Breast pump induction

It happens to a lot of my clients; we’re nearing to the point where their provider wants to induce labor and the mom is desperate to get labor started more naturally.  When talking to the provider on putting it off doesn’t work (this is STILL an induction and has risks), this may be another way.  As with anything, please check with your provider before you attempt a method of induction.

Here are suggested guidelines on using a breast pump to induce labor.  Studies show it is as effective as Pitocin for starting labor in 3 days.

  • Turn on the pump, and see if the flange that rests against your nipple fits, or if it pinches.  If it pinches, get a larger flange.
  • Pump until you feel a contraction, then turn off the pump.  After 5 minutes, turn it on again until you feel a contraction, to mimic labor.  After a few minutes if your body is tolerating one side, you can try to bump it up to “level two” by pumping both sides simultaneously (if you have that kind of pump).
  • Repeat for an hour.
  • Do this three times a day for 3 days.
  • If contractions are longer than 90 seconds each, stop pumping all together.

For safety, it must be advised that the mother bring her pump to a midwife or physician’s office the first time she tries this, while the provider listens to the baby’s heartbeat.  This is because there is low risk that the baby won’t tolerate these contractions well, as any form of induction usually produces stronger, longer and more sudden contractions than labor that starts on its own, and this is still a form of induction.  The breast pump is generally milder and safer than Pitocin, but it is always best to check the heartbeat and the baby’s response to induction before going home.  For the same reason, if a contraction occurs spontaneously between the 5 minute intervals with the breast pump, wait a full five minutes from that spontaneous contraction before using the pump again.

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