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Natural Ways to Stop and Prevent Pre-term Labour/Labor

November 2, 2011

Pre-term labour is defined as labour which begins earlier than 37 weeks of gestation.  If you are reading this, then I’m guessing that you’re already experiencing some contractions earlier than what’s considered “normal” and that you know the benefits of keeping your baby inside as long as you can.

But what if it feels like your uterus has other ideas… well there are a number of natural ways that you can encourage your uterus to relax and  calm down.

This post is meant to offer you some alternative therapies.  I hope these ideas will help keep your little one inside where he/she can grow best.

Rest and Relaxation – First off the best thing you can do is relax and take it easy.  Relaxation in cases of pre-term labour is associated with calming the uterus down and stopping or weakening the contractions (or surges as I like to call them).

Very likely your doctor or midwife will take you off work.  This does not mean that you are now free to work at home.  REST is what is required by your body to help grow your baby.  So if you have other small children – get help for childcare or keep them in their dayhome or daycare. At home, spend time RESTING rather than “getting stuff done”.  Your most important job right now is to grow your baby.  Make sure your family knows this, so they can support you.   If your midwife or doctor has prescribed bedrest, let your friends  and family know so that they can provide support and as well as entertainment.  Days spent on bedrest can sometimes feel very long.  Friends and family can help with that.

Use every tool or trick in your toolbox to keep your stress levels low.  Talking with friends about your emotions or journaling about the way that you are feeling, are both good and safe ways to release difficult emotions.  Reducing your stress and taking care of your emotional health will increase your chances of going full term.   This review of 15 different studies found that increased level of cortisol (an important stress hormone) is correlated with increase risk of preterm labour. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19614873

So if you have any access to counseling or hypnotherapy this is the time to take advantage of it.

Baths – Taking baths is also a really effective way to get your uterus to calm down when it starts to become active.  This is especially helpful if you notice an increase in the frequency or intensity of the surges.  Whenever this happens (often in the evenings) draw yourself a nice relaxing warm bath.  Often this will be enough to settle things down.  Remember to keep the water at body temperature (36 degrees Celsius)

Relaxation CD – A recording with a guided relaxation can be wonderful to help you become deeply relaxed.  If  you are already doing hypnobirthing, keep listening to the CD but increase the frequency – twice or three times each day rather than just once a day.  If you don’t have access to a CD – please visit my website where you can purchase a copy.

Visualization Practice – Your mind and your body are intimately connected.  You can create physical change in the body by changing thoughts and feelings in your mind.  Often when women are diagnosed with pre-term labour they simply accept that their baby will come early.  When in fact – this is only a possibility.  It is also a possibility that you will carry your baby to term.   So why not focus on the positive outcome and put your mind’s energy in that direction.

Beautiful blue satin ribbons can be used to represent the internal muscles of the uterus which run in concentric horizontal circles around the cervix up toward the top of the uterus.  Typically in labour you visualize these muscles swirling up and out of the way.  In the case of pre-term labour – you visualize the opposite happening.  Keep the ribbons/muscles tight and secure holding baby in place.   Visualize your beautiful beautiful blue ribbons, instead of them being loose and soft, imagine instead that they are neatly and securely tied in bow, hammocking and protecting baby and keeping the cervix closed, until they are required to open.

If you are familiar to hypnobirthing, use the control valve – but change it so that the control valve controls the surges and the uterus.  Imagine a dial like the control knob on your stove, move the dial over from surges being high/medium or low – to off.   Some days  you might have to “check in” with your subconscious mind and make sure the surge control valve is still set to off.  If you experience a day with more surges (contractions), then check in – and if you find the valve has moved over to the on position – create a “hold button” – so that the surges stay off.  I have worked with many women who were able to hold off their labour using this technique.  The power of our own minds never ceases to amaze me!

Affirmations – Be attentive to your own self-talk.  Watch if you have unconsciously adopted beliefs such as “My baby is coming early”.   Change those to affirmations or statements of belief which help to keep baby in, rather than acerbate the problem.  Write affirmations pertinent to your situation such as… “My uterus is calm and quiet.” “My baby is growing and maturing to be ready for life outside my womb.” “Staying calm and relaxed helps my body to keep my baby safely inside.” You’ll think of many others.  Repeat these affirmations to yourself continually.

