How to induce labor naturally
There are many times during a pregnancy a woman starts to daydream about labor. Around 8 weeks when she is vomiting in the bathroom, 24 weeks when she is sick of not being able to breath and of feeling kick after kick after kick (after kick) and then from week 33 on when the end is in site – but not really.
About that 35th week, generally women start praying to God to please, please go into labor. Let me assure you that if you go into labor under week 37, chances are your doctor is going to stop the labor and send your butt home. Even if you manage to get one of the following natural labor methods to work, you really don’t want to put your baby at risk by having underdeveloped lungs, so this article is in no way encouraging you to test these methods out unless your in the final week or past due.
But if you are at that week 40 and desperate…here are a few ways that some women swear by to get the contractions going and the baby on its way out the vagina and into your arms.
1) Exercise: No shocker there that exercise can start to induce labor. Just walking around the block for me gives me cramps at this point. But be careful that if you choose to start walking to bring water, don’t go to far from home, and don’t over do it! They use walking up and down the halls at the hospital to get you dilating more, so I could say that this natural labor method is probably one that works if you are close enough. One of the biggest things you don’t want to do is get so exhausted and then go into labor….so keep that in mind. You do need strength.
2) Food: There are two old wives tales about labor…
- A) One is that natural pineapple or mango can put you into labor. The science behind it is that these fruits contain a proteolytic enzyme called bromelain. Bromelain is rumored to soften the cervix and make it ready for delivery. When I was reading about this, all it did was make me want to eat pineapple…so I bought some! I can assure that while it was yummy, not one contraction did it make.
- B) The other food rumor is Raspberry Leaf Tea. You can get it at a health food store and while very yummy, its also used a lot to prevent miscarriage and ease pain in the uterus when you do have contractions. I believe this one is more of a prep service for your uterus to help ease pain, but some claim that it helps induce. I drank probably 45 cups of it during my pregnancy with Charlotte and again, no labor as a result. Load it with sugar….good stuff.
3) Pressure Points: There are two main pressure points on your body that are known to pinpoint your uterus. One is the same pressure point between your first finger and thumb called the HOKU and its the point you push when you have a headache (and it works) that is in the webbing of your hand. Instructions to use are to find the point with your alternating hand thumb and forefinger and make circular motions with your thumb on the outside of your hand on that point for 10-15 seconds, while steadying your forefinger on the palm side. Ever the daredevil, I tested this one out and got a contraction. BE VERY CAREFUL. This might actually work.
The second pressure point is about 4 fingerlings above your ankle on the inside of your leg. Its supposed to strengthen weakening contractions. The best way to take advantage of pressure point ways to induce labor, are to go get a massage or an acupuncture, but do it under the permission and guidance of your doctor.
4) Nipple Stimulation: This one sounds fun, right? WRONG. If you read up on it, the entire idea is that nipple stimulation produces oxytocin, which tells your body to go into labor. You are supposed to stimulate one side at a time, but rubbing in circular motion emulating a baby sucking on your breast, for 15 minute intervals, switching sides, and break for 5 minutes in between. Some sites say stimulate for 5 minutes, not 15, but either way, 5…15…..I say get some lanolin before going this route. It sounds like a very desperate measure that will only lead to sore nipples.
5) Castor Oil: Oh, goodness..you know you are in for it if you get this far. The idea is to take 2tsp of castor oil, mix with OJ and down it like a vodka martini. Because Castor oil is a stimulant for your intestines, it can make you cramp (and crap) and therefore cause your uterus to kick in. There are mixed feelings about this all over the net, but I have two points to make. One is that it can make you very dehydrated and two it can make for a long, long night in the bathroom. I am not sure, even if you manage to produce labor, you will really want to go and alternate between having to go and having to deliver. I cant find a doctor online that approves of this.
6) Sex: This is the biggie and most doctors DO recommend this one. First, you should have an orgasm and two, it should include sperm (so basically the old solo routine wont cut it). They say the best way to get a baby out is the same way it went in. Sperm does, in fact, soften the cervix with prostaglandins and can start labor, but only if you are further down the road and your body is ready. Consider it the last step and probably the best way to go into labor…provided you can find someone to have sex with this late in the game. I do not have anyone willing to do that for me….so Ill just be over here walking around the block, while eating pineapple, drinking a glass of tea spiked with Castor Oil.
Have you ever found any of these methods worked with your labor?