Laminaria For Labor Induction?

I am four days past my due date and my doctor has scheduled me for induction. My cervix is not ripe and there is no dilation. I'm 35 and this is my first baby. He wants to use Laminaria to ripen my cervix. I have heard that this method is archaic and that prostaglandin should be used. Why would my OB, who is highly respected, prefer an outdated method? Are there things I can try at home to help labor get started and avoid an induction?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Laminaria "tents" are made from the dried stems of a seaweed plant and have been used for induction of labor for over 100 years. When inserted into the cervix, the stem swells three to four times and causes the cervix to open slightly. These are usually kept in place for 6 to 12 hours.

Even though laminaria is "archaic," it does still work for some women. Care providers all have there "favorite" methods of labor induction and we try to adapt these to the client's needs. Your physician has undoubtedly used this with some success and it is certainly one of the least "invasive" of the methods. You would not need to have an IV or have your membranes ruptured or have medications unless this did not work.

Prostaglandin is a very accepted form of cervical ripening and it would be good to ask him what has led him to prefer the laminaria.

Other methods which have been used include: intercourse, nipple rolling, herbs such as blue or black cohosh, evening primrose oil, red raspberry leaf tea, castor oil, enemas, breaking the bag of waters and even acupuncture.

Your provider might try "stripping" or "sweeping" the membranes during your next internal exam. This often starts progstaglandin production, which leads to labor.

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