As most women begin to get towards the end of their pregnancy, they can often start to feel tired and fed up and look for natural ways to induce labor.
Whilst I am a big advocate for doing things naturally in pregnancy. I do also think that you need to be very cautious when it comes to bringing on labor naturally at home.
I get it though because I for one am ALWAYS overdue! It happened in every single one of my pregnancies.
My pregnancies are very hard to deal with and I am always eagerly awaiting my due date. Partly because I can’t wait to meet my new baby but also because I am tired.
I am tired of my back hurting, my feet hurting, not feeling like myself and having low levels of iron. If I can find safe natural ways to induce labor, I’m sure going to try them!
I totally get the fact that you are looking for natural ways to induce labor. I’ve been there myself.
THINGS YOU MAY WANT TO CAREFULLY CONSIDER BEFORE BRINGING LABOR ON NATURALLY
You must always consider your baby before taking any action.
Even though you are given a due date when you get pregnant, just remember that it is an estimated date and not guaranteed.
In fact, only 5% of women give birth on their given due date. (source)
The only person in the whole world that knows when your baby will be ready to make an appearance is your baby.
You can give your baby a little nudge here and there (not literally) but never force yourself to go into labor prematurely.
It is extremely dangerous to force labor to start.
A full-term pregnancy is anywhere from 37 – 42 weeks.
Forcing your baby to make an appearance before they are ready will do more harm than good.
The only incubator you need to see your baby in is the one in your belly, it is the safest place for your baby to be.
Before you do take any action to induce labor, make sure you check with your doctor or midwife first.
WHAT DO WE MEAN WHEN WE TALK ABOUT NATURAL WAYS TO INDUCE LABOR?
Bringing on labor naturally means doing things that will not hurt yourself or your baby but will cause labor to kick start.
There are ways that your doctor can kickstart labor for you if your situation becomes dangerous but we are not talking about those methods today.
We are talking about methods that you can use at home to naturally bring on labor that is not harmful to your baby.
REASONS FOR WANTING TO BRING ON NATURAL LABOR
No one fully knows how labor begins but most pregnant women start to obsess over it as their due date gets closer or even goes past.
Usually, most doctors will tell you that you can go up to 2 weeks overdue without suffering any complications.
After these two weeks there begins to be some risk to the baby and yourself.
At this point, you will be given some options from your doctor.
They will likely advise you at first to see if you can bring on labor naturally, to begin with at home.
If not then you will need to look at more medical options to induce your baby.
The more overdue you get the higher the level of risk to both of you.
This is the reason you may want to start thinking about how to bring on labor yourself whilst at home.
NATURAL WAYS TO INDUCE LABOR AT HOME
First of all, let me just start by saying that there is no 100% sure fire way to get your baby moving if they are not ready with any of the methods listed below.
Some women claim that they do work and some are not so sure.
If you are anything like me, you will probably want to give it a try all the same – just in case.
Exercise is probably going to be one of the safest ways for you to bring on labor.
Unless you are on bedrest instructions, you should really be exercising throughout your pregnancy anyway.
Exercising will keep you fit and healthy and prepare you for going into labor.
You can try going for walks, do lunges or climb stairs.
I’m sure most women want to believe this works. In fact, I’m sure most men think that this is the answer to all their wife’s problems.
I can understand where the theory of having sex to induce labor comes into the play.
When you have sex the semen that is released contains prostaglandin which is also used by doctors in the hospital to induce labor when a woman is overdue.
Going by this theory having sex should bring on your contractions.
3. SPICY FOODS
There is no evidence that this actually works.
The reasoning behind why eating spicy food works is because the uterus is located next to the bowel.
If you upset the bowel it will, in turn, irritate the uterus, cause contractions and make you go into labor.
Just be careful with this one because you could just end up with a nasty case of heartburn or a very upset stomach!
4. RED RASPBERRY LEAF TEA
Let me just say that there is a big difference between red raspberry leaf tea and raspberry tea, or flavored tea.
Raspberry leaf tea is made of leaves and it comes from the red raspberry plant.
It tastes nothing like raspberries.
Raspberry leaf tea is supposed to help naturally induce labor by speeding up the process.
Some studies have shown that women who start drinking red raspberry leaf tea early enough tend to go into labor just before their due date.
Whether this is true or not, your guess is as good as mine.
I did take it in my pregnancies but more so because I liked the taste rather than me thinking that it would send me into labor early.
You can purchase some red raspberry leaf tea here.
It’s worth a shot!
5. NIPPLE STIMULATION
This is quite a funny one because I had never heard of this until I was pregnant with baby number 2.
In fact, I thought the person was pulling my leg at the time when they told me because I didn’t understand how this could possibly help to bring on labor.
Oxytocin is what causes the woman to have the letdown effect of milk and be able to breastfeed.
In the same manner, oxytocin causes contractions to occur.
Practicing nipple stimulation could bring on contractions but they may not be the type of contractions that you need to kickstart labor.
I would be very careful with this one and check with your doctor before attempting to try it.
The last thing you want is to start off these wrong type of contractions that will be uncomfortable without real labor starting for several more days.
6. MEMBRANE STRIPPING (You can not do this one yourself)
Personally (but I’m not a doctor) I would only recommend this as a last resort if you really have too.
Although I have done this in some of my pregnancies I only had the procedure done because I was getting quite overdue.
Having your membranes stripped is a very uncomfortable experience and has to be done by a qualified person.
Stripping your membranes consists of your health official inserting a finger into the opening of your cervix and separating the membranes from the uterine wall.
The few times that I have done this I usually get a “show” and by the next day, I go into labor.
It is important for you to know the difference between a bloody show and losing your mucus plug.
Some would say I was going to go into labor anyway and some would say the sweep did it.
I guess we just don’t know.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON NATURAL WAYS TO INDUCE LABOR
Most of the above tips are not proven. I know for me when I was pregnant I searched the internet looking for ways to bring on labor.
I did this not really believing that it would work but because I needed to feel like I was helping to do something to get things moving.
It was more of a sanity-saving exercise rather than an actual cure to the problem I thought I had.
If you are trying to find ways on how to naturally bring on labor then just remember that it is not guaranteed to work so don’t get your hopes too pinned on it.
Your baby will come at the appropriate time when it is ready.
The best thing you can do while you wait is to get fit.
Try some of the pregnancy exercises such as those listed below.
These will keep you fit and healthy and take your mind off your missed/ approaching due date.
These will help your baby to get lower engaged in the pelvis.
You can do these throughout the day as you have time.
2. SITTING ON A YOGA BALL
Sitting on a bouncy ball is another way to help your baby get lower into the pelvis.
3. PELVIC TILT
4. CLIMBING STAIRS
If you have tried out any of the methods listed above to help bring on labor naturally and are not sure if it has worked, you can check out the article on 10 signs labor is approaching.
POSTS RELATED TO LABOR AND DELIVERY:
- How to write the perfect natural birth plan
- Do you know what to expect from a perineal tear?
- Hospital bag checklist: Here’s what you need to pack