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Editorial

How to Induce Labor

Last Updated March 4, 2021

By  Janice Warren

Nothing can prepare you enough about what to expect when in labor in the weeks close to your due date. You could spend hours researching about labor, and obviously, the first moments you hold your new baby.

But, what happens when this date comes and goes, yet to sign of labor? You go back to researching the best ways to induce labor naturally. While it is important to note that your body will go into labor at the right time hence no need to rush labor, you can try some methods that can hasten the process.

This article will share a few labor induction methods shared by women as successful, but note they are not scientifically proven to induce labor. Still, they are worth trying if you grow exhausted from being pregnant, and as long as you consult your health care provider or midwife before trying.

Labor Induction Techniques to Try Past Your Due Date

1. Exercise

Exercise, mainly walking, is one of the safest natural ways thought to induce labor, although not scientifically proven. The thinking is; when you walk, the swaying of your hips leaves space for the baby to shift further down into the pelvis, which could then expand and prime your cervix to induce labor.

It is vital to ensure you don't exercise too much during your last weeks of pregnancy to preserve the energy you will need during and after childbirth. And still, walking is not guaranteed to induce labor, but either way is a great way to keep in good shape before birth, and can help you relieve stress.

2. Sex

Having sex to try and induce labor is safe as long as your water has not broken. There are two main reasons sexual intercourse is believed to help induce labor;

  1. When you have sex and orgasm, your body naturally releases oxytocin which could hasten the labor process.
  2. Your partner's semen also contains prostaglandins which are hormones that can help ripen your cervix in preparation for childbirth.

However, keep in mind that sex is not scientifically proven to induce labor. Avoid sex once your amniotic sac tears, as it could expose you to undesirable infections that can risk your baby's health.

3. Healthy supplements and herbal tea

There are a few herbal supplements and teas that are thought to hasten labor. These include;

  1. Evening primrose oil which contains substances that your body converts to work like prostaglandins to soften and ripen the cervix before labor.
  2. Red raspberry leaf tea may tone and strengthen the uterus as you await labor. It is safe to drink, can help you stay hydrated even if it does not induce labor.
  3. Blue or black cohosh can also be used, but with excellent guidance from your doctor or midwife to prevent adverse side effects.

While most herbal teas are safe for both mom and baby, you must consult your doctor and midwife before using any so they can evaluate your health information to predict possible results.

4. Nipple Stimulation

When you want to start labor the safest way, you can try massaging your nipples yourself or having your partner do it. Breast stimulation is thought to help your uterus contract and, thus, introduce labor.

Nipple stimulation helps the body release the hormone oxytocin, which causes uterine contractions and breast milk production. So, not only will stimulating nipples probably help induce labor, but it will also ensure your milk will be ready when your baby arrives.

These three are some benefits you can expect from massaging your nipples;

  1. Starting labor
  2. Preventing medical induction, which can be more painful
  3. Preventing postpartum hemorrhage

When you cannot manually stimulate your breasts, you can use a breast pump and achieve the same results.

5. Using Castor Oil

Some women recommend drinking a teaspoon of castor oil when looking to induce labor. If you can ingest about 50ml of the oil, you can expect it to stimulate prostaglandin hormone release to kickstart cervical ripening and the process of labor.

It is important to note that castor oil is known to cause diarrhea which can potentially leave you dehydrated. Make sure to consume the oil after 39 weeks of pregnancy and after discussing it with your doctor.

6. Acupuncture

According to the Chinese tradition and many women who have succeeded before, acupuncture, the art of piercing tiny needles to vital pressure points in the body, can help induce labor. It can stimulate hormonal changes in the body or make crucial changes in your nervous system to introduce labor.

By inserting needles to various pressure points, the baby could be forced to move after they feel some activity in the uterus.

It is good to note that acupuncture is a serious art that requires a certified acupuncturist after consultation with your health expert. Even if it fails to induce labor, it will leave you relieved of stress.

7. Acupressure

Like acupuncture, acupressure is the art of applying some pressure to various pressure points in your body using your thumbs. Many acupressure experts can guarantee you a great session, but make sure to consult your healthcare provider before trying the method.

Why You can Wait For Your Little One Without Inducing Labor

One benefit of waiting for labor to start organically is so you can enjoy a few more days to yourself before your baby arrives. While most of the techniques shared herein are safe to try, there is only so much you can do to force the uterus to contract unless you get a medical induction. That said, here are more benefits of waiting for your body to increase oxytocin levels with only the help of mother nature;

  1. You will have an easier recovery time after childbirth.
  2. You will give your baby more time to grow muscle and increase strength.
  3. You will eliminate the need for an emergency c section as you will not affect your infant's heart rate.
  4. You will reduce the risk of an infection catching your baby or them developing severe jaundice.
  5. If you wait for natural labor after 40 weeks, your baby's brain will get fully developed.
  6. You will reduce the risk of breathing complications for your new baby as their lungs will have developed well.
  7. Your baby will feed better once they reach their full term.
  8. Waiting may help you take your baby home faster.

Conclusion

The methods shared in this article are almost harmless but also not scientifically used to induce labor. Therefore, before trying anything to hasten labor, consult with your doctor to avoid hurting yourself or the baby.

If you decide to wait for your body to set a due date, maintain the best hygiene and fitness levels, keep hydrated, eat healthy foods, and avoid stressful situations.

Janice Warren


Janice is a full-time writer at Infantcore, writing about her experiences as mother of 4.

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