Diet – What you eat affects your baby.  Calcium especially is supposed to help prevent preterm labor.  So eat food rich in Calcium. Nettle leaf herbal tea is a good source and safe for pregnancy.  The daily amount recommended is 1500mg of calcium and 750mg of magnesium daily for this purpose, as an aside magnesium sulfate is sometimes used in hospitals to stop labor.  Colonization of the vagina by certain bacteria can also increase the chances of pre-term labour, so re-establishing good bacterial flora is a good idea.  Natural yogurt is a good source as are probiotics.   Eating a diet rich in vitamin C seems to help keep the bag of water intact longer.  So eating an orange a day is a good routine to get into.  Re-examining your diet to make sure you are meeting all of your nutritional needs is a good idea.  Stay away from inflammation increasing foods such as refined sugars, polyunsaturated vegetable oils (such as safflower, soy, sunflower, and corn oil) and processed meats.  Eats lots and lots of fruits and veggies.  They reduce inflammation which has been linked to preterm labour.  Increase your consumption of omegas from safe fish.  No tuna ladies; it’s got too much mercury.   Be sure to take your prenatal vitamins.

Add Juice Plus to Your Healthy Eating Plan.  Juice Plus is the concentrated (dehydrated) juice powder from 25 fruits, berries and vegetable. The fruits and veggies are pesticide free and vine ripened – allowing them to grow to maximum nutrient density.  Then they are pressed and the juice is extracted.  (If you are unfamiliar with juicing – it’s an excellent to get more nutrients into your body).  Finally using low temperatures to  preserve the enzymes, the water and sugars are removed.  Leaving only the concentrated juice powder behind.  The remaining juice power contains all the phytonutrients, such as antioxidants vitamins and minerals that the plant had.  We know this for sure because Juice Plus is backed by research.  There are currently 22 published studies in respected peer-reviewed medical journals about what Juice Plus does in the body.  These studies are done at the highest level of research – placebo-controlled and double-blind.  You can read the research here.   Most importantly for you struggling to keep your baby inside,  is the study that was done with pregnant moms.  The study involved 356 mothers.  Half took prenatal vitamins, the other half prenatal vitamins and Juice Plus.  In the Juice Plus group there were NO premature babies.  You read that right.  None of the Juice Plus babies were born before 37 weeks.   In the control group – 20% of the babies were born premature.  In addition, none of the Juice Plus babies needed the NICU or had respiratory distress.  None of the Juice Plus moms developed pre-eclampsia, as compared to 21% of the vitamin taking moms.  That to me is amazing.  Although on the other hand – it makes perfect sense – everyone agrees that eating more fruits, berries and vegetables – makes us healthier.   Healthier moms mean healthier babies.  And best of all – adding 25 veggies, fruits and berries to your diet every single day is affordable.  Juice Plus costs $3 a day.  You couldn’t eat that much for that price.  You can download your own copy of the pregnancy study here.    If you want to start Juice Plus, please call me, I can get it to your doorstep in 3 days!  306-502-5477.   marie.berwald@birthbliss.ca

Water - It seems so simple – and it is, but drinking enough water and making sure you are well hydrated at all times can definitely make a big difference.  The recommendation is that you take your body weight and divide it by half.  Then drinking that amount in ounces each day.  So if you weight 180 pounds, half of that would be 90.  So 90 ounces of water – or 11 glasses (8oz size) of water a day.  A really good tip is to actually pour out all glasses of water in the morning and leave then on your counter or bedside table (if you are on bedrest).  That visual reminder is a great way to actually drink that much water each day.

A Glass of Wine – I know this seems crazy since you have hopefully been abstaining from alcohol during your pregnancy.  However these days many doctors and midwives advocate the use of alcohol to forestall labor. Studies have shown that a glass of wine can relax the muscles enough to lower activity in the uterus. This small amount of alcohol late in the pregnancy will not harm your baby. Stay off your feet and relax as much as possible afterward.  And as always, it’s always best to check with your care provider first.

Homeopathic Remedies – There are a number of homeopathic remedies which are said to help in this situation.  Most traditionally trained doctors won’t know what to make of these remedies and will often dismiss them offhand.  That however doesn’t mean they aren’t effective.  In fact I have know many women to took them remedies in conjunction with the above techniques and held off labour until term.   They are safe for pregnancy – but it is a good idea to take them in the dosages recommended by someone trained in homeopathic medicine.  Ask around in your area for a good naturopathic or homeopathic doctor.  If you live in my area (Regina, Saskatchewan) contact me directly I will point you in the right direction.   Some remedies to ask about are Black Haw tincture, Valerian root, a herb that promotes healthy sleep, Wild Yam capsules (which also discourage contractions) and  Crampbark. Flaxseed Oil is not difficult to come across and is believed to be helpful, too.  As mentioned above – PLEASE PLEASE take these remedies under the supervision of a care provider.

Polar Bear Position – Spend time (a lot of time) in the polar bear position – see picture to the right. This will take pressure off your cervix. I personally know a woman who had early surges and cervical change and her cervix actually closed again due to the polar bear position.  (There is a picture of this position in the Hypnobirthing textbook near the back about page 260 at the end of the section on birth positions.)  It’s a position that moves baby closer to your lungs and away from the cervix.  Spend some time (15 minutes x 4 times a day)  in this position every day.

