Feature image from GRACE&GLAMOUR
Ok, so this is not really a post about living with ITP, but it will concern a lot of people with ITP if they are going to have a baby. From what I’ve read online, and from my own experience, most pregnant women with ITP will likely be encouraged to have an induction as a means of minimising risks.
There are many benefits and many problems with inductions. The biggest problem is a failed induction… and then where can you go from there. Inductions are not fool proof. The often fail to induce the longer for labor and in many cases will end up in a caesarian. You only need to watch a few episodes of ONE BORN EVERY MINUTE to see how frequently inductions end in surgery.
If you are pregnant with ITP, you do not have to have an induction, it is up to you. When the time comes, it is up to you, to evaluate the risks and decide what is best for you.
However, if you are reading this post, you are already in the middle of the pregnancy / induction dilemma, so I will spare you the speech about natural birth. I’m sure very little about your pregnancy could be classified as ‘natural’. I will focus on the benefits.
An induced labor means that your doctors and caregivers can prepare for the birth. It means that you will be in a monitored environment. Having an induction (or planned caesarian) is a good way to manage your medication and platelet counts at the time of the birth. It can be better when you have a date and can prepare. In my case, I was on a number of medications during the pregnancy to thin my blood, that needed to be tapered back and stopped before labor.
Having an induction (or planned caesarian) means that doctors will be able to prepare for and manage your specific bleeding risk. This might require blood bank or making sure the right doctors are on hand.
So with the biggest problem being a potential failed induction, what can you do to help things along?
Natural Ways to Assist with an Unnatural Induction
Manual Milking – (I know right!) – A few times a day can cause your body to release the hormone oxytocin, which brings on contractions. But when it comes to natural ways to induce labor, practitioners generally don’t recommend this one. That’s because it can cause painfully long and strong uterine contractions that could potentially lower fetal heart rate. So unless your practitioner monitors this technique, hands off the nipples (and tell your partner to lay off too!). You’ll get plenty of nipple action once your newborn arrives and starts looking for food.
Breast Stimulation (It should really be called nipple stimulation) This is a very enjoyable kind of foreplay. You can use your imagination.
Pelvic Floor Exercises with an Epi-No – An Epi-No is a small balloon that can be inserted into the vagina to help stretch and tone the cervix area in preparation for birth. They are inserted into the body and then inflated to the desired size before beginning exercises. These machines are amazing.
If you haven’t already got one, I would recommend trying to get your hands on one for the last few weeks of the pregnancy. Everyone I know who used one has sworn by it. Just make sure you buy a new one or get one from a trusted friend. EPI-NO‘s are not something you want to buy second hand.
Labour Inducing Massage – These are done by trained massage therapists that focus on releasing the muscles of the lower back, hips and groin area. They may also focus on releasing tension from your back and neck depending on how you are feeling.
Acupressure – Is the close DIY cousin of acupuncture. It’s about stimulating the correct areas of the body along the proper meridian lines to get that baby moving. Here’s a great GUIDE on how to do it for yourself.
Walking – Many midwives swear by the natural power of walking. Rocking your hips back and forth helps the baby get into position. walking up and down steps is also a good one.
Sex – Need we say more. If you can do it, go for it!
Relaxation – Easier said than done (which is why people often turn to massage). Relaxation is your best friend. Staying calm and happy will relax your muscles, and release oxytocin into your body, which is the chemical needed to progress labor. What you need is a lot of the love drug.
Meditation and even just cuddling with your partner can help you relax, which might get your oxytocin levels pumping. It’s no coincidence that the majority of labors will begin late at night, when an expectant mom is warm and cozy in bed. In this state, the body is more likely to release of oxytocin.
Sleep – See above. Sleeping is probably the hardest one to do but the most beneficial for you body going into labor.