6 Natural Ways to Induce Labor

pregnant belly
Come on, already!
So, the thing that everybody said would happen is happening right now. My due date is pretty much here, I still have no baby, and I'm getting impatient. (Really impatient.) I envisioned she'd be here already. I've made all the proper preparations. Her room is ready, the cosleeper is set up, the bottles are sterilized (as well as the apartment), and my bags are packed. I even bought a lovely bouquet of flowers last week in anticipation of her arrival. Alas, no child. Where are you, baby?! Aren't you ready to meet?

So, in the spirit of keeping things au naturel, I've started pulling out the stops. The kooky, crazy, could-totally-be-a-load-of-crap stops that supposedly induce labor sans any drugs. Hey, I'll try anything at this point.

Here are 6 ways that (supposedly) naturally induce labor.

Walking. The classic, right? So many women I know have told me tales of how the day/night they went into labor was after a gigantic hike or walk. Not me. I must have walked 500 miles this weekend, and still, no babe. The concept makes sense, though, as walking apparently helps draw the baby down into your pelvis, and the pressure of the baby on your pelvis may then prime your cervix for labor -- or may help labor progress if you've already felt some contractions.

Spicy foods. Some people believe that eating spicy foods will irritate your intestines and that can cause your uterus to contract. I, on the other hand, am a skeptic as I ate a crapload of ultra-spicy salsa this weekend, and still, no baby.

Pineapples. Like the spicy foods thing, it's also believed that pineapples can help kickstart labor. Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which some say help soften the cervix. Pineapples are also used as a digestive aid, which could stimulate the bowels to move, which could stimulate contractions. 

Sex. May not be the highest thing on your priority list right now, as you're huge and uncomfortable, but sperm contains hormones that can help thin and dilate the cervix, ripening it for delivery. Also, orgasms release the hormone oxytocin, which can trigger contractions. So, if you're down, get yours, girl.

Acupuncture. Other parts of the world have been using acupuncture and acupressure since forever to bring on labor naturally -- certain points can supposedly stimulate uterine activity. If you're going to go this route, though, it's probably best to consult your doctor first, and make sure you go to someone who's certified in this type of acupuncture.

Teas. Always consult your doctor, midwife, doula, aunts, uncles, etc. before getting herbal, but supposedly teas containing black and blue cohosh, raspberry leaf, cumin, or evening primrose oil help bring on labor.

Visualization. People swear by it in all aspects of their lives, why not with labor? I've read that envisioning your cervix opening (whatever that looks like) is a good way to get things going, as well as -- now this is weird -- opening up all of your kitchen cabinets to signify "opening." I'm yet to try the kitchen cabinet thing, but come talk to me in a couple days.

Did you do anything to naturally induce labor?


Image via photographybyjoelle.com/Flickr

labor & delivery

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Laura Cockerham Decker

I tried black cohosh with my second, i started when i was three weeks from my due date. I probably drank a glass a total of 9 times in that period. It made for an uncomfortable three weeks. I contracted and dilated to three cin. in that time, but it was in easy labor. He was born on his due date in three pushes. I feel that the cohosh did help things along. Although didn't start labor until my baby was ready!

nonmember avatar Breezy

I started drinking red raspberry leaf tea at 37w4d just to help strengthen my uterus, my friend also started drinking hers at 41wks. Her waters broke after 5 days, mine broke after 3 days. We delivered 14 hours apart, but that's a whole other story.

stell... stellarnewmom

My husband and I had sex. I slept for like 3 hours then my contractions kicked up. I was admitted into the hospital 11 hours after having sex. So I guess it worked. Even tho my baby didn't show up until 7am the next day. Lol

nonmember avatar Annie

Raspberry leaf tea, long walks,castor oil, balsamic vinegar, exercise ball bouncing, bumpy car ride, eggplant, kneeling on all fours, licorice, nipple stimulation, oregano, squats, and swimming!

nonmember avatar Amanda

I went to the Chiropractor a week after my EDD. I believe it is what started the labor process.

Kelly Spicer

I am expecting my 4th child as we speak and he's now 6 days late. All of my children have been at least a week past due and the only time I allowed an induction at the hospital I ended up with a cesarean, so I avoid that like the plague. I have tried everything you can think of in the past and rather than being effective at all it just made me worry more. If I were you I'd take a warm bath or shower, put your feet up with a good book or a movie, have a snack, just relax. She's not going to stay in there forever and the more you stress the longer it'll seem! Good luck!

Heather Ford

make plans! I always make plans everyday of my due date week so I was bound to break them, staying busy will save your sanity!

Jen Brawdy

I tried everything listed plus: primrose oil (taken orally and inserted vaginally), drank a bottle of castor oil (makes me gag even thinking about it), also black cohosh. You know what worked for me w/my first kid? Castor oil. Or so I thought. One tbsp, 24hrs later I had a baby in my arms. She was 4 days early and we were elated to finally meet her. You know what worked with baby #2 (the one we used ALL measures to get her out with)? Nothing. She was happy to be 5 days her past predicted birthday and I went into labor (for real, b/c we had 4 fake labors) while swimming. I spend a few hours relaxing to the max and not thinking about my baby not being here yet, all fat floating in the pool and when I got out I realized that my surges aka contractions had not stopped! She was a natural water birth and it could not have gone more beautifully!! Well worth the wait <3 For now, treat yourself to as much relaxation and sleep as you can stand.

nonmember avatar Chrissy

Sex and nipple stimulation worked for me!

Cara Lachapelle

What worked for me was the natural plants that my midwife proposed me : black and blue cohosh, black to soften your cervix and blue to give regular contractions. Be sure to ask your doctor, doula, midwife for the good dosage and make sure you can.

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