The Crazy Things Women Do to Induce Labor

Julie Ryan Evans
38

castor oil No matter how glorious your pregnancy, as you start inching closer to that magical 40th week, the anticipation starts to build. You're uncomfortable, anxious, and HUGE, and you just want to meet this newest person so much ... so much that you might do some wacky things to speed up the process a bit.

We're not talking about trying to talk your doctor into a medical induction (though plenty do that too), but rather about those little things you've heard might help, or heard worked for your cousin's daughter's neighbor's best friend in Albuquerque. Why not, right?

A recent study out of the University of Ohio looked at the many and bizarre ways women try to induce labor on their own. What they found is both funny and a bit frightening.

More than half of all women in the study said they'd tried something. From the stuff of old wives' tales like taking castor oil and eating spicy food to acupuncture, masturbation, and ingesting laxatives and herbal supplements, women are trying anything they think might work. The problem is most of them aren't telling their doctor, which they should. And besides one technique, most won't work anyway.

The one that just may help? Nipple stimulation. Yes, if yours aren't too sore, it can work as it causes the hormone oxytocin to be released, which can then lead to contractions. But before you rush to get started, know it can also lead to complications.

As lead researcher Jonathan Schaffir said in a press release: "These contractions can be hard to control, and there's some potential downside in causing too many contractions. It's just not something I recommend because there is no established safe protocol."

So basically, that leaves good old-fashioned waiting, but if you want to eat a few orders of nachos with extra jalapenos while you wait, go for it.

What methods have you tried to induce labor or are you a totally patient pregnant woman?


Images via Pictures from Heather/Flickr

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