Nipple Stimulation – 7 Steps To Encourage Or Speed Up Labour

Nipple Stimulation - 7 Steps To Encourage Or Speed Up Labour

Nipple stimulation is sometimes used to naturally induce labour, speed up pre-labour and help the uterus contract back down after the birth. Nipple stimulation can also be used during labour to strengthen contractions.

Nipple stimulation may be advised for labouring women who find that their contractions have slowed or stopped. Nipple stimulation can cause contractions to become more effective by making them stronger and longer.

How Does Nipple Stimulation Work?

Nipple stimulation should mimic the motion of a suckling newborn. When your nipples are stimulated in this way, the hormone oxytocin is released into your body. Oxytocin is the hormone responsible for uterine contractions during labour.

How To Do Nipple Stimulation

1. Only stimulate one nipple at a time.
2. Use your thumb and forefinger to gently roll roll your nipple.
3. Start with your thumb and forefinger at the areola, and gently pull down over the nipple. This should cause the nipple to become erect. This can be achieved orally be licking (or gently sucking) the nipple. If using a breast pump, pump until the nipple is erect.
4. Continue to stimulate the nipple for about a minute once it is erect.
5. Take a break for 2-4 minutes.
6. Then repeat the above steps on your other nipple.
7. After you have waited another 2-4 minutes, repeat on the original nipples. Repeat this process.

Nipple stimulation can be achieved by hand, orally or using a pump. You can stimulate your own nipples, or ask your partner to do it during labour. If you are breastfeeding an existing child, each feed will stimulate the nipples in the same way.

If your nipples feel sore and tender, you may find that lubrication helps to ease the discomfort of nipple stimulation. A natural nipple butter, coconut oil or a few drops of breast milk will work well as lubrication.

 
Last Updated: February 23, 2015

CONTRIBUTOR

BellyBelly.com.au


8 comments

  1. There is zero evidence to support this or any other so-called “natural” induction. In fact some, like castor oil, are actually harmful. The only thing which shows any evidence is membrane sweep and even that is only 50% effective. Much better would be to educate women on the real stats on the consequences of going “overdue”, as well as the role of fear and stress in damping down the effect of oxytocin.

    1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11687199

      “Six randomised controlled trials were included in the analysis involving 719 women. When trials comparing breast stimulation with no intervention were analysed there was a significant reduction in the number of women not in labour at 72 hours (62.7% versus 93.6%, relative risk (RR) 0.67, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.60 – 0.74).”

      http://www.bellybelly.com.au/birth/castor-oil-to-induce-labour-is-it-safe-and-does-it-work/

      “Inducing with castor oil isn’t safe.”

      http://www.bellybelly.com.au/birth/how-to-bring-on-labour-naturally/

      “According to this study on ‘the effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery’: “We set out to investigate the effect of date fruit (phoenix dactylifera) consumption on labour parameters and delivery outcomes… 69 women consumed six date fruits per day for 4 weeks prior to their estimated date of delivery, compared with 45 women who consumed none… The women who consumed date fruit: Had significantly higher mean cervical dilatation upon admission compared with the non-date fruit consumers (3.52 cm vs 2.02 cm, p < 0.0005) Had a significantly higher proportion of intact membranes (83% vs 60%, p = 0.007). Spontaneous labour occurred in 96% of those who consumed dates, compared with 79% women in the non-date fruit consumers (p = 0.024). Use of prostin/oxytocin (for inducing/augmenting labour) was significantly lower in women who consumed dates (28%), compared with the non-date fruit consumers (47%) (p = 0.036). The mean latent phase of the first stage of labour was shorter in women who consumed date fruit compared with the non-date fruit consumers (510 min vs 906 min, p = 0.044)."

      1. Thanks for posting these! The date study’s a bit small, but also: dates are delicious candy fruit with lots of fiber and minerals, and the amount recommended is not big enough to raise concerns about too much sugar unless you’re diabetic. I did per the parameters of the study and I delivered at 37w3d – earlier than I wanted to!

        Also – I recall reading on the Mayo Clinic site I think that acupuncture might be indicated as well. They don’t know WHY it works, but it seems to.

        Also for any mamas reading this before your due date: I know it’s tough, but it’s really really better for the little one to stay in until after! One of the last things to develop is coordinated sucking – nursing can be much more of a challenge with early term babies. Babies born before 39 weeks have higher NICU admission rates and overall just aren’t quite finished cooking. If there’s no medical indication for induction, sit tight!

        Also 50% of babies come by 40 weeks, and 75% by 41. Hang in there, you’re very likely close!

      2. Wow, thanks for this info! These studies are really interesting. I had no idea that nipple stimulation might reduce a healthy woman’s risk of hemorrhage. I was looking for some info like this.

    2. Zero is a very absolute number. There are plenty of studies that indicate some of these methods work, at least some of the time.

    3. It would all depend on the woman I suppose. Nipple stimulation with a breast pump helped speed along my delivery with my son and is helping with my daughter as we speak, then again you might be one to claim that midwives are just a crock and not real doctors, maybe you should come talk to mine they have many different suggestions on how to NATURALLY iduce labor with out tons of medical intervention including membrane sweep. There are proven ways although it does state in any research that these methods are NOT GUARENTEED to work for everyone.

  2. Nipple stimulation helped bring on my labour with my daughter at 39w6d, and I used continual nipple stimulation through labour (up until the real pushing started) and my doctor/midwife and nurses were surprised that it was such a short labour (6h 17m) seeing as it was my first and so far only child. Also, on a scale of 1-10, the pain was maybe a 3.5 (again surprising the medical staff) and I credit it to the nipple stimulation. My doctor said that nipple stimulation is completely safe AFTER 37 weeks to start labour, and she even directed me on how to do it. When I lost my mucous plug, I used it to help bring things along.

    Perhaps the original commenter needs to do some research….

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