Natural Ways to Induce Labour

If you are at the end of your pregnancy or even remotely close to your due date chances are you are getting impatient to meet your little one and it’s not all about getting your body back either.

The last few weeks and days before labor starts can be totally maddening and I feel for you. Our second baby is due any day now and I’ve been counting the minutes until I get to hold him.

However, as labor has not started yet I’m sure I’m driving myself and those around me rather mad with the focus of “labor must start soon!” and the mental freak out I’ve been doing (told you I get it).

I’ve messaged my Doulas, talked to my Physio and Midwives, and been hounding my husband … all in the hopes that they might be able to help me get this kid out. And while YES it’s partly a sense of “I’m just so done with being pregnant” and I totally feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. It’s also the nerves and mental anxiety around giving birth.

Even if you have done this before each birth is different, that’s the story right? And for those who have been there, I’ve heard that confirmed time and again, each child comes into this world in a way unique to them and on their own time.

I’ll be real with you about my panic…people keep telling me this one will be faster, and I didn’t recognize when I was in labor the first time! Yeah if it’s faster am I going to miss it? Will the kid just pop out at some random point when I feel the need to poop? I get it logically this doesn’t make sense in my head, but then there are stories out there that tell me some women don’t know that they were pregnant then all of a sudden there is a baby in their arms…. yeah, thinking I could be that but I knew I was preggers to start with.

As with anything pregnancy or childbirth-related check with your Midwife or Doctor before trying anything to induce labor. There are also benefits to waiting for spontaneous labor that are worth reminding yourself about too!

Anyway, the wait is tearing me up, so here are some of the tips I’ve heard about how to get labor rolling naturally. And I’m even trying a few myself.

Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist

Yup, did this yesterday. The great thing about working with a pelvic floor physio is that they can help your body prep for labor and delivery in a cool and unique way from other medical professionals.

Appointments during pregnancy can help with making you feel more comfortable and especially at the end help with all the extra stress your body is dealing with by carrying the extra weight.

A pelvic floor physio is capable of releasing all the tension in your pelvis and making sure things are in alignment.

With a relaxed pelvic floor (and pelvis) baby will have more room to descend and their head is more likely to engage… cue the “baby’s engaged waddle” I’ve had since my last appointment. And yes I love the feeling even with him pressing on my cervix cause … any time now kiddo!

Acupuncture

Much like working with your physio Acupuncture (the insertion of thin needles into pressure points on the body) can encourage the baby into labor. There are many experts and Mammas-to-be out there who swear by this.

Of course, even the most adamant supporters will say that if the baby isn’t ready acupuncture alone isn’t likely going to change that.

Acupressure

Similar to Acupuncture, acupressure is more about pressing on specific points then poking them. You can use your own fingertips instead of needles and there is a tone of research on how to apply the pressure for the most relaxation in your body.

If you are trying to induce naturally you may want to try pressing on the webbing between your thumb and index finger as well as the spot above your ankle on the inside of your leg about four finger-widths up.

At the very least this could help release some of the tension you may be carrying and make the waiting game a tad easier.

Massage

Who doesn’t love a good massage? And there are some massage therapists that swear they can help a Mamma jump-start her labor, especially if she is overdue.

Often times they will focus on specific pressure points to help move things along. But the big thing here is the level of relaxing you get in and the fact that it will release that happy hormone Oxytocin…

Walking

When we walk we keep things open, loose and moving which can help the baby get into position. Add to that the effects of gravity and the swaying of your hips and baby is getting some great encouragement to come on out. It is also a great way to help labor progress if you’ve already felt some contractions.

Plus walking also helps you keep your fitness and energy levels up for D-day. Just don’t tire yourself out too much you’ll need all that energy for pushing the baby out later.

The Miles Circuit

The Miles Circuit is a sequence of positions that can help baby get ready for birth. I also find these rather comfortable (for the most part) even with kiddo pressing his head on my cervix.

The main point of them according to the Doula who developed it seems to be more focused on getting baby into a specific position to encourage labor.

At the very least they are relaxing and I especially like number 1 with support for helping baby “unplug” from my hip in my first labor. But these days I’m practicing the first one before bed and sleeping in position number 2 for comfort.

Sex

Well for some of us it’s more the orgasm. You may feel too big and unwieldy to get it on at this stage or maybe your partner is freaking out about hurting you or the baby…

But if you can get your mind off the idea of going into labor long enough to have a good solid orgasm or two it could kick start your labor.

And if your hubby won’t help my Midwife was clear that solo orgasms work just as well.

At the very least the happy hormone Oxcitocin that gets released during one will help you feel better and chase away the boredom.

Stimulate your Nipples

Yup, I’m going there. While I’m not a huge fan of twiddling my nips a good chest massage that includes nipple stimulation can help release more of that lovely hormone Oxytocin. (are you seeing a theme yet?)