Avoiding Oxytocin and Prostaglandin – These are two of the major hormones responsible for labour.  Your midwife or doctor may have already recommended that you limit your release of these hormones.  You can do this by using a condom during sex, since semen contains prostaglandins, the chemicals which soften the cervix and lead to contractions.  Also avoid breast or nipple stimulation and having an orgasm, all of which release oxytocin – the hormone which initiates contractions.

Finally I want to state that pre-term labour is a serious issue.  Please make sure that you are getting the medical help and support that you need.   My deep hope is that care providers will begin to use natural methods to stop pre-labour in conjunction with their typical treatment protocals.  Remember the more ways that you come at this, the more likely you are to change your health for the better.

If you begin to suddenly experiencing strong pre-term labour, do not try to self-treat.  The March of Dimes urges:

Call your health care provider or go to the hospital right away if you think you are having preterm labor. The signs of preterm labor include:

  • Contractions (your abdomen tightens like a fist) every 10 minutes or more often
  • Change in vaginal discharge (leaking fluid or bleeding from your vagina)
  • Pelvic pressure—the feeling that your baby is pushing down
  • Low, dull backache
  • Cramps that feel like your period
  • Abdominal cramps with or without diarrhea

(Source: Preterm Labor and Birth: A Serious Pregnancy Complication)

Once you are getting medical care, add in the above-listed natural ways which are appropriate for you.

And may your birthing day be blessed!

Marie

ps. If you have any stories or tips to share please do so by responding to this post.

66 Comments leave one →
  1. November 2, 2011 9:15 pm

    Zinc was my saviour wjhen I started contracting at 34 weeks. Under my midwifes instructions I took quite large doses of a high strength zinc powder, contractions stopped withing a couple of hours.

  2. Tara Potter permalink
    November 4, 2011 5:25 pm

    You missed one of the biggest ones I’ve found–water! Most PTL responds quickly to getting the mom hydrated. That means drinking at least a quart of water right away and another quart or so over the next two hours. While calcium and magnesium are important, in my own pregnancies often carrying mulitples, I’ve found that protein is even more vital, over 100 grams per day.

  3. Tara Potter permalink
    November 4, 2011 5:27 pm

    Also check your temperature. If you’re running a fever and having contractions, this merits going to the nearest ER right away.

  4. Sondra permalink
    July 5, 2012 9:38 am

    Wow! This site has been the most informative that Ive found so far. I have an incompetent cervix and have already lost a baby at 29 weeks. 6 years later I am now planning to conceive again and want to be prepared. Thank you so much!!!

    • July 9, 2012 12:26 pm

      Hi Sondra,
      I’m so glad to have been helpful to you in your journey. I wish you all the best. Marie

    • Britany permalink
      December 5, 2012 12:39 pm

      Hi Sondra,
      I too went into pretem labor and had my son at 25 weeks. We just found out we are expecting another little miracle and I am so excited!!! I also cannot help but feel slightly nervous as well. I was wondering if you had become pregnant and what your experience has been so far. I also felt this was one of the most helpful pages I had read on preventing pre term labor. I definitely feel that homeopathic remedies are the way to go, but would love to hear from another first hand. God bless, and good luck!

  5. Jill permalink
    August 15, 2012 7:48 pm

    I had my first at 35 weeks with no other complications, my Dr. wants me to think about taking progesterone injections weekly but I am concerned about the long term effects not only to my baby but myself as well. I would much rather do things naturally, any advice?

    • August 22, 2012 12:07 pm

      Hi Jill,
      I’m not familiar with progesterone injections. I would suggest you do some research and get another opinion. Good luck with everything.
      Marie

  6. holly permalink
    October 13, 2012 8:07 am

    I just had a cervical cerclage placed last week at 15 weeks to help prevent preterm labour, as my cervix has already started thinning significantly. I have had a number of early losses prior to this pregnancy. I have been placed on bedrest already :( Do you have any suggestions for someone this early on in pregnancy?

