As women near the end of their pregnancy many might be interested in learning how to naturally get labor started. If you are one of these women who want to learn more about methods to induce labor, you’ve come to the right place!
It is important to note that you should wait until you’re at 40 weeks to try any methods to induce labor. Dr. Eyer of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College) emphasized that babies born between 39 weeks and 40 weeks 6 days gestation have the best health when compared to babies born before or after this period. If you are at or past 40 weeks, you may be wondering how to get things moving along. Below are some natural labor inducing methods you can try but be sure to speak to your doctor before trying any of these methods to ensure the health and safety of you and your baby.
Scientific Evidence-Based Methods
1. Nipple Stimulation
Nipple stimulation is also a way to release oxytocin and cause uterine contractions. You or your partner can manually stimulate your nipples or you can try using a breast pump.
Having sex has been said to induce labor because semen contains prostaglandins, which are the same chemicals that are found in hospital induction and cervical ripening medications. Oxytocin is also a hormone released during sex which sparks contractions.
3. Evening Primrose Oil
Evening primrose oil can help soften and prepare your cervix for dilation. This oil is available to take either in tablet or liquid form but be sure to ask your doctor before trying this method because there isn’t much research regarding its safety and effectiveness.
4. Castor Oil
Castor oil is also a tool used by many moms to stimulate contractions. It works by causing your intestines to contract which then sparks uterine contractions. Use this method with caution and consult with your doctor because intestinal contractions can cause diarrhea which can dehydrate you.
5. Raspberry Leaf Tea
Drinking raspberry leaf tea has been proven to tone your uterus which can help your labor progress. Midwives recommend that you avoid drinking this tea if you:
• Have had a quick labor (3 hours or less) in the past.
• Are having a C-section.
• Experienced a premature labor in the past.
• Have had vaginal bleeding during your pregnancy.
If you haven’t or aren’t experiencing any of these, you can drink raspberry leaf tea throughout the day to induce labor.
Anecdotal Evidence-Based Methods
Not only is pineapple a healthy, delicious snack but it also contains bromelain which is an enzyme that can thin your cervix and stimulate labor. Bromelain also comes in a tablet form but before taking it in this form you should consult your doctor.
You’ve probably heard it from other moms that long walks or doing light exercise can help you go into labor. There might be some truth to this as exercising can help open your pelvis which can make for an easy delivery and exercising can position your baby into a position ready for labor.
Acupressure is a technique done by massaging certain pressure points on your body. It’s been shown to stimulate labor and even reduce pain while in labor. Consult with an acupressure specialist to guarantee correct techniques or if you want to do it yourself, make sure to consult an acupressure professional for proper directions before attempting.
Although some of these methods have been backed up by science, others are considered old wives’ tales and there has been little research to support their effectiveness. Speak to your doctor before attempting to try any of these induction methods and make sure you are at 40 weeks gestation.
This is an exciting time and you are eager to meet your baby but don’t feel stressed if your baby doesn’t come on his/her actual due date (it’s been said only 5% of babies are born on their actual due date!). Just relax and make sure to rest up! You will need all the energy you can get when your new baby makes his/her entrance into the world.