Waiting for the arrival of your baby can seem like the longest, most anticipated wait you’ve ever experienced. When that 40 weeks pass, and you watch the due date of your child come and go on your calendar, the anticipation for delivery grows even greater. A lot of the time, women reach their boiling point and tend to take matters into their own hands by turning to non-pharmacological approaches to induce labor. While some ways can seem a bit off-the-wall, such as riding in a bumpy car or eating excessive eggplant, there are many options for women who are trying to induce labor. March of Dimes highlights the many important developments your baby will be going through the last few weeks so it is important not to attempt to induce labor before your due date passes. Like most things involving your health, it is important to consult your OB-GYN first!
Are you 40+ weeks and ready to start naturally inducing labor? Here are 12 easy ways to get this baby out!
Having sexual intercourse is probably the most popular solution to naturally inducing labor. It is likely that you’ve been given this advice from veteran mothers before. According to WEB MD semen contains prostaglandins which are said to ripen the cervix. A female orgasm can also produce Oxytocin which can also play a huge part in inducing labor.
2. Nipple Stimulation
According to FitPregnancy.com, “Prolonged breast stimulation prompts the pituitary gland to release contraction-inducing oxytocin, the same powerful hormone that initiates your milk let-down response and can lead to severe cramps when a newborn suckles. Its synthetic form, Pitocin, is the most common drug used to induce labor, and studies indicate that stimulating it naturally can be effective as well.”
3. Castor Oil
Drinking castor oil is also a common way to induce labor, and is often recommended by many midwives. The best way to do it is by mixing 2 ounces of castor oil in a glass of orange juice. The idea behind castor oil is that it stimulates the smooth muscle of the bowels and releases prostaglandin. However be cautious! Side effects include diarrhea, dehydration, and nausea. A safer, equally as effective option may be to just load up on spicy food!
4. Herbal Home Remedies
Evening Primrose Oil is believed to soften the cervix and prepare it for labor. According to Justmommies.com, “EPO contains a chemical that the body converts to prostaglandins. Like semen, prostaglandins help ripen a woman’s cervix. Research has been inconclusive as to whether or not EPO I actually effective at inducing labor, but many midwives recommend it to their patients to prepare for labor.” The best way to use EPO is to break open the capsule and rub it on your cervix.
The idea behind acupressure is that it will force the body’s natural pressure point to induce labor. Pressing certain points on your body stimulates the uterus and causes contractions. According to newkidscenter.com the two labor inducing pressure points are:
• Hegu (LI 4) – Pinch the webbed skin in between your thumb and index finger. The pressure you apply should be towards the center of your hand. After a while, do the same for your other hand. Keep on switching between your two hands every 30 to 60 seconds, rubbing your fingers in a circular motion.When you feel a contraction beginning, stop applying pressure and only resume when it has passed. You can try using a stopwatch to take note of the duration and frequency of your contractions. When they start occurring at regular intervals, you may be ready for labor.
• San-yin-jiao (SP 6) – You can use this method on one or both of your legs at the same time. Take hold of your leg and position your hand in such a way that your little finger is directly above your ankle bone. Then, look for the san-yin-jiao pressure point, which is on your lateral tibia. If you are holding your ankles correctly, this pressure point should be somewhere below your index finger. Firmly press your thumb on the pressure point, which may feel sore when you touch it. Rub the area in small circles and continue doing so for several minutes. This action will effectively stimulate your contractions. When they do start, you can stop applying pressure on your ankles.
This is a great YouTube video guide to finding your pressure points!
Physical activity, like walking, is almost always suggested when trying to induce labor. Most times exercise can help the baby’s head drop lower, which puts pressure on the cervix. Stair climbing also helps put pressure on the cervix because the higher you lift your lefts (by taking bigger steps) the position puts more pressure on the cervix than compare to just walking.
So, if your due date has come (and gone) and you are ready to get your baby out, the list above should help you choose ways to naturally try to induce labor at home! Again, it is very important to consult with your doctor before trying any of these at-home ways to induce labor.