Sometimes, your baby takes a little bit of time to pop. Sometimes, they just need a little helping hand. So when you’re soon to be newborn needs a little bit of encouragement and you’re looking for natural ways to induce labor, here’s what you need to do.
Remember, you shouldn’t try to induce labor without first consulting a physician, and it’s generally not safe to induce labor before 40 weeks, or unless your baby is overdue. This is because all pregnancies are different, and your baby might not be ready to be born.
The stress of birth on a baby that’s not ready, not to mention on a mom whose body hasn’t made the necessary preparations for birth, will make the whole thing a whole lot more difficult.
When you’re trying to induce labor, you should always be careful. Too much stimulation can cause your body to become hyper-stimulated, which can cause your uterus to not be able to deal with sustained contractions and too little oxygen will get to your baby. As always, consult your practitioner before attempting anything birth or pregnancy related.
Natural ways to induce labor
The number one way to induce labor, known for hundreds if not thousands of years. Sex is great for multiple reasons, and it’s the number one go-to method for inducing a pregnancy.
Firstly, orgasms have been known to open the cervix by up to two centimeters. That’s great news because it means that even if you’re not in the mood or physically up to full intercourse, your partner can still do what it takes to help your labor along.
Second, sperm contains a hormone called prostaglandins, which thins and dilates the cervix and helps to start off your labor naturally.
Lastly, stimulation to sexual areas such as the nipples, whether light stimulation from your partner or heat stimulation from a warm towel or similar can help start contractions in some women, though not all, so don’t repeat this trick more than once every half an hour.
Find ways to relax
Labor is hard to start if you aren’t relaxed. It’s almost an oxymoron, but getting all stressed out actually makes your labor harder, so to have easy, relaxed labor and birth, you need to be as relaxed as possible.
Easy, right? (Yeah, right…)
But there’s a lot of things you can do to help yourself out.
- Take a warm comfortable bath, not too hot, not too cold.
- Get a massage, so your muscles all relax
- Acupuncture or acupressure
- Aromatherapy, specifically Clary Sage
It’s also great to do something to relax every day. Pregnancy, especially the last few weeks, can be pretty tough for some of us, so taking some time out to do something special for yourself can be a great help.
Go for a walk
If you’ve started your contractions but you’re not in full blown labor, then going for a walk can really help speed things along.
Walking is light exercise, which is great when you’re pregnant anyway, but it also does a lot of other great things.
First, your hips will be swaying rhythmically, which can help guide your baby into a birthing position.
Second, when you’re standing gravity is a huge help to get baby into position to be born.
Lastly, walking when you’re contracting normally feels pretty good, because of that light muscle movement that we mentioned earlier, so it might seem crazy but if you’re struggling, a gentle walk could help you out.
Hypnosis is already used during labor to help with breathing regularity and pain management.
But there’s a theory that the same techniques might also be useful for someone trying to bring it on as well.
It’s all to do with the relaxation we mentioned earlier.
Once you’re hypnotized, you’ll be more relaxed, more controlled and your muscles, and entire body, will be soft and malleable and more ready than ever.
Even a simple app on your phone that runs you through some breathing exercises could make a huge difference, and if you’re waiting around anyway, you may as well give it a go. There’s nothing to lose, after all.
Pineapples contain bromelain, an enzyme which supposedly softens up the cervix and gets you ready to go.
It might not work for everyone, but if you’re into it, a Hawaiian pizza could be just what the doctor ordered.
Ways to induce labor you might want to avoid
Eat spicy food
In everyone’s group of friends, there’s always one story about how super spicy hot foods were the primer for the start of their labor.
Realistically though, there’s no evidence, medical or otherwise, about how and why this should work.
Work case scenario, it doesn’t work, a few hours go by, you go into labor and now you’ve got a full stomach and a sicky feeling to add to the whole situation.
Take Castor or Evening Primrose oil
Home remedies that have questionable application when it comes to labor, you might have heard, or even been recommended these treatments.
In our opinion, the risk is greater than the benefits. Here’s why.
Firstly, castor oil is primarily a laxative, and a strong one. Bowel spasms can contribute to, or start, labor, but more than likely they’re just going to make you need to use the bathroom.
Second, evening primrose oil can work, for some people. But there’s no way of telling if it will work until you use it.
And that’s the problem. You use it normally by placing it directly onto the cervix. And until you’ve done that, there’s no way of knowing how your body will react. And obviously, once you’re done, you can’t undo it, so you’re stuck with the results.
Take Blue or Black Cohosh
Another ‘folk remedy’ that might work but should probably be avoided, Blue and Black Cohosh have been used for years, but there are no medical studies about the effectiveness of either and in fact a bunch of evidence about how they can actually cause harm.
If you’re set on using either, find a licensed medical practitioner who is certified in alternative therapies, and discuss whether you think these treatments are right for you.
What you need to know
There are three big things you should try to bring on labor naturally and easily:
- Having sex, or at least having an orgasm.
- Going for a slow, easy walk.
- Relaxing in general, whether through massage, hypnosis or another method.
If you try these three natural ways to induce labor, you should have a much easier time, all the way through.
Have you tried any of these methods? What worked for you, and did any of them not work? We always love to hear from our readers, so if you’ve had experience with any of these methods, let us know in the comments below.