    • October 19, 2012 11:26 am

      Hi Holly,
      It sounds like you are already doing everything from the conventional medical mode to help your baby stay put and grow. My suggestion is that you would now compliment that with alternative therapies. I would suggest Body Talk, Hypnotherapy and Acupuncture. All three of these are non-invasive, safe and gentle. Do you need help finding people who would do this in your area? I know that many would be willing to come to you so that you can stay on bed rest and still benefit from these therapies.
      Marie

  7. JoAnna permalink
    November 16, 2012 2:08 pm

    I delivered my son at 34 weeks. This time around they are recommending Makena shots that start every week between weeks 16-20. I’m very uneasy about this wanted to know your thoughts. I started eating an orange a day and resting much more. Just curious on your opinion

    • November 22, 2012 10:03 am

      Hi JoAnna,
      I hadn’t heard of Makena shots before your post. So I’ve been doing some research and it appears to be a relatively new treatment for pre-term labour. The March of Dimes in the Unites States as well as the FDA is supporting its use for women with a previous history of preterm labour. There are some side effects, but it’s hard to say if they would affect you or not. I have a pharmacist friend who specializes at the hospital in NICU and advises the doctors there on drug use. She is checking into it for you. When I hear back I’ll post it here.
      Good luck. Marie

      • JoAnna permalink
        November 27, 2012 8:22 pm

        Thank you I really appreciate it

    • Tara permalink
      November 22, 2012 9:10 pm

      I too haven’t heard of this drug. As to the citrus, I’d eat a grapefruit or drink some freshsqueezed lemon water or lemonaide with a minimal amount of sugar added, maybe use stevia? as well as the orange a day, an orange only has about 60mg vitamin C which may not be enough.

      • JoAnna permalink
        November 27, 2012 8:24 pm

        Will do!

      • Tara permalink
        December 10, 2012 1:39 am

        Sweet peppers and strawberries and raspberries are good sources of vitamin C too as are potatoes.

  8. Britany permalink
    December 5, 2012 12:47 pm

    Marie, I also went into preterm labor with my son at 25 weeks. I am now 8 weeks pregnan with my second. I have heard of both the cerclage and Makena injections, but am not sure I want to do either. I would love to hear what your friend in the NICU pharmacy recomends. Thank you for your knowledgeable support!

  9. Tara permalink
    December 13, 2012 12:04 am

    The cerclage can be lifesaving. It’s very individual. I had to have mine removed because it was making me contract more. With my fraternal 5 it took getting into the polar bear position alot–butt up in the air. With my identicals rest was really very key, if I got overexcited even reading a good book I’d contract, spent most of that pregnancy on alot of valium (that was a very long time ago! they gave women valium for everything! ). In retrospect that time I think I was dehydrated most of the time. Incompetent cervix is a structural problem. It’s not going to respond to homeopathics.

  10. Nicole permalink
    January 11, 2013 8:55 am

    Hi Marie. This is my first pregnancy & I am carrying twins. At my 23 week check up they found that my cervix shortened substantially it went from 31mm to 19mm in just 2 weeks. On top of that I have been having contractions all day/night since my 14th week. I was admitted to the hospital for a 24 hour mag IV & was sent home with Procardia. They recently wanted to add Terbutline, but after researching it I will not take it. I am also on home bed rest. Do you have any suggestions or someone you could refer me to for help with controlling these contractions naturally? I live in Chesterfield, MI and I am currently 24 weeks & 1 day.

    • January 12, 2013 1:55 pm

      Hi Nicole. I really believe in a combined approach. It sounds like you are already doing all of the medically traditional stuff. Have you started doing all of the above mentioned techniques as well? Look for a naturopathic or homeopathic doctor in your area. Check to make sure they are well certified and ask for their guidance as well. I wish you all the best.

  11. January 22, 2013 11:15 pm

    Marie – I am pregnant with my 3rd and had preterm labor scares with both my first two. In all my years of researching online, this is absolutely the most helpful article I have read on the issue. I’ve been getting no support from my obgyns in avoiding preterm labor to begin with, only the traditional drugs and methods to stop it once it happens. I am so ready to do this pregnancy differently this time!! I am really excited to see that there are some natural options to add into my lifestyle! I too have noticed that dehydration played a big factor in my first two preterm labor scares, and think that tracking my water intake is going to be huge as well. Thanks so much for writing this article!

    • January 25, 2013 9:24 am

      Carla – I just added information in about Juice Plus. It’s pretty amazing. Please read it over. All the best, Marie

  12. February 1, 2013 10:05 am

    Hi Marie!
    I too agree that you’ve got a great post here covering everything! I’ve been having some signs of preterm labor and am at 35 weeks so I’m definitely doing a lot of the above. I am wondering if you have any thoughts or facts about continuing to do prenatal yoga when experiencing signs of preterm labor. I can’t seem to find anything reasonable on google. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

    • February 1, 2013 11:28 am

      Hi Katarzyna
      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed this post. And you’ve also inspired me to do a new post on safe stretches while on bed rest. I’ll be working on that over the next little while. Please subscribe and you’ll receive an email when I publish it.

