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6 Natural Ways to Induce Labor

by Nicole Fabian-Weber on April 23, 2012 at 10:02 AM

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

Filed Under: labor & delivery

Comments

57
  • jalaz77
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    jalaz77

    April 23, 2012 at 10:19 AM
    Little because baby will come when he/she AND your body are ready.
  • kari
    -- Nonmember comment from

    kari

    April 23, 2012 at 10:24 AM
    with my first pregnancy, i walked on a treadmill for 30 minutes a day, and then got on an elliptical for 20 minutes. with my second, i bounced on an exercise ball 15 minutes at a time, 10-12 times a day. within 2 days, my cervix dilated from 2-5. i went in for my 37 week checkup, and was immediately admitted.
  • Ashley
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Ashley

    April 23, 2012 at 10:37 AM
    Not sure if this is considered natural but the doctor stripped my membranes at 38 weeks and I went into labor the next morning. I wouldn't do this second time around because I was GBS+ and had to be induced, given antibiotics and an epi, totally messing with my natural childbirth plan.
  • Lorre...
    -- Facebook comment from

    Lorren Baker

    April 23, 2012 at 10:52 AM

    Be careful with walking, If you walk to much it can actually swell your pelvic and STOP labor. So Yes walk, but don't over exert youself!
    To get my labor started I gave up trying to go into labor. I stoped careing about my due date being right around the corner, I stoped stressing. I took a comfie bath, I drank 1/2 a dark beer, I cuddled in bed with my husband, I took a good nap. and went into labor that night!
    The baby will come when it comes, trying to force the child to come faster rarely works and only stresses out the momma!


  • calim...
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    calimom73

    April 23, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    Good luck.  The waiting is hard. 


  • Momma...
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    MommaGreenhalge

    April 23, 2012 at 11:01 AM
    I did all of those things, and they didn't work. She finally came at 6 days past her EDD. Come to fnd out, my brother and I were both late, between one and two weeks. Babies come when they are ready. Trying to make it happen any earlier is anything but natural.
  • momto...
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    momtolittleg

    April 23, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Sex worked for me!  I had a history of contractions after sex and was put on sex restrictions for a while.  After 35 weeks I got the go-ahead, and one morning at 37.5 weeks we had sex, and an hour later I was having very regular contractions!  I had just gone back to work after a long vacation the week before, too, so had been walking/on my feet a LOT, so that may have helped, too.  I actually walked around the block after my contractions started to see if they would stop, then I laid down to see it THAT would stop them, but nope!  I was at the hospital that afternoon, and DD was born early the next morning.


  • Elise48
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    Elise48

    April 23, 2012 at 11:13 AM

    I tried all of these things (well, not the cabinets) and lots of others and none of them worked. Sure the baby will come when he/she's ready blah blah blah, but I was trying to avoid an induction since my doctors wouldn't let me go more than a week past my due date. All of my attempts failed, had to be induced at 6AM exactly a week past my due date, and he still didn't come out until midnight. AND he had the cord wrapped around his shoulder and clenched in his fists like he was hoping if he just held on tight enough he wouldn't have to come out. Stubborn brat!


  • Melis...
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    Melissa042807

    April 23, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    I just walked with my first. It was December and we got a major cold snap so it was FREEZING outside, so we went to the mall one evening and just walked for like two hours. And when I actually started going into labor that time I paced the length of our townhome forever. 

    I'm about 2 1/2 weeks from my due date right now and I'm not doing anything special. Just doing life day to day is enough! 


  • MomLi...
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    MomLily67

    April 23, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    it gets harder to wait when you are fully at term because you feel tired, but the body knows what to do.

    Just be patient,  and if you feel wnything is wrong, rush to the doctor.

    Tried ALL of these with at last pregnancy, nothing worked, had to have a c-section as the baby had tilted her head at the last moment and could have not made it through the birth canal. They do as they please!!!


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