If you’re approaching your due date and wondering if you’ll need to induce labor, relax. Due dates are more like a guesstimate since, well, it’s really just a guess based off your last menstrual cycle [which let's be real, half of us don't remember what exact date that really was].
Some women safely deliver babies in their 42nd week, others repeatedly deliver early, and still others fall somewhere in between.
There are at least ten ways that I have been informed of to naturally induce labor:
Many women have success with natural labor induction by having sex. That’s because semen contains prostaglandins. The key to having sex work for natural induction is to do it a lot. With this natural labor induction method, “third times a charm.” Three ejaculations is supposed to to be the magic number. I cannot find a study to substantiate this, but I have had many friends swear by it.
2. Nipple stimulation
Nipple stimulation can really work for labor induction or to boost a stalled or slow labor. You want to stimulate the whole breast, not just the nipples. Try a slow rhythmic massage of the breast behind the areola. You can do this yourself or have your partner assist.
3. Foot Rubs
For my honeymoon, my husband wanted to surprise me with a spa package where I get my feet rubbed. But once the spa found out I was pregnant, they recommended against it, saying foot rubs induce labor. So now at 39 weeks, I am waiting for my foot rub, honey.
4. Black Licorice
5. Red raspberry leaf tea
Red raspberry leaf tea is a great way to tone your uterus during pregnancy, but it can also help induce labor. (Because of its stimulating effects, most of the people I talk to don’t recommend drinking until your second trimester.) For labor induction, increase your dose of this tea to help kick start labor.
6. Eating Dates
I have been told that garlic stimulates the bowels, helping empty them out which can help create room for the baby and start labor.
8. Warm baths
Soaking in a warm bath may help to get labor going, as soaking in the tub helps to relax you. Almost anything that gets your mind off of the fact that you are still pregnant that can get you to relax, is likely to help.
Fresh pineapple contains an enzyme, I guess, called bromelain, which is commonly used as a meat tenderizer. This enzyme breaks down the proteins in tissue and is what makes your tongue tingle or mouth develop sores when you eat pineapple. There is a popular theory that somehow the bromelain from the pineapple makes its way to your cervix and causes the breakdown of tissue there, causing the cervix to soften and stimulate labor. Though I don't believe there is evidence to support this theory, however, for the enzyme is not active in your acidic stomach and is only partially absorbed by the body. But the way I see it is, there is no harm in enjoying a serving a pineapple at term. Although from experience, pineapple is known to cause heartburn, or at least for me it was.
10. Abuelita Hot Chocolate
One of my moms close friends recommended Abuelita Hot Chocolate. She said to put one tablet of hot chocolate in a pot along with 4 cups of water (instead of the milk) and add cinnamon sticks to it. She said after boiling it, pour it into a mug and try to drink it as hot as you possibly can. If it's too hot and you can't handle it, wait till it cools down a bit. You only need to do this once and it should put you in labor?!
There are plenty of urban legends about natural remedies that supposedly move things along. Some of these methods are harmless; others may have risks or unpleasant side effects. Most don’t actually work at all. So make sure to consult your doctor before going through with these methods.
Just remember that any woman close to her due date is extremely likely to go into labor no matter what she is doing – or eating – at the time.
What else might induce labor? Please comment your opinions below.