Are you passed your due date and going out of you mind waiting for baby to arrive?
You probably got really excited and shared your due date with everyone right? So now that time has come and gone and still no baby! Now your desperately searching for ‘how to induce labor naturally’.
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Going overdue can be really stressful for modern mamas. You probably have a ton of people constantly texting and messaging you asking if baby is here yet. Heaven forbid you take a break from your phone and social media for a while. They will pretty much go into melt down.
But the aim of the game is to get your little chilled bambino to make an appearance before 42 weeks. Once you hit the 40 weeks mark, your doctor or midwife will most likely offer you a date for medical induction. The problem is that, just like any medical procedure, induction can come with increased risks to you and baby.
Related: How to Prevent Tearing During Labor
Well there are ways that you may be able to avoid going down that road. Let’s check out my favorite ways to help women to naturally induce labor.
Please note: This information is only aimed at women who have reached 40 weeks of ‘low risk’ pregnancy. Please do not attempt this advice if you are below 40 weeks or have medical concerns regarding your pregnancy.
How To Induce Labor Naturally
When it comes to all things pregnancy related, it’s so easy to forget about the simple things. Stripping everything back to basics usually works wonders. When I suggest walking, that may seem perhaps a little too simple for you? Walking is a great way to encourage baby to engage further into your pelvis. This means baby’s head is balancing nicely on your cervix to stimulate it from the inside and get all your labour hormones going.
You don’t want to overdo it and get exhausted before the big event. If you can try walking up a gentle sloping hill or a small set of stairs. The movement it your hips really helps baby get into the best position, for an easier labor.
This is a method to use as it can work two ways. The first way is by exposing your cervix to a prostaglandins. How? Through sperm. That’s right, sperm is a natural version of the medication you receive vaginally during induction. Prostaglandins are known to help the cervix thin out, shorten and start to dilate, and kick-start contractions.
Another way sex works is by giving you an orgasm. When you reach the big ‘O’, you release a hormone called oxytocin. This is the hormone that has the same affect that Pitocin does on your body. One simple orgasm can coordinate your womb to start regularly contracting.
If your waters have broken we don’t recommend having sex, as it can increase the risks of infection to you and baby.
Essential oils are an age old home remedy for every ailment under the sun. Pregnancy conditions are no different. Modern midwives are often trained in aromatherapy techniques to offer a natural therapy to pregnant women.
The best essential oils for inducing labor are clary sage and Jasmine. You need to use reputable brands with pure oil, like as this one. It’s important to know these oils shouldn’t be directly applied to the skin. The best way to use them is to dilute them in water (such as a bath). Another great way it to mix them with a carrier oil (coconut oil is great for this). Use them to have a lovely massage so you feel ultra-chilled before your labour started.
4. Membrane Sweep
I am a huge fan of membrane sweeps. When performed well they are fantastic for preventing medical induction. A sweep is a vaginal examination by your doctor of midwife. They will insert a finger into your cervix and circles around the tip of your baby’s head. The idea is to stimulate a natural release of prostaglandins to kick-start contractions. They will be able to tell you how likely you are to go into labor yourself (your Bishop Score).
Sweeps are known to work really well after 40 weeks and with a good bishop score. If a sweep has worked well you should go into labour within two days of having one. Unfortunately, if the sweep doesn’t work it can cause you discomfort and make you crampy without any real affect.
5. Eat Dates
There are certain foods that some women swear by to get them into labor. Popular options include spicy curries and pineapple. There is nothing truly scientific to back up these claims. Probably more than anything it gives you enough of a dodgy tummy to set labor off.
Eating dried date fruit is getting a good reputation for naturally inducing labour. It’s thought the fruit helps to ripen your cervix and prevent prolonged pregnancy. A study in the Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology found it helped prevent induction and reduce the need for Pitocin. It’s recommended you eat 4 dried dates (like these ones) everyday form 37 weeks. That’s easy done when chopped up and added to yoghurt or a smoothie.
6. Birthing Balls
Have you been told you baby is in a back to back position? The bad news is that this isn’t a great way for labor to start. The good news is you can change it.
A birthing ball (yes one of these giant exercise balls) is a great way to get baby into the best position. When babies head is in the right place, you contraction will coordinate and your cervix will dilate evenly.
Most advice tell you to simply bounce up and down. However, baby turning guru Gail Tully from Spinning Babies recommends hip circles for 20 minutes and them switching directions. This can easily be done whilst to watch TV each night.
7. Nipple Stimulation
Now this one may sound a bit ‘crunchy’, but it’s seriously very effective at starting your contractions. This is not one to mess with before your due date, no matter how fed up you are.
Nipple stimulation is exactly as the name suggests. You can gently roll your nipple between your thumb and forefinger or massage the areola with the palm of your hand. Your body thinks you new-born is nursing and releases oxytocin, which you already know starts contractions.
You can stimulate your nipples for up to an hour at a time, three times a day. Or how about using a breast pump to do the work for you, if you have one available. You can do it whilst sitting on your birth ball. Or get your partner to do it for you to combine a few techniques at the same time.
I hope one of these methods works for you. If you have a favorite or unusual way of inducing labor, leave a comment below, I’d love to hear about it.