Might as well try, right?! 🤪
At 39 weeks and six days pregnant, I am giving EVERYTHING a go.
Let me start off by saying this: if baby + body aren’t ready, these tricks aren’t going to spontaneously induce labor.
But, many women have sworn by them helping!
The body is really wise – it knows what it is doing. But there is no harm in giving her a little encouragement, am I right?
Nobody really knows WHAT begins the labor process, but there has been some speculation that when the baby’s lungs are fully developed, things get rollin.’
We also know that oxytocin is the hormone that stimulates contractions, so there is definitely a shift that begins happening there.
But what exactly causes this hormonal shift?
We aren’t 100% sure.
The main thing to remember is this: contractions, triggered by oxytocin, help the cervix dilate and thin out (effacement). We also know that prostaglandins are produced naturally by the body during labor to help the cervix dilate and soften.
So we need BOTH oxytocin and prostaglandins in order for you to push that baby OUT.
While there is very limited research on the natural remedies below to speed along the big day, many midwives and women SWEAR by them.
So let’s dive in, shall we?
The Potential Ways to Naturally Induce Labor
Remember that these tricks are best done starting after 37-38 weeks, but of course, always ask your doctor or midwife what is best for you (this is not medical advice).
Specific Yoga Poses
We know that squats, bird/dog, lunges, cat/cow, clam shells, and more can help bring the baby down into a good position for labor. Movement is KEY.
I have been obsessed with @pregnancyandpostpartumtv and her amazing videos.
I have used them throughout my entire pregnancy, and she has special ones for each trimester as well as for labor prep. I highly encourage you to check them out!
This is the specific video I’ve been using for labor prep.
Get a Birthing Ball
Not only does bouncing on a birthing ball feel amazing, it helps baby get into a good position and helps to open up and loosen the pelvis. You can do pelvic tilts, rotate your hips, lean over the ball and breathe, or just use it for general stretching.
I also had a friend who said she bounced on it all day for work and went into labor that night!
In addition, lots of women will use the birthing ball during early labor at home to help ease contraction pain and find a more comfortable position. I will be doing the same! This is the one I purchased.
It’s been recommended by midwives everywhere to eat 6-8 dates a day. There has even been a few small studies that have showed faster and easier labor when women eat 6-8 dates a day starting four weeks before their due date.
I haven’t been great about getting THAT many in, but I’m trying. I’ve been chowing down on Larabars and enjoying dates as a snack as best as I can every day! 🙃
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
While there is little research to say this induces labor (although many women rave!) red raspberry leaf tea has amazing antioxidants that help tone and strengthen the uterus. A small study did find that drinking this tea may help reduce the risk of interventions such as cesareans, forceps, or vacuums during labor, though.
So, tone up that uterus, mama!
It is said to drink three cups a day. I keep trying, but tend to only get in 1-2. I need to amp up my tea game 😉
I LOVE acupuncture for all things hormone balance and fertility. So naturally, I have been going throughout this entire pregnancy. But, now that I am passed 38 weeks, my girl Heidi at Pinned Acupuncture has been hooking me up with all the best meridian points to stimulate chi, induce labor, and get baby moving.
It is fascinating that we have these various points on our body. She will insert the needles, wait 10-15 minutes, come in and “stimulate them,” and then let them sit for another 10-15.
Not only does acupuncture help me feel super relaxed, but it also helps me release and move through stuck emotions. Transitioning into motherhood is a HUGE energy shift. I love that acupuncture can help me process this and work through thoughts/feelings that don’t serve me anymore.
I could not recommend getting a prenatal massage more. I see Nicole Karass at the Inner Wisdom Healing Center in Columbus. She is INCREDIBLE.
Before pregnancy, I saw her for Mayan Abdominal Massage to help with the intense cramping I was experiencing and possible endometriosis. After getting pregnant, it was honestly a dream to go in for a relaxing massage.
Now that I am post 38 weeks, we are working to relax my hips, back, and gently massaging the belly. She uses specific pressure points to help support and induce labor, and also incorporates a combination of CranioSacral therapy.
Listen, it’s not just about the ACT of sex and all the friction. You’re not jostling your baby out 😉
It’s all about the semen!
Did you know that semen contains prostaglandins that help stimulate contractions? The human body is so wild… what gets the baby in, can help get the baby OUT.
Having sex three times is the equivalent of a dose of Cervidil, which is a drug used to help dilate the cervix.
You may not feel like having sex at 38-40 weeks pregnant, but remember… it’s for science… haha!
Practicing your low and slow breathing can help your body prep for the act of labor. You want to make sure you stay relaxed (you need to produce oxytocin after all!) and low, steady, breathing helps to push the energy of your baby downward and out.
We do not want to tense (especially. in the neck, shoulders, and face) and make high-pitched sounds. This is very typical of what you see in the movies/media but is the exact opposite energy the body requires to induce labor and easily get that babe out.
I love birth doula Bridgete Taylor’s channel for great exercises on this. I’ve used this video to help me practice!
I love meditation to help prepare for labor in SO many ways. We keep talking about oxytocin, and meditation helps get that moving, too.
Your body produces oxytocin to help stimulate contractions and progress labor naturally, all the while helping to keep the body in a more relaxed state. Alternatively, when we are in a fearful or fight-or-flight state, the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline can actually slow down labor and increase your pain.
Meditating not only helps bring your body into a place of relaxation which might induce labor, but when you practice ahead of time, research has shown that it improves birth outcomes and may even reduce the need for interventions!
Other tricks to consider for naturally inducing labor…
While I am not specifically trying these myself, many women claim they have helped induce their labor:
- Pineapple. I may make a pineapple and date smoothie!
- Castor Oil. Castor oil stimulates intestinal contractions and can stimulate uterine contractions. It can also cause you to have a really terrible bellyache… so this is one I’m not quite interested in. I’ve also heard it may increase the risk of your baby popping during labor (meconium), but I’m not 100% about the research on that.
- Spicy Foods. I may give this a go! But spicy foods are also known to increase heartburn, so it’s your toss-up!
- Walking. This one is is a GREAT one. For me at this stage in the game, walking is beginning to really hurt my pelvis. So I’m going to keep bouncing on that birthing ball instead 🙂
Have you tried any of the tricks above to induce labor?? I would love to hear more!