  13. Julianna permalink
    February 16, 2013 6:20 pm

    Hi think you might be able to give me better advice then i have been getting i have had 5 Miscarages and, I’m 25 weeks and have been being monitored for about 2 months about having a short cervix its always been under 2.9 but now its 1.8 and I’m having contractions, my dr. Has put me on indomethacin for 3 days and I’m very nervous i should be doing more. I really don’t want to lose my baby Thankx for your support

  14. Ben permalink
    March 6, 2013 5:34 am

    Thank you all sooooo much
    will share experience later as you may well understand

    Love and light to you all

    Ben, Ky, Isla and the ?

  15. samantha permalink
    March 29, 2013 3:56 pm

    who ever is giving this graceful info im in diare need to talk to you

    • April 1, 2013 8:45 pm

      Hi Samantha
      How can I help?

      • February 9, 2014 2:03 am

        Marie

        I am so glad i have found this sight. This is my 3rd pregnancy. First one came on 36 weeks and second one on 34 weeks. I am so25 weeks with some braxton hiccups . Baby is lying very low so my cervix is taking some hammering . It is still thick and closed. They have started me on progesterone ,but i am so nasues and very very tired on it. Alternativly what can i use ……she must stay put for as long as possible ….i live in south Africa.

  16. lucy permalink
    April 15, 2013 11:52 am

    My doctor wants me to take Makena and i am very nervous about it. Do you know much about this? I delivered at 35 weeks last time, but i had a perfectly healthy little guy with zero complications. I am tired of taking an injection or pill for everything and am pretty skeptical. I noticed in the comments that several people asked about it, but I wasn’t sure if you were able to track down much information. Most of my internet research is provided by the drug company which is bias in my opinion. What are your thoughts?

    • Megan permalink
      July 11, 2013 11:54 am

      I’m on Makena presently with my second. I presume you have read all the info that came with the Makena Welcome Pack that your doctor gave you. The list of potential risks and side effects for mom and baby is daunting to say the least. I delivered Eva at 34.5 weeks and she stayed in the NICU for two weeks. When I read all the info, I felt the same as you did. The reality is that a history of premature birth presents a higher risk for subsequent and earlier premature births. When I compared the risks of having an early baby to the risks of Makena, they were about even. But, if the Makena works, (which is not guaranteed) then you have a better chance of having a full term baby. So that’s what I ran with. These decisions are so difficult to make. Unfortunately, the Makena isn’t 100% effective for me. I’m 29 weeks and was put on bed rest almost three weeks ago. I’m still taking he Makena simply because my efacement is around 60%, cervical length on the “short side of normal,” and my cervix is still closed. My current condition is indeed better than it was with my first born. So, if the Makena is contributing anything to this modicum of success, then I don’t want to stop using it. It’s all so frustrating and confusing. I realize this comment is coming months after the fact, but just thought I would share my thoughts for anyone else who is reading. Be well!

  17. Sveta permalink
    May 20, 2013 5:04 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful article!! It really helped us!!!
    I read it when I started having preterm labor at 33 weeks and 4 days, we went to the hospital with me having strong contractions every 5 min dilated to 3 cm and bleeding. The doctors were so sure I would deliver the same day. But we stayed super positive, prayed, visualized everything you mentioned in your post, talked to the baby and my body, and my labor stopped, where were no more dilation, no more blood. They obviously gave me some drugs too, IV and the corticosteroids for the baby just in case. But the power of your mind and your attitude are incredible. After 30 hours of hospitalization I am finally home on bed rest, ordered JuicePlus as well. We talked to the holistic midwife in our area (Salt Lake City, UT) and she recommended eating every 2 hours, more protein and 1-2 times a day warm baths with Epsom Salts (magnesium really helps to stop contractions) additional to some of your above recommendations.
    Hopefully, doing all this stuff will help me to carry a full term baby.
    The question: Will polar bear position help me if I am already dilated? Should I do it more often?

    • Tara permalink
      June 9, 2013 4:48 pm

      Yes, do it at least 2 times a day.

  18. Pbala permalink
    June 17, 2013 2:16 pm

    Hi

    In my previous pregnancy i was diagnosed as IC & had a miscarriage @ 20wks. I want to knw in which month i shuld strt doing the polar bear pose in next pregnancy to avoid pre term.

  19. Megan permalink
    June 27, 2013 5:33 am

    This is all wonderful and very helpful information. Can you elaborate on how calcium is aid to slow down preterm labor when it is a necessary nutrient for smooth muscle contraction? It’s a little confusing. It’s one of the MANY moments where natural medicine conflicts directly with conventional western medicine. For example, Procardia (often prescribed to stop or slow contractions) is by definition a calcium channel blocker. I guess what I’m asking is, what is it specifically about calcium that slows down/prevents cervical changes? I am a massage therapist specializing in pre/peri/postnatal massage. I am also on strict bed rest at 27 weeks with my second baby. So, I’m learning on two counts!! Thanks!

