Are you eager for your baby to arrive? Curious about inducing labor naturally?
There are various “natural methods” of starting labor you can try. These methods are usually considered pretty safe to use, because they won't work if your body and baby aren't ready 😉
Most of these have no side effects and are safe to try:
- Walk, walk, and walk some more: Don't exhaust yourself, but a good walk every day helps your body get ready for labor.
- Climb stairs: Stairs bring baby into the pelvis and allow for good positioning – don't get too tired, but a good stair-climbing session can work wonders!
- Activity: Any kind of activity can be used for inducing labor naturally. Scrubbing the floor has long been a cited method of going into labor. There are stories of an afternoon spent gardening leading to a joyous birth. You can try cleaning, gardening, dancing, yoga – anything!
- Squatting: One of the reasons scrubbing floors and gardening may be infamous for inducing labor naturally is because they require squatting or being on all fours – positions that help open the pelvis and encourage baby to engage.
- Have sex: This is a classic. And it can work. There's evidence to show it helps ripen your cervix even if it doesn't kick start labor.
- Nipple Stimulation: This method of inducing labor naturally involves constant stimulation of the nipples and requires time to work – but if your body is ready, studies show it does work. It can also be used to get a sluggish labor going.
- Driving on bumpy roads: Some grandmas swear by it! I recall a family member fondly telling me stories of taking a “dune buggy” out to get a labor going! If your baby is in a good position, the jostling of the car may help bring on labor.
- Eating spicy foods: A favorite natural way of inducing labor naturally! Just don't go overboard, as indigestion is no fun.
- Visualization and Relaxation: Taking the time to simply relax and visualize yourself opening up for your baby may trigger labor. Talk to your baby and tell him or her that you are ready to meet him or her!
- Aromatherapy: Sit back and relax with soothing scents like lavender and peppermint. You can inhale them or add them to a warm bath. Or have your partner prepare some warm compresses for you as you do your daily relaxation. Use the time to visualize labor starting.
- Enema: This may not be the most pleasant option, but it has worked for some mothers. Other mothers find they don't like it at all. You can try it if you feel comfortable with it.
More “Invasive” Methods of Inducing Labor Naturally
- Is Herbal Induction Safe? – my article on using herbs or other “natural” methods to induce labor.
- Acupuncture/Acupressure: Acupressure is non-invasive, and acupuncture involves having needles inserted at certain points on your body. Both are considered very safe, so there's no reason to avoid unless you're squeamish about needles 😉 Acupressure worked well for me with my 5th baby – she was born about 5 hours after having it done!
- Castor Oil: A traditional favorite for starting labor. Castor oil is actually used as a bowel stimulant, and sometimes has the side effect of getting labor going. Many midwives have good success with it. Others find that it tends to give women horrible indigestion without starting labor – and too much bowel stimulation could leave you weak for labor. If you want to try it, around 1oz in a glass of orange juice or a fruit smoothie is a dose suggested for getting labor going.
- Ripening the Cervix: There are natural substances that can be used to ripen the cervix (besides the aforementioned semen). Borage and flax seed oil, blue and black cohosh tinctures, and evening primrose oil can all be used. Be sure to do thorough research on each one before you decide to do it. It's generally considered safe to begin using these to ripen the cervix after 37 weeks. Often they are used internally against the cervix – however, don't do this if your water has broken.
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Photo by cfwee