After waiting for 37 weeks of gestation, when you are ready to have a baby, it might be comfortably snuggled in your womb and won’t want to be disturbed. This may be worrisome for mothers but pregnancy can possibly stretch at the most to the 42nd week—after which it becomes necessary to induce labor. Inducing labor externally doesn’t give your body the opportunity to carry the process of birthing at its own pace.
Here are a few ways in which you can induce labor naturally. But, before you begin, it is extremely important to know your doctor’s take on this, especially in case of a medical condition.
- It is important to understand that the more time a baby spends in the womb, the better it is for its long-term development. Gynecologists also warn that inducing labor before the 39th week can prove to be dangerous for the baby.
- Make sure you have a qualified therapist who has a experience in inducing labor successfully.
- Ensure that the method you opt for is tried and tested. Be updated with any research or methods that have come up recently or that may have negative effects.
- Be it natural or medical induction, you are still intervening with a natural process.
- Weigh the pros and cons. Don’t end up forcing your body into labor and troubling yourself and your baby if you could still wait for some more time.
1. Stimulating Through Sex
Sex is a natural and a fun way to induce labor. The prostaglandins present in the semen help in ripening the cervix. Make sure the ejaculation happens inside the vagina and your water doesn’t break.
A female orgasm can also induce labor as it releases oxytoxin—the labor and bonding hormone. Know more about sex during pregnancy.
This method is in use for thousands of years to induce natural labor. The good news is that acupuncture works within 6-48 hours of treatment—it may also require regular treatment over a few sessions.
3. Acupressure And Induction Massage
Acupressure is a traditional Chinese medicinal practice providing solutions for pregnancy symptoms, induced labor, and problems post-birth. Your practitioner can either show you how to perform it or can tell your partner about the pressure points and how to give you a massage.
4. Nipple Stimulation
Nipple stimulation can also trigger the production of oxytocin in the body, thus helping with labor. You can stimulate your nipples including the areola in a similar way as a baby would while sucking. Massage the nipple for 5 minutes—wait and see if the contractions start within the next 15 minutes. Repeat again. Stop the stimulation if the contractions happen.
5. Using Evening Primrose Oil
This oil has similar effects as prostaglandins present in semen. You can either take them—2 capsules of 500 milligrams daily from the 36th week orally or insert them directly into the cervix before bed. Don’t forget to wear a pad or liner to prevent the little mess down there.
6. Drinking Castor Oil
Castor oil is a strong stimulant for bowel movement but as a side-effect, it can help with labor. However, these side-effects also include diarrhea, nausea and vomiting—doctors usually don’t recommend it due to the risk of dehydration associated with diarrhea. As suggested before, consult your doctor before you try any of these methods. The taste may not be appealing, so you can blend it with fruit juices or gulp it down and drink something hot over it.
7. Drinking Raspberry Leaf Tea
Raspberry leaf helps with labor—however, not with the first but the second stage of labor1. You can drink it as a tea from the 12th week of pregnancy without worrying about the possibility of side-effects.
8. Including Spicy Food And Curry In Your Diet
It may be surprising to know that spicy food can also put you into labor. Add spices to your favorite food or drink cinnamon tea. But, consume it with caution as it can cause diarrhea or dehydration in some people.
9. Dates Post The Due Date
It has been proven that dates can help in inducing labor naturally. Consuming dates in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy can significantly reduce the need for induction2. Diabetic women are advised to consult their doctors before including them in the diet.
Only 5% of babies are born on the expected dates. About half of them are born 2 weeks after the due date. Don’t fret if your baby is delaying it. Try walking around for 30 minutes to an hour depending upon your capacity. Instead of thinking about it constantly, keep yourself busy and distracted. Remember that when the right time comes, the baby will arrive.