  20. anastasia permalink
    July 7, 2013 9:09 pm

    Hello Marie, thank u for such great info!! I am in brooklym, ny. Would u recoomend a holistic droctor or midwife in my area? Thanks again!

    • July 8, 2013 3:08 pm

      Hi Anastasia,
      I personally don’t know anyone in Brooklyn that I could recommend. However I would suggest that you call a few doulas or birth workers in your area or the local hypnobirthing instructor… these type people are usually pretty connected to the local birth community and would be able to point you in a good direction. Good luck and all the best. Marie

  21. July 11, 2013 2:45 am

    I recently experienced preterm felt horrible it hit me all at once…dull backaches diarrhea constant tighening headache sparp pains in back. Just pure pain. Luckily I didn’t get worst I was treated with lots and lots of fluids and was told to drink more water. I was severely dehydrated. My babygirl was nt affected at all I didn’t dilate so that was good and she still active since I first felt her at 15 wks and hasn’t changed a bit. She wouldn’t be still when they were trying to monitor her lol overall during the summer heat you have to stay hydrated 8 glasses water. Resting warm bath lots of fruits and veggies but most off staying hydrated…both babygirl and are fine. I’m only 33 weeks…so praying she’s stays alot longer until she’s fully ready.

  22. Megan permalink
    July 11, 2013 5:17 am

    Hi Marie, good morning. Can you explain how calcium reacts in the body to stop or prevent preterm labor? I thought calcium was a mineral necessary for muscle contraction, or at least that is how I’ve been taught over the past 10+ years as a massage therapist. I’m just confused. Conventional medicine prescribes Procardia, a calcium channel blocker to stop preterm labor. The medicine was created to treat high blood pressure, but it is also the “go to” drug as a tocolytic therapy these days.
    Thank you for all the wonderful information on your blog. I am 29 weeks pregnant and on bed rest, again, with my second baby. It’s been really hard this time around, but I stumbled on your post about the Blessing Way. That ceremony was presented to me years ago while I was receiving my training to specialize in fertility and pre/peri/post-natal massage. I am now planning my own Blessing Way to help lift me out of the dark place that seems oh-too-easy to go to these days. Thank you!!!

    • July 11, 2013 11:10 am

      Morning Maggy,

      Ahhh the calcium debate. I completely agree it’s a bit confusing and messy. There is an agreement in the medical community that calcium is very necessary during pregnancy and that the demands of the growing unborn baby for calcium increases during the last trimester of pregnancy when much of the baby’s bone mineralization is occurring.

      Lower amounts of calcium, as well as phosphorus and magnesium have been observed in women experiencing threatened preterm delivery. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9175669

      So basically you need calcium nutritionally because it very necessary for grow a healthy baby and as much in the above study, deficiencies in this mineral as well as others can increase the risk of pre-term labour.

      There is significant debate about the advantages of taking calcium as a supplement because it generally is not absorbed or processed by the body in the same way that calcium taken in food is. I LOVE this article for it’s discussion of the best places to find calcium nutritionally. http://jpteamsupport.com/www.jpteamsupport.com/PRODUCT_INFO_files/Calcium%20Whole%20Food%20Calcium%20vs.%20Synthetic.pdf

      A review of 21 published studies found that calcium supplementation in pill form did not change the risk of pre-term labour. So there seems to be NO advantage in taking calcium as a supplement.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21975761

      And to further complicate matters, women receiving long-term magnesium sulfate therapy, generally lose a large amount of calcium through their urine as a side effect of the treatment and have lower bone mineralization after birth. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1442953

      And yes you are correct about medicine now using calcium channel blockers as a drug to stop pre-term labour as this group of drugs has fewer adverse side effects than other tocolytic drugs previously used. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14712983. Yes you are correct that smooth muscle tissue, like the uterus, needs calcium to contract. Calcium channel blockers block the passage of calcium into certain tissues, relaxing the uterine muscles and smooth muscles of blood vessels throughout the body. However these drugs are a temporary solution as they generally only delay labour for 2-7 days. Long enough to get you to a hospital with an NICU and to get the medications into you that will help your baby’s lungs develop but not effective at getting you to full term. I really enjoyed this discussion of the most popular calcium channel blocker, nifedipine, http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/04/delaying-preterm-labor-with-nifedipine/index.htm

      So in conclusion… forget calcium supplements, just eat lots and lots of leafy greens to get the calcium that you and baby need nutritionally. There is no studies showing that eating an increase of leafy greens correlates with increased uterine activity – it just doesn’t seem to work that way in the body. Therefore there isn’t any increased risk associated with eating more calcium rich green foods; you have NOTHING to lose. Rather there are only benefits for you and baby.

