase with a cracker as before.


    30 minutes later, 3rd dose:  repeat with 2 ounces castor oil etc.


    Can also use blue and black cohosh. Start with one dropper of blue, then ½ dropper of black and alternate every 30 minutes with the castor oil and continue with the herbs after all the castor oil has been taken.

  10. Trust in the Lord and His timing, for He is the one who will bring your baby from the womb.  “But thou art He that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts.” (Ps 22:9)

The Lie of the EDD: Why Your Due Date Isn't when You Think

The Lie of the EDD: Why Your Due Date Isn't when You Think
By Misha Safranski

We have it ingrained in our heads throughout our entire adult lives-pregnancy is 40 weeks. The "due date" we are given at that first prenatal visit is based upon that 40 weeks, and we look forward to it with great anticipation. When we are still pregnant after that magical date, we call ourselves "overdue" and the days seem to drag on like years. The problem with this belief about the 40 week EDD is that it is not based in fact. It is one of many pregnancy and childbirth myths which has wormed its way into the standard of practice over the years-something that is still believed because "that's the way it's always been done".
The folly of Naegele's Rule
The 40 week due date is based upon Naegele's Rule. This theory was originated by Harmanni Boerhaave, a botanist who in 1744 came up with a method of calculating the EDD based upon evidence in the Bible that human gestation lasts approximately 10 lunar months. The formula was publicized around 1812 by German obstetrician Franz Naegele and since has become the accepted norm for calculating the due date. There is one glaring flaw in Naegele's rule. Strictly speaking, a lunar (or synodic - from new moon to new moon) month is actually 29.53 days, which makes 10 lunar months roughly 295 days, a full 15 days longer than the 280 days gestation we've been lead to believe is average. In fact, if left alone, 50-80% of mothers will gestate beyond 40 weeks.
Variants in cycle length
Aside from the gross miscalculation of the lunar due date, there is another common problem associated with formulating a woman's EDD: most methods of calculating gestational length are based upon a 28 day cycle. Not all women have a 28 day cycle; some are longer, some are shorter, and even those with a 28 day cycle do not always ovulate right on day 14. If a woman has a cycle which is significantly longer than 28 days and the baby is forced out too soon because her due date is calculated according to her LMP (last menstrual period), this can result in a premature baby with potential health problems at birth.
The inaccuracy of ultrasound
First trimester: 7 days
14 - 20 weeks: 10 days
21 - 30 weeks: 14 days
31 - 42 weeks: 21 days
Calculating an accurate EDD
Recent research offers a more accurate method of approximating gestational length. In 1990 Mittendorf et Al. undertook a study to calculate the average length of uncomplicated human pregnancy. They found that for first time mothers (nulliparas) pregnancy lasted an average of 288 days (41 weeks 1 day). For multiparas, mothers who had previously given birth, the average gestational length was 283 days or 40 weeks 3 days. To easily calculate this EDD formula, a nullipara would take the LMP, subtract 3 months, then add 15 days. Multiparas start with LMP, subtract 3 months and add 10 days. The best way to determine an accurate due date, no matter which method you use, is to chart your cycles so that you know what day you ovulate. There are online programs available for this purpose (refer to links in resources section). Complete classes on tracking your cycle are also available through the Couple to Couple League.
ACOG and postdates
One of the most vital pieces of information to know when you are expecting is that ACOG itself (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) does not recommend interfering with a normal pregnancy before 42 completed weeks. This is why knowing your true conception date and EDD is very important; if you come under pressure from a care provider to deliver at a certain point, you can be armed with ACOG's official recommendations as well as your own exact due date. This can help you and your baby avoid much unnecessary trauma throughout the labor and delivery. Remember, babies can't read calendars; they come on their own time and almost always without complication when left alone to be born when they are truly ready.
Mittendorf, R. et al., "The length of uncomplicated human gestation," OB/GYN, Vol. 75, No., 6 June, 1990, pp. 907-932.
ACOG Practice Bulletin #55: Clinical Management of Post-term Pregnancy
More resources - Couple to Couple League

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