How to Use a Breast Pump to Start Labor

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Using a breast pump to induce labor can help contract the uterus, as nipple stimulation is linked to labor contractions. Apply warm compresses and a breast pump to the nipples with help from a licensed midwife in this free video on giving birth.

Part of the Video Series: Pregnancy Questions
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Video Transcript

Hi, my name is Elizabeth Bachner. I am a Licensed Midwife, a Licensed Acupuncturist and a Certified Professional Midwife. I'm talking about nipple stimulation to start contractions. Before I begin, I want to make it very clear that it's important for you to talk to your care provider and let them know what you are doing to make sure that they're part of the team while you do this at home, because sometimes nipple stimulation can over-contract the uterus, and I would never want anyone to be in an unsafe position while they're at home. So, to start, you would get an electric breast pump and you are going to put warm washcloths on both breasts, and then take the washcloth off of one breast, put the suction of the breast pump onto the first side, and you will put the machine on and let it be there for fifteen minutes. Then, you will take the equipment off of the breast, put the warm washcloth back on, unveil the other breast and then begin to stimulate the other breast for fifteen minutes. You continue doing this until you have regular, strong contractions. They'll probably take between twenty and thirty minutes. Once you get those contractions, you want to stop and let your body do what it needs to do. If the contraction should die down, you start again and then you work on it with five minutes on each side. You keep going until you get contractions that are five minutes apart, and then once that happens, you do want to stop. So, this is a handheld breast pump, and you can use a handheld breast pump, you can use an electric breast pump or you could actually do stimulation on the nipple, which is where you hold the nipple and you actually, between your two fingers, and you stimulate it. So, this part right here is what goes onto the breast and then you begin to pump. When you stimulate the breast or you have an orgasm, your body naturally releases a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin's called the love drug because you immediately fall in love. Oxytocin also helps create contractions in the body. So, when you're stimulating your nipples or stimulating your breasts, you're creating more oxytocin in the body. That oxytocin will then make some contractions in the uterus.

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