      I hope that this information helps to clear things up.

      All the best,
      Marie

      ps. Blessing ways are awesome awesome. I hope that everyone who reads this post plans one for themselves as it is the best way I know of to help a woman feel love and supported in a stressful time.

  23. Gayatri permalink
    August 21, 2013 7:24 pm

    Hi I am 19 weeks and 4 days pregnant and my preterm labour start.is any way medically or any other way I can stop it?

    • Jaime permalink
      September 12, 2013 11:40 pm

      Hi I was wondering how everything worked out for you. I am 18 weeks pregnant with twins and have started contracting today. I have been in extreme pain all day and would love some advise how to stop contractions.

  24. Amber permalink
    September 3, 2013 12:33 pm

    Curious if the polar bear position is still beneficial after a cerclage has been placed?

    • September 13, 2013 7:09 am

      Hi Amber,

      You will want to check with your doctor, but I suspect that once the cerclage has been done the polar bear position would make very little difference. The cerclage generally seems to do a pretty good job of keeping the cervix closed.

      Marie

  25. negin permalink
    November 30, 2013 1:21 am

    Hi marie,
    I hada few episodes of bleeding and spotting in the first trimester which ultimately went off as the placenta moved up.however I was diagnosed with short cervix 2.6cm at 18 weeks for which I got a cerclag done. I was on bed rest throughout my pregnancy both due to bleedingand then because of cerclag. Unfortunately iI was unaware about any labour pains.Igot pain in 25 week and within few hours iI had a preterm delivery of a little heathy angle girl who lived 11 days in Nick and left us with tremendous pain. This happend just a few days back and I am studying on net on how to prevent such loss in future.plz guide me.
    Love,
    Negin

  26. Jacki permalink
    December 3, 2013 9:22 pm

    Thank you so much for this beautifully balanced article. It has given me a sense of serenity a some measure of influence over my bub’s future. I especially love that you’ve provided links to some publications, a refreshingly rare approach in a wholistic practitioner!!

  27. Jacki permalink
    December 3, 2013 9:26 pm

    And, to anyone that is prescribed indomethacin or any of the NSAID family for preterm labour… Please get a second opinion before taking it! To my knowledge this can have some serious deleterious effects on fetal circulation and is not indicated as a tocolytic!!

  28. Kate permalink
    December 12, 2013 10:07 am

    Have you created the blog you discussed above on safe yoga stretches while on bed rest?

  29. Michelle permalink
    December 13, 2013 1:55 pm

    It is NEVER safe to drink alcohol while pregnant because everyone is different and everyone’s body can respond to it in a different way- there is no safe amount!!! I can’t believe they would recommend a glass of wine!! Absolutely appalling!

    • Adriana permalink
      February 2, 2014 9:06 am

      Hi Michelle,
      I know its very, very unconventional to drink alcohol during pregnancy. However, I have a friend that had miscarriages (3 of them!)… after that, her very old fashioned Doctor (the kind that was the pediatrician, general Doc, obgyn! all together) gave her the following advised.. he suggested she drank a small quantity of a certain liquor with oj every morning for all her pregnancy. She thought he was crazy but desperate as she was followed his advised. She had 2 beautiful full term babies…hey, I couldn’t explain it either!

  30. tumi tumza permalink
    December 22, 2013 2:15 pm

    I had a preterm labour for 6 day I wonder If it will stop ,cause the dr said my cercix is not tight closed

  31. lynthia permalink
    December 25, 2013 8:59 am

    Omg this information is so helpful
    I’m 25 weeks pregnant and on bed rest due to incompetent cervix
    Everyone believes im gonna have my baby at 28 weeks but I really want to carry him full term
    Really considering the polar bear position….hope It works

  32. Evelyn permalink
    January 4, 2014 8:22 pm

    Hi I’m am at the beginning of my pregnancy with number four. My first three , my labor started at approx 28 weeks with contractions throughout the day. I was 2 centim dilate and my dr put me on strict hospital bed rest and t pump and magnesium. I found a herbatologist who recommended false unicorn and lobelia, red leaf raspberry and organic germanium…wonder if u heard of those and what u thought….

    • January 8, 2014 9:39 am

      Hi Evelyn,
      I’m not a herbalist so I can’t advise you on herbs. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with those recommendations, I would suggest that you consult another herbalist and get a second opinion. All the best.
      Marie

  33. January 29, 2014 12:23 am

    Very useful article but Can I strongly recommend against the alcohol one…..Dr’s and midwives are no experts in nutrition…….

    • Janeen permalink
      April 8, 2014 11:03 pm

      European doctors have a far different opinion on this.
      A glass of wine doesn’t hurt anyone when the rest of the diet is good. It’s poorly nourished people’s babies are affected by alcohol.

