Birth Planning, Labor Tools

Herbs for Labor: Evening Primrose

What it is: Native to North America, the Evening Primrose is so named because its yellow flowers bloom in the evening. This plant’s oil is extracted from the seeds and placed in capsules. How it works: Evening primrose oil helps to soften

Birth Planning, Labor Tools

Herbs for Labor: Comfrey Leaf

What it is: Comfrey is a perennial herb with hairy broad leaves. It’s internal use is to be avoided, however externally the leaves help prevent infection and promote healing. How it works: Comfrey leaf can be helpful after your baby is born

Birth Planning, Labor Tools

Herbs for Labor: Cohosh

What it is: Blue and black cohosh are roots from two separate plants. Blue cohosh, Caluphyllum thalictroides, is also known as squaw root, papoose root, blue ginseng or yellow ginseng. Black cohosh, Cimicifuga racemosa, is also known as baneberry, black snakeroot, bugbane,

Birth Planning, Labor Tools

Castor Oil for Labor

What it is: In an attempt to start labor, some women will drink a mixture of castor oil and juice. The various recipes for this mixture are generally called a “midwife cocktail,” or a “castor oil induction.” How it works: Castor oil

Birth Planning, Labor Tools

Herbs for Labor: Angelica Root

What it is: Angelica root has been used for women’s health in china for thousands of years. It is a uterine tonic and hormonal regulator. How it works: Angelica root is a powerful uterine stimulant. It can help to expel a retained

Birth Planning

What is synthetic oxytocin?

Oxytocin is one of the hormones that plays a part in the labor process. Injecting your body with synthetic oxytocin is expected to cause uterine contractions. It may be used to start labor, speed up a slow labor, or to cause the

Birth Planning

What is nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide is an inhaled general anesthetic commonly known as “laughing gas.” When used in labor, it is most frequently administered in equal combination with oxygen. Hospitals generally have equipment that allows manual control over the concentration of nitrous oxide. Portable equipment

Birth Planning

What is “sweeping the membranes?”

During a vaginal exam, your midwife will insert her finger through the cervix and pull the bag of waters away from the cervix. This causes your body to increase production of prostaglandins which is believed to help ripen the cervix and stimulate

Birth Challenges, Birth Planning

Am I ready to be induced?

If you decide it is best for your baby to be born right away, your chances of a successful induction will be dependent on your body’s readiness for labor. A woman with a “ripe” cervix is more likely to be successful at

Birth Planning

What is an episiotomy?

Episiotomy is a surgical cut that is made to the perineal skin (at the base of the vagina) during the pushing stage of labor. There are two main types of cuts. A midline episiotomy is cut straight down towards the anus. A