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Natural Ways to Stop and Prevent Pre-term Labour/Labor (updated April 2017)

November 2, 2011

Pre-term labour is defined as labour that 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 is 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 or she can grow best.

Rest and Relaxation – First, the best thing you can do is relax and take it easy.  Relaxation in cases of pre-term labour means calming the uterus 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.  If you have other small children, get help with childcare or keep them in their day home 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 entertainment.  Days spent on bedrest can sometimes feel very long.  Friends and family can help with that.

Use every trick in your toolbox to keep your stress levels low.  Talking with friends or journaling about the way 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.  One review of 15 different studies found that increased level of cortisol (an important stress hormone) is correlated with increase risk of preterm labour:

If you have any access to counselling or hypnotherapy, this is the time to take advantage of it.



BathsTaking a bath is a really effective way to get your uterus to calm down when it starts to become active.  This is especially helpful when you notice an increase in the frequency or intensity of the contractions or 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).    You might enjoy a hotter bath, but since that runs the risk of overheating your baby, it’s wisest and safest to stick with body temperature. Adding some Epsom salts to your bathwater is an easy way to add magnesium to your body as it is easily absorbed through the skin.  Keep reading to learn about the importance of magnesium.

BirthBliss-Pregnancy-Relaxation-Album-CoverGuided Relaxation – A recording with a guided relaxation can be wonderful.   It’s effective because it works on two levels.  As you listen, your body becomes physically more relaxed, soft and loose, and your mind releases stress and worry.   The more often you listen, the more quickly and easily you’ll slip into that comfortable, relaxed state.  I’ve created a wonderful pregnancy relaxation album specially designed to support a healthy pregnancy and birth. You can listen to the introduction (which explains exactly how it works here) and listen to a sample of the pregnancy relaxation here. 

Visualization Practice – Your mind and your body are intimately connected.  You can create physical change in the body by changing the 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 reality, this is only a possibility.  It is also possible 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.  In labour, you typically visualize these muscles swirling up and out of the way.  In the case of pre-term labour, you visualize the opposite happening—the ribbons/muscles stay tight and secure, holding your baby in place.   When you visualize your 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 with hypnobirthing, use the control valve—but change it so that the valve controls the uterine surges.  Imagine a dial like the control knob on your stove, then move the dial, 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!


AffirmationsBe attentive to your own self-talk.  See if you have unconsciously adopted beliefs such as “My baby is coming early.”   Change those to affirmations or positive statements of belief, which help to keep baby in, rather than exacerbating 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.”   “My body takes care of my baby.”   “My baby stays safe inside until I’m at least 38 weeks pregnant.”   You’ll think of many others.  Repeat these affirmations to yourself continually.

Diet – What you eat affects your baby.   Colonization of the vagina by certain “bad” bacteria can also increase the chances of pre-term labour, so re-establishing good bacterial flora is advisable.  Natural yogurt, sauerkraut, and kefir are excellent sources, as are probiotics.  Probiotic bacteria (the “good” bacteria in your gut) need fiber in order to thrive, so make sure you are getting as much fiber in your diet as you can.   Research has shown that eating a diet rich in vitamin C seems to help keep the amniotic sac (bag of waters) intact longer, so eating an orange a day is a wholesome habit. 

In fact, re-examining your diet to make sure you are meeting all your nutritional needs is a fine idea.  Stay away from inflammation-increasing foods, such as refined sugars, polyunsaturated vegetable oils (including 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.  

Also talk to your doctor about the amounts of calcium and magnesium you are taking in. Some research shows that preterm labour may be affected by how your body is dealing with calcium and magnesium.  Magnesium and calcium must be maintained in their proper balance in order to function correctly, but the average modern North American consumes far more calcium than necessary and not nearly enough magnesium.  That excess calcium can disrupt many important functions.  Too much calcium without the balance of magnesium seems to contribute to an increased risk of preterm labour.  The IMG_1851normal daily amount of calcium recommended during pregnancy is 1000 to 1500 mg, and 350 to 450 mg of magnesium. As an aside, magnesium sulfate is sometimes used in hospitals to stop labor.  Nettle-leaf herbal tea is a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium (96 mg), and vitamin C, as well as many other phytonutrients, and it is safe for pregnancy. You can also add foods that are rich in magnesium to your diet.  Magnesium is most plentiful in seeds, whole grains, some fish, leafy green vegetables, and some legumes.  Here are the most common food sources:

1 ounce pumpkin seeds: 151.9 mg
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds: 127.4 mg
1 cup cooked millet: 105.6 mg
3 ounces chinook salmon, baked or broiled: 103.8 mg
1/2 cup bran cereal: 93.1 mg
1/3 cup wheat germ: 90.9 mg
3 ounces halibut: 90.0 mg
1/2 cup cooked quinoa: 89.3 mg
1 cup spinach spaghetti: 86.6 mg
1 cup cooked brown rice: 86.0 mg
1/2 cup boiled Chinese long beans: 84.3 mg
1 ounce dry roasted almonds: 80.0 mg
1/2 cup frozen spinach, cooked and drained: 78 mg
1/3 cup tofu: 76.1 mg
1 ounce dry roasted cashews: 75.0 mg
1/2 cup cooked soybeans: 75.0 mg
1/2 cup cooked spinach: 75.0 mg
1/2 cup boiled Swiss chard: 75.3 mg
1/2 cup cooked black beans: 60.2 mg
1 cup fortified instant oatmeal, prepared with water: 55.0 mg
1 medium baked potato, with skin: 50.0 mg
2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter: 50.0 mg
1/2 cup cooked navy beans: 47.0 mg
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt: 45.0 mg
1/2 cup vegetarian baked beans: 40.0 mg

Add Juice Plus to Your Healthy Eating Plan.  Juice Plus is the concentrated (dehydrated) juice powder from 25 fruits, berries and vegetables. 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 way 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 powder contains all the phytonutrients, such as the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.  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 those of you struggling to keep your baby inside—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 was 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.  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 fresh fruit for that price.  You can download your own copy of the pregnancy study here.    If you want to start Juice Plus, I can get it to your doorstep in three days!  Get started here!  Just make sure to go to the upper right hand corner and select your country for shipping.

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 drink that amount in ounces each day.  So if you weigh 180 pounds, half of that would be 90.  You should be drinking 90 ounces of water—or 11 8-ounce glasses—a day.  A really good tip is to actually pour all the glasses of water in the morning and leave then on your counter or bedside table (if you are on bedrest).  The visual reminder is a great way to actually drink that much water each day.

Lavender Essential Oil – Essential oils can be a powerful tool for supporting a healthy pregnancy if used correctly.  Lavender is the oil of all things calming.  It’s safe to use throughout pregnancy and has a calming effect on your emotions and your muscles.   In order to use it safely during pregnancy, you’ll need a very high dilution rate.  Add one drop of pure lavender essential oil to a tablespoon of carrier oil and then rub it over your abdomen anytime your uterus starts contracting. This may encourage the uterine muscles to calm down and relax.  When used on the isolated rat uterus, it in fact reduced contractions (Lis-Balchin and Hart, 1999). Lavender oil has no apparent adverse effects during pregnancy and childbirth. It was one of ten essential oils offered to 8,058 women in an eight-year study at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, UK. during which time to was shown to reduce the need for pain medication during labour.


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 limited use of alcohol to forestall labor. Studies have shown that a glass of wine can relax the muscles enough to lower uterine activity. 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 several homeopathic remedies that 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 known many women who took homeopathic 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 (which also discourages contractions), and Crampbark. Flaxseed oil is not difficult to come across and is believed to be helpful, too.  As mentioned above, PLEASE take these remedies only under the supervision of a trained 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.  It’s a position that moves the baby closer to your lungs and away from the cervix.  Spend some time (15 minutes, four 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 that soften the cervix and lead to contractions.  Also avoid breast or nipple stimulation and having an orgasm, all of which release oxytocin, the hormone that 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 protocols.  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 experience sudden, 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)

If a preterm birth seems imminent, then your doctor or midwife may prescribe medications that stop the uterus from contracting.  Currently none of these medications has long-term effectiveness.  At most, they seem to be able to stop the uterus for a maximum of two to seven days.  Generally, they are used to create a window of time in which you can be moved to a hospital that is equipped to deal with a preemie and to give them time to administer drugs to help your baby’s lungs develop, which is critical to your baby’s health.  One of these types of drugs are calcium channel blockers.   Here is the latest Cochrane review (which looks at all research to date on a particular subject), and one other review.

 Once you are getting medical care, add the natural methods I’ve listed above that are appropriate for you.

And may your birthing day be blessed!


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


80 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.

    • Camille permalink
      April 19, 2015 7:03 pm

      Water was in the article.

    • emilyturner23 permalink
      January 8, 2016 5:21 pm

      she wrote about water…..

  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!

      • wanda permalink
        July 6, 2014 7:26 am

        wow god is great guy had a baby@25wks im already @that stage and the baby want to come out at the hospital shes ok inside and they monitored not to come out on labour pains and bleeding just hope and pray everything wil be ok.

  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.

