As you grow closer to your due date, it can seem impossible to wait for your baby to arrive. You will notice physical changes as you get closer to giving birth. Before labor pains even begin, you will notice that your cervix has started to soften and dilate. Your cervix must become dilated for labor to take place because this allows the opening in the cervix to become large enough for the baby to leave the birth canal.
Cervical dilation and other physical changes are required for your baby to emerge into the world. Your body will naturally try to encourage this process by placing the baby’s head next to the cervix and stimulating uterine contractions. If you are just starting to dilate, you may be worried about how long it will take or anxious for the process to finish. Whether you have given birth before or are just having your first child, learning how to dilate faster can help with speeding up the labor process.
How to Dilate Faster
Keep in mind that you should always discuss any medical changes in advance with your doctor or your midwife. Your body may not be ready to start labor yet, so speeding up dilation could cause problems. Every pregnancy is different, and only your doctor can tell you if it is safe to begin cervical dilation or labor. There are always risks in doing any procedure, so it is extremely important that you talk to your doctor before you try any method for dilating the cervix faster. If your doctor says that it is safe to speed up the dilation process, then you are ready to begin.
1. Try Taking a Warm Shower
Tense muscles can make the physical process of going into labor more difficult. Relaxation techniques like sitting or standing in a warm shower can help your body unwind. The warm shower may be able to help ease tension so that your body can start dilating. If you plan on lying down in the bathtub, make sure that you have someone nearby to help you get in and out of the tub safely.
Other than taking a warm shower, you can try other techniques for reducing tension. Meditation has been shown to effectively reduce tension and encourage relaxation. You can also try getting a gentle massage or listening to relaxing music. Any safe relaxation technique that helps you to unwind can help remove tension that is getting in the way of cervical dilation.
2. There Are Medical Options Available
If you are already past your due date, your doctor may prescribe you medication to help your cervix to soften and dilate. Misoprostol is considered a prostaglandin that helps to soften the cervix. It is extremely dangerous to use in the first or second trimester though, so you should only use it when it is prescribed by your doctor. Another common technique is dinoprostone. Known as another prostaglandin, it can be inserted as a suppository or squirted onto the opening of the cervix.
If you have not dilated or ripened at all, your doctor may give you hyaluronidase. This enzyme is created in bovine testes and is used as an injection to soften and dilate the cervix. There are also intravenous ways to induce labor, but your doctor is the only one who can prescribe them and give you them safely. Since intravenous medications for cervical dilation can make labor pains more intense, it is more comfortable to use different options for inducing labor.
3. Take a Walk
Walking is excellent for speeding up labor because it uses gravity and your natural body movement to help your baby move into the birth canal. The pressure of the baby’s head helps to stimulate the cervix to ripen, dilate and thin. Walking is also useful for encouraging contractions. To stay safe, have someone else take a walk with you for support as you try to walk as much as possible.
4. How to Dilate Faster: Nipple Stimulation
Nipple stimulation is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get your cervix to dilate. When your nipples are stimulated, it helps to release the hormone oxytocin, which helps to stimulate dilation and labor. There are also hormones found in semen like prostaglandins that can help to encourage labor. Having sexual intercourse can help prepare your body for birth, and oxytocin released during your orgasm can also stimulate cervical dilation. These hormones are so effective that doctors will sometimes prescribe them through medication, but your body is also capable of producing the same hormones.
5. Try Exercising Gently
If your doctor has said that it is safe for you, you can try to do gentle exercises. Try walking for a short distance to help with dilation. Stairs can also help to stretch and dilate your cervix if you do long, slow strides. Walking with a wider and slower pace can also help to stretch your cervix. Be extremely careful as you do either of these activities, and you should always have a friend, family member or partner nearby for support if you need it.
6. Use Acupressure
Acupressure is similar to the acupuncture needles that are used on pressure points. Instead of using needles, you just apply pressure to certain points on your body. For dilation, you should focus on the webbing between your thumb and your forefinger. When you press it, it will most likely feel slightly tender as you grow closer to labor. Use your other hand to apply pressure to the spot for a minute. Then, take a two-minute break before doing the same pressure point on your other hand.
7. Use a Birth Ball
If you do not want to try walking or stairs, you can try using a birth ball instead. Sit on the ball with your legs spread far apart. A chair or your bed can be used to rest your upper body. Meanwhile, squat down on the ball. This motion will help to widen your pelvis and relax the muscles in your pelvis. Rocking gently on the ball can help gravity and the movement to bring your baby’s head farther down toward your cervix. This, in turn, will help to stimulate dilation.
8. Go to the Bathroom
If your bladder is completely full, it can prevent contractions from happening. This can result in less pressure on your cervix and a slower rate of dilation. Make sure to empty your bladder regularly.