How do enemas induce labor?

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How do enemas induce labor?
(Penny Matthews -- http://www.sxc.hu/profile/ZoofytheJi)

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What is an Enema?

An enema is a method of introducing liquid into the rectum and colon by way of an enema bag. The liquid-filled bag is connected to a tube which is inserted into the anus. The liquid cleanses the rectum and colon and some health professionals believe that it purifies and toxifies the body.

An enema can be given in the comfort of your own home by a partner or health professional, or you can have a trained professional give you an enema in a medical setting. The liquid in an enema is usually water, although it can be other substances, including coffee or tea.

How Do Enemas Induce Labor?

When liquid from an enema is introduced into the bowels, it causes the bowels to contract. As the bowels empty, the uterus will also begin to contract, causing the baby to be pushed out of the uterus. Enemas are not given by doctors to induce labour and are generally only practised by midwives. Your midwife will only use an enema to induce labour if you are overdue or having a particularly painful contractions but your cervix is not yet completely dilated.

Warnings

Getting an enema, especially while pregnant, is not approved by the FDA and should only be used at your own risk. Do not give yourself an enema while you are pregnant if you are not ready to have the baby, as it may cause premature delivery.

Your doctor or midwife can recommend other ways to induce labour other than having an enema, so if you feel uncomfortable about getting one, ask about your other options, which include safer alternatives, like nipple stimulation.

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