      • Lisa Salazar permalink
        January 23, 2015 2:11 pm

        4 yrs ago I had my youngest at 33wks another lady was around the same as me. I refused the progesterone and she took the injection. I did however have the injection that helped my sons lungs developed faster. Long story short

        Me without progesterone: my son was born 3lbs 4 oz 14 1/2 in long he was perfect was able to breathe on his own, feed ect. The drs said he was like a full term baby just small
        The lady that took the progesterone herlilittle girl was born with many difficulties and had to stay on the hospital post due date. She herself even believed the injection had something to do with it. Because another lady who we found out later on refused the injection as well and her daughter was ok as well.
        I know I have no one to thank for my son except the Good Lord God himself. Im 18wks at the moment and God forbid if I have preterm labor again I will refuse the injection again. Just a personal experience/preference. Hope this helps anyone on the ropes.

  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.

  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


        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


    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.

      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.

      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.

      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.

      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. 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,

      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,

      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 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.


  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.

  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.

  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 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; , 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: ; if you are trying to get a baby or want your lover back. he has powers to do it, he has done mine.

  40. Kelly permalink
    June 28, 2014 6:43 am

    I was diagnosed with to much amino fluid around baby and had bv.I went into preterm labour at 29 weeks which thankfully they stopped, I am on bed rest now eating oranges everyday and was wondering if the polar bear position will help stop me going into pre term labour again and how can I get further as they expect me to only get to 34 weeks due to the pressure on the cervix . How do you help the uterus take on more as the main issue is waters breaking or cervix dilation .

  41. niki permalink
    August 23, 2014 10:46 am

    Hi marie
    I m 19 weeks pregnant and i m suffering through stomach tightning, constipation, gas, and frequent uterine contraction, so i m feeling pain in my abdomen and cervix, my docter suggested me to take stitches in cervix next week as it has been started opening.can u help me out m whole day worried about it.

  42. parishy permalink
    October 1, 2014 2:02 am

    i m 29 week pragnant and i had sever labor pain last sunday but now i m fine i relax my utrus with deep breathing and lying on left side ,,but still i feel sometime a little contractions and pressure ,, will u please suggest me something to avoid preterm labor ,,its my first baby and i m 22 yrs old, i dont want to lose it plz

  43. Lara Kelly permalink
    November 27, 2014 10:06 am

    Hi Marie…I was 1 cm dilated at 23.5 weeks with a cerclage. They just did a second one and I’m now on hospital bed rest. I have had the steriod shots in case baby is born too soon…so far so good though. My naturopath and doula have a good plan for me to help support this baby longer, which include a lot of your ideas. Wondering if you could send me anything on holistic support for bed rest. Any stretches, etc…would be great. I joined your subscription, so you have my email…thanks.

  44. Christina permalink
    February 1, 2015 8:48 pm

    chiropractic care has been helpful in stopping pre-term labour.

  45. Shannon permalink
    July 19, 2015 6:37 am

    My 2nd baby Was not a very good experience. I was having labour for more then 2/3 of the day for 3 weeks. I did everything I could to relax my uterus and stop the labour. I eventually and slowly made it to 37 weeks exactly before gave up stopped trying to stave it off and took an epidural. He was born 8 hours after I made the concious decision that I was done stopping that train.

    I spent the first 2 trimesters of this
    Pregnancy convincing myself
    That this wouldn’t happen again. That this was because my first 2 were so close together. That this baby would have her own birth story. I’m so disheartened to find that this body of
    Mine just doesn’t want
    To keep babies in. Today I’m at 33 weeks. I’ve already been to the hospital 3x for contractions. Tomorrow I beg
    My ob to take me off work since work makes it worse. At the moment I can’t imagine a world where I can successfully hold back
    Labour for 4 more weeks.

  46. Kenia permalink
    March 22, 2016 9:17 pm

    Hello Marie, I was just in the hospital with pain and the nurse thought it was just due to pressure until I started contracting. She had suggested a pregnancy belt for the pressure. Do you think this would help with the contractions as well?

  47. Daphna permalink
    October 1, 2016 2:31 pm

    I found a great YouTube video for pregnancy bed rest workout. And coconut water is great for hydration

    • Ama permalink
      January 24, 2017 4:09 pm

      I’m at 31weeks of pregnancy with cervix size 2.5cm.dr.tell me I m on risk of preterm birth,now I m on bed rest and progesterone and another supplements..Plz tell me….I m so nervous that is it possibility to preterm birth…If I m taking bed rest properly and follow all Dr.prescriptions.

  48. Amy Monceaux permalink
    February 28, 2017 1:01 am

    I’m about 23 weeks pregnant and I recently had a cerclage in, I got sent home from the hospital and got sent home with meds. Drs said bath once a day with Dail soap (antimicrobial) and bed rest. What are some ways I can help with my cerclage so it won’t give out ?
    I had a miscarriage my first pregnancy at 22 weeks, so far my 2nd pregnancy is going good. I just don’t want my babyboy to come early ! When should I expect for labor? How do I keep the baby and my water up high? When is it safe to schedule delivery?

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