Levels of Augmentation

(back to Birth Plans, back to Birth Education)

There are various ways to help facilitate some change in the progress of labor.  Many are listed here, in order from least interventive (“natural”) to more interventive (“medical”).  Please know that many “natural” techniques are not scientifically proven and/or their effectiveness may be in conjunction with dangerous side effects.  Please discuss all “natural” options with your care provider (OB or midwife), whether or not your doula is versed on the topic or not, including exactly how to prepare or present the option.


  • walking, lunging, singing, praying, relaxing, car ride,  oxytocin release (doula can support), massage, effleurage, brushing teeth, hydrotherapy, various “yoga” type positions (doula can support), chiropractic care, herbal bath: yarrow, sage, oregano and nettle.

External – More Intensive

  • nipple stimulation, accupressure/puncture


  • raspberry leaf tea, Lady’s Mantle, eggplant parmesan, oregano, pineapples, spicy foods, “labor cookies“, intercourse, coffee or other stimulants
  • Spatone, chlorophyll, Floradix, hemoplex, spirulina, alfalfa, red clover or nettle can help restore iron drained through blood loss.

Internal – More Intensive

  • cohoshes, primrose, fresh parsley, castor oil/enema, cotton root bark, angelica, pennyroyal (please see this external article regarding herbal augmentation) , vodka (some believe that any alcohol, however, can actually stall labor.  Again, all of these “natural” methods need to be discussed with your provider.)


  • vaginal exams, stripping membranes, cervical ripening agents (Misoprostil), Foley bulb (see Artificial Induction birth method for information on Misoprostil, Foley and other augmentation options)

Medical – More Intensive

  • cytotec, Pitocin, forceps/vacuum/episiotomy, planned Cesarean, emergency Cesarean (see Full Term Birth Plan for information on these options)
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