Let’s talk about how to induce labor yourself! Are you looking for natural labor induction methods, or how to go into labor TONIGHT? For almost ALL pregnant women, the last few weeks leading up to delivery can be agonizing.
You can’t sleep, you’ve got a baby kicking you in the ribs, your feet are swollen, and you feel like a huge cow (you’re not by the way!)
I have patients come into triage ALL THE TIME begging to be induced so they can get this over with already, and meet their babies. Ladies, I hear you. I know it stinks being 40+ weeks pregnant.
The reality is, letting your body go into labor spontaneously versus electively being induced is associated with less maternal complications. Take a look at this study. While neonatal outcomes were shown to be unaffected, the c-section rates, labor interventions, and lengths of hospital stay for mom were all significantly higher for mamas who were electively induced using medical techniques.
I have been there. Two days past my due date, and so ready to be DONE! I had been trying for a good two weeks to get myself to go into labor, but frustrated as I seemingly was unsuccessful.
I’m going to break it down for you. The truth is, there are a TON of things out there you can do PREP your body for going into labor.
I’m sure you’ve heard, “I ate Chinese food” or “I went on bumpy car ride and then went into labor a few hours later”. That’s all fine and dandy, but the reality is, you can’t do much to put yourself into labor if your body isn’t physically ready to go into labor yet.
In fact, doctors don’t know exactly what triggers a woman to go into labor (although this is kind of interesting!). There have been countless studies on the subject, and many theories circulating, but it hasn’t been figured out definitively yet.
With that said, I’ll share with you the routine that I believe was successful in helping to trigger my body to go into labor. I did all of these things IN ONE DAY, and I believe the bombardment I gave my body was enough to throw me into full blown labor the next morning.
Related: VBAC Birth: Facts, Risks and Tips!
Additional disclosure: Do not try any of these activities as an attempt to put yourself in labor until you are term (AKA 37 weeks pregnant). Please see my disclaimer below for more info.
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How to induce yourself…
I started off my morning with a really long walk
I went to the mall and walked around for about 2 hours. (It was the middle of February, or else I would have been outside!) And, I’m not saying I casually went in and out of stores, taking my time here and there…no, I was getting a little workout! As you walk, baby is gently bouncing up and down on your cervix. So, strolling is a no-no, you gotta be power walking!
Check out this article from Mom Loves Best on more exercises, similar to walking, you can do to help get baby to bounce up and down on that cervix!
Then I went to see a reflexologist
Y’all, even if you are not pregnant, I recommend doing this. It’s basically just a massage just for your feet. I’ve heard pedicures can do the trick too, but if you’ve got ’em painted already, GO FOR THE REFLEXOLOGY. It was glorious after walking around for 2 hours.
Then I ate a whole pineapple (core included)
Well, almost a whole pineapple. It’s very hard eating an entire pineapple at 9 months pregnant. The important factor in this is that I also ate the core.
That is where the Bromelain lies. Bromelain is a chemical that is thought to soften your cervix and cause uterine cramping when you are pregnant.
Then I sat on my yoga ball for hours
Bouncing up and down on a yoga ball is thought to be the same theory on why walking is beneficial in changing your cervix.
Baby is bouncing up and down, putting the needed pressure on your cervix for it to soften and dilate. Sitting on a yoga ball is also GREAT for getting baby in a good birthing position. It feels good on your lower back, and also helps your posture!
Then I ate some extra spicy Jalapeno peppers
They were tear jerking, sweat inducing poppers, guys. I’m not talking the frozen kind you buy from Food Lion. Spicy food is thought to help put you into labor primarily because it really gets your GI tract moving. And guess what’s right next to your GI tract…your uterus!
Then I had sex
(SORRY MOM AND DAD) Sexual intercourse is thought to induce labor in a few different ways. First off, sex (with or without orgasm) increases uterine activity. Second, semen is a natural source of prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances responsible for helping to change your cervix during labor. Lastly, nipple stimulation releases oxytocin, the chemical responsible for causing uterine contractions during labor.
Then I went to *sleep* (aka I rested my eyes for a few hours), and woke up at 7:30 AM in full blown labor! Success!
