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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Katie Gruenewald Ott

When my water broke at 35 weeks, I had to do some things to get labor started for fear of having drugs injected into me when I walked into the hospital.  I gave myself an enema, and did nipple stimulation.  My labor started very shortly, but I can't say for sure if it was the "induction" methods or just that my oversized, tired uterus was ready to get my twins out! :)  I've also heard that foot massage can cause it.  But I couldn't reach my feet.  LOL!

Amy Thomas

I tried most of these for both of my pregnancies and I still went one week "overdue" with both my babies. Which is actually not that long considering the average first time mom (before the days when doctors induced everyone because they were impatient) is 10 days past her "due date". So pretty much I'm saying that there is no point in trying to induce labor because baby will come when he/she is ready. And baby will be so much happier that you let him/her hang out until she was perfectly healthy and ready to face the world!

Toril Turner

My midwife gave me a concoction of 2 tbsp castor oil, 5 drops lemon verbena oil, 2 tbsp. almond butter and 200 mL apricot juice. She claimed to have had 100% success rate with it. At 2 days overdue, I went into labour in 4 hours, and had a 6 hour labour and delivery (baby boy, 9 lbs 6 oz). With my second child I used the same combo at 5 days overdue, went into labour within 2 1/2 hours, and had a 3 hour labour and delivery (Baby girl, 8 lbs 12 oz). It was nice to have a shower, clean the house, and then truck off to have a baby!

Jessica Rey Nicole Ramirez

With my son I walked, ate spicy foods and visualized. He was born the day before his due date.

nonmember avatar Dom

Scientifically speaking, none of these work to actually induce labor, only to help regulate/strengthen the contractions your body is already having. As for the sex one, it's not the actual sex that helps anything along, it's the mans semen that actually helps by ripening the cervix a little. There is no proven way to "induce" labor naturally.

nonmember avatar Melissa

I tried many remedies to try and get my lil princess to come meet the rest of the world early and the one thing that worked for me was drinking 2 tablespoons of castrol oil mixed with orange juice!! After about 2 hours of drinking it my contractions hit hard and my princess was born 7 hours later :)

Heather McLees-Frazier

I didn't do any of those things, but I did use my breast pump (15+ minutes per hour, for three or more hours a day), get my membranes stripped, and eat fried oysters and drink red wine (only 1 glass per night) for the last three days before my son was born. I was trying to avoid an overdue, oversized, induced baby like my first one!  And #2 was born the day before his due date, so it worked for me.  But then again, he could just have been ready to be born then.

nonmember avatar lynn

I tried medical enduction didn't work so they sent me home. Tried walking didn't work. Tried an enimia Lol which helped me feel better. And the night before my due date my husband and I had sex. The morning of my due date my water broke at 5am and my beautiful baby girl was here at 912 am.

coppe... copperswifey

No I didn't, but one time I ate a really hot jalapeno and I started cramping. I was wondering if the myth might be true, but I never did go into labor. :)

Toni Duval

well yeah it gets hard waiting for the little bundle of joy to come out but i would agree with everyone that they will come out when they are good and well ready.. I actually tried one on the list here and surprisingly it worked.. the nipple stimulation is what put me into labor..i was 39 weeks along and just tired of the pain..i tried it and within 24 hours my daughter was born..i had her at 3:08 yesterday morning.. as for the rest of the list i really couldnt say if they work.. but ik for a fact that this one does..

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