  34. Tai permalink
    January 29, 2014 12:52 am

    Hi I am 20 wks and was told my cervix is open and I can go into pre term labor I was prescribed progesterone and was wondering if with some of your methods and the prescription it would help I dont like to take any unnatural substances but I was so afraid I felt compelled to I am not contracting my cervix is just open a bit. Could I possibly stop taking the progesterone and use your methods?

    • February 3, 2014 3:50 pm

      Tashia – Progesterone is a hormone not a drug – so it is sort of natural. Before you make a decision I counsel you to get some second opinions. Talk to a couple OBs and perhaps a naturopathic doctor. All the best, Marie

  35. Sarah permalink
    February 7, 2014 3:29 pm

    I am currently at 27 weeks, I have a shorted cervix (1.3) with no opening as of yet. The perinatal Dr suggested I start a series of steriod injections to help my little girls lungs should she come early, I called my midwife and she agreed with the steroid precaution.
    My goal is obviously to go full term May 10th but to have a home birth I need to make it to April 15th. If God forbid I have my baby earlier than that my question is how many of you out there have had premature births and were there any and what type of complications with your little ones were there?

    God Bless.

  36. Evelyn permalink
    March 6, 2014 9:36 pm

    Hi there…being hat I’ve had a history of pregnancies which three out of three ended in preterm labor, I’m having a hard time with the imagery and affirmation techniques. My pregnancies were pretty similar in which I had contractions close together almost from the start and then close to week 27ended up in labor. I am not near that time yet but I am already feeling contractions. Any tips to stay positive but at the same time realistic?

    • Gayatri Patel permalink
      March 26, 2014 9:51 pm

      Hi , after one full term pregnancy I have lost three pregnancy.the last one was on 19 weeks. I am pregnant again. After 8 weeks my high risk pregnancy doctor gave me Progesteon that we can insert in virgina.and on 16 weeks they did my cervix close, and start Progesteon injection every week. And Totally reast ,no cooking no cleaning do not carry weight.prenatal vitamin + frolic acid.talk to your obgyn.without asking nobody gives you suggestion.give above options to your obgyn.i hope it’s May help for you.good luck n god bless u n your baby.
      Gayatri Patel

  37. Sarah permalink
    April 24, 2014 3:35 pm

    Hi all, Sarah again
    I just want to send a bit of hope out there to those of you worrying about preterm labor. My dr put me on bedrest 7 weeks ago when I was 30 week pregnant (I had dialated to 1 cm) at that time he told me he predicted I would have my baby in 2 weeks! Well that was 7 weeks ago!!! I have passed all the doctors expectations and am back to work and on track to have a homebirthed healthy baby girl!
    Things I did:
    STAY POSITIVE ( I posted my actual due date all around the house and thanked the Lord everyday for my strong cervix)
    I took Juice Plus (I have since run out and didn’t start it until 28 weeks into my pregnancy but hey I may have helped, plus the chewables were really good!)
    I did what the Dr instructed me to ( there were times I wanted to get up and clean or cook or take a bath…but I just did as the Dr ordered, I checked in with my midwife regularly as well)
    I drank lots of water and also took a magnesium powder called Calm)
    I honestly don’t know if any or all of these things worked or helped but what I do know is I am healthy and my baby will not be born premature!
    I thank God, prayer and positive thinking!!!
    Good luck to all!!! and God Bless!!!

  38. May permalink
    May 7, 2014 10:54 pm

    I’m 22 weeks, my 4th pregnancy, I had 2 preterm at 37 wk w my twins (2nd pregnancy) n 36 wk w my girl 3rd pregnancy, I’ve started contractions at 5 months w my girl, now w my 4th, at 22 weeks again, I’m having early signs of Braxton hicks… My doc put me on progesterone via vaginal, I don’t understand how it stops preterm, I’ve ask but the doc wasn’t clear w me….it doesn’t stop contraction but it prevents preterm… Maybe I’m the one not understanding….help?

  39. valentine robert permalink
    May 15, 2014 5:24 am

    My partner and I have been trying for a baby for over two years now, We were going to a fertility clinic for about 5 months before somebody told us to contact this spell caster who is so powerful, We contacted him at this email;fertilitysolutiontemple@live.com , for him to help us, then we told him our problem, he told us that she we either conceive in January 2013 or February 2013,but after two years of trying we were at a point where we were willing to try anything. And I’m glad we came to Dr.BABA Because he predictions put us at ease, and I honestly believe him, and his gods really helped us as well, I am thankful for all he has done. contact him via email: ;fertilitysolutiontemple@live.com if you are trying to get a baby or want your lover back. he has powers to do it, he has done mine.

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