If you have had sensitive nipples all through pregnancy this one might hurt a bit, but it doesn’t have to. Just be gentle and “play” or better yet pair it with some headboard banging sex and get a double dose all in one go.

If you are still nursing an older child or toddler you are already getting this stimulation so if you can handle it keep going. Even during labor, nursing an older child has been seen as helpful in keeping labor progressing.

If you are not nursing another child and have a breast pump you could try that too 😉

A word of caution, nipple stimulation can cause longer and stronger uterine contractions which some practitioners may want to monitor. But if you haven’t been told to stop nursing or to abstain from sex chances are pretty good you should be ok.

Cool fact, if you choose to breastfeed your baby after delivery this same stimulation will help your uterus shrink back to its original size! And that is a great thing to help speed your recovery.

Cuddle

Cuddling or snuggling up with your guy can help move things along and distract you from the big day. We tend to relax more when we cuddle with our partners (or even other children if we already have them) and that releases our happy hormones…

A Cup of Tea

Specifically, I’m talking the Red Raspberry Leaf Tea… there are some other herbs out there as well that many women swear by. But personally I’m drinking this tea cause I love the flavor.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea is said to help tone and strengthen the Uterus and can be used earlier in pregnancy to help support and prep your body for labor.

It is worth it to note that there are no solid studies that I could find supporting this, and you should always talk to your care provider about anything you take during pregnancy or for childbirth as some things can have negative side effects for you and/or baby. So get the green light from your midwife or doctor first!

Castor Oil

Ok, up front I’m going to tell you I’m NOT trying this one but a lot of people have told me I should…. yeah, not sorry but sounds gross.

Castor Oil is essentially a laxative, and not a yummy kind either. But it is a fairly commonly handed down suggestion for anyone looking to get labor going… why? Because a shot of it effectively stimulates your bowels making your intestinal tract spasm. Which irritates your uterus which may then start contracting.

There are some studies supporting this, but the downside is that if you are not already showing signs of labor, taking it will just cause you diarrhea which is no fun at any point especially this close to kiddo’s arrival.

The main thing is to talk to your care provider first and have a serious think about it before testing this one. Just because it’s commonly talked about doesn’t mean it is worth it.

Spicy Food

Some people believe that spicy food functions like castor oil by irritating your intestines and triggering uterine contractions as a result. Usually, the effect is more gentle than using castor oil so it may bypass the extream potty visits.

While there have not been any studies on spicy food and labor if you think you can stomach it or have been eating spicy food throughout pregnancy already you are likely good to try. Just keep in mind you may start heartburn instead of labor.

Meditation

Meditation is meant to get you out of your head and into your body. One of the big things that many expectant mothers deal with is overthinking all things childbirth… remember how I said I was anxious about missing the start of labor this time? YEAH, that’s all in my head and I know it.

Meditation helps you focus if not in your body then at least outside of your mind.

By taking your attention off the fact that you are waiting for the baby it not only makes the waiting easier on you mentally but reduces the chances of you having a stress reaction which could cause some hormones that can delay labor.

Yes, you can delay labor if you are stressing, it happens. But even if your meditation doesn’t trigger labor at least you will be waiting in a more relaxed frame of mind.

Spend some time in water…

I love a good hot shower or a soak in the tub! And I find it rather relaxing to be in the water in general, but especially at 9+ months pregnant when my body feels heavy the thought of that weight being lifted by water is a relief.

So if you can head to the local pool or just have a soak in your own tub with warm water. If you’re at home you can even toss in a bath bomb or light some nice candles and take a moment to relax to yourself.

Read a Book or play a game

Mental distraction can be great for letting your body relax, and heck, if hubs isn’t willing to help you with sex may be reading a steamy novel, will help?

The big thing here is getting your mind off of things and trying to ignore what you are feeling in your body at least for a bit. Getting your mind off of it can let your body do it’s thing and that might get labor moving along on it’s own.

Membrane Stripping

Membrane stripping is done by some care providers to encourage labour as it doesn’t involve any kind of medication technically it is “natural”.

Basically the procedure is done in a clinic and your doctor will separate the amniotic sac from the area around the cervix. This releases a hormone called prostaglandins which can help your body go into labour.

If you have a vaginal infection this won’t be an option you can use.

Please note that this increases the chances of your water breaking which has it’s own risks to think about as well. So do your research and ask questions.

Will it really work?

Well most of these suggestions are either old wives tales or things I’ve heard from others that might work. Some have been studied others not so much.

The big thing with waiting for your baby is more about finding something that relaxes you and that will encourage a release of the happy hormone cocktail, which increases the chances of labour starting.

If you are stressing about it and focused on it your body will know, and that could potentially delay some of the triggers that will help get labor going.

Plus, there are some perks to having baby wait a bit longer and spontaneous labor is known to have fewer risks and complications so…

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