Well…that’s my routine! I must stress that I believe this truly worked because I bombarded myself! Many women try these methods here and there with no success. It’s about doing them all at once that I BELIEVE worked for me!
What if this doesn’t work, though? Read on…
A few more natural labor induction methods to try when my routine doesn’t work for you…
First off…have you heard of the midwives brew? I recently wrote a detailed article on it, and it has an 85% percent success rate! That’s pretty cool…be sure not to try it until AFTER your due date however…
Going along with natural labor induction methods…here are a few other things I’ve heard of recently that have had success!
- Red Raspberry Tea/Leaf
- Nipple Stimulation
- See a Chiropractor
- Stripping Your Membranes (Please have a skilled professional do this!)
- Go Eat a “Labor Salad’
Red raspberry tea/leaf
Red Raspberry Tea is a very common method many women use, but I just didn’t try it (solely because I’m not a big tea fan, ha!). The idea behind this potent herb is that it helps tone your uterus (making contractions more effective when you do go into labor).
The thought behind this is….maybe women’s uterus’s aren’t quite toned effectively in the latter weeks of pregnancy…which is why labors don’t tend to start on their own (especially for first time moms) until after 40 weeks.
And, if you are able to “tone up” your uterus in preparation for the big day…it may come sooner than it would if you weren’t toned.
I know that’s weird, but that’s the easiest way I could explain it!
So, while it’s not a method that will make you go into labor tonight, if you drink a few cups of red raspberry tea for the last 2 months of your pregnancy you may be much more likely to go into labor spontaneously without medical induction methods!
Here’s a fun video from Evidence Based Birth!
I’ve already mentioned this briefly in my routine, but nipple stimulation to induce labor can be so effective that it deserves it’s own section!
Nipple stimulation is a known oxytocin-release, which is the main hormone that is responsible for causing you to go into labor! The thought is, if you can bombard your body with enough Oxytocin…you can throw yourself into labor!
Oxytocin is the feel-good hormone…think of frolicking through a field, playing with puppies, a nice warm cup of hot chocolate on a cold day…what do all of those things have in common? OXYTOCIN!
When you experience something pleasurable, oxytocin is making that “this feels so good!” feeling in your body!
Nipple stimulation can be done in a few ways…
- Gently rolling your nipples between your thumb and fore-finger
- Using a breast pump on a low setting
Related: Episiotomy vs. Natural Tearing
HOW TO DO NIPPLE STIMULATION:
First, choose your tool (whether it’s your partner, your hands, or your breast pump).
- Only use one breast at a time
- Limit constant stimulation to 5 minute intervals, and then wait 15 minutes in-between
- Do not use nipple stimulation during a contraction (pause)
- Stop doing nipple stimulation once your contractions are three minutes in intensity, and increasing in strength
Here’s a great article detailing some more specifics about nipple stimulation during labor!
See a chiropractor
Chiropractor care can be glorious all throughout your pregnancy, but can be SPECIFICALLY helpful for going into labor as well. There are a few different methods a chiropractor may do. There’s a technique that can be done to stimulate bowel activity and also another procedure that involves putting pressure on one of your uterine ligaments.
Stripping your membranes
This is a procedure that may be done by your provider to attempt to get your labor started. Usually not done before 38-39 weeks, you’ll have to be at least one centimeter to have this procedure performed.
Your provider will insert his/her finger through your cervix and manually sweep the edges of your amniotic sac, lifting the base of the sac of water away from the cervix. Unfortunately this procedure is painful, and many women experience cramping during and after the procedure. You may experience some bleeding after the procedure as well.
Stripping your membranes is an effective way to jump start labor because it release prostaglandins around your cervix, which can cause your uterus to contract!
I actually had my membranes stripped a few times before labor, and while I don’t believe it caused me to go into labor….it DID cause me to lose my mucous plug!
Dates before labor
Haha, YEAH DATES!
I actually hate dates…but apparently consuming dates before labor can cause you to go into labor!
According to this study, women who ate 6 dates per day for the last month of their pregnancies were significantly more dilated and more likely to:
- Go into labor spontaneously on their own
- Have intact membranes upon admission to the hospital
- Avoid pitocin
- And have a shorter early labor
Go eat a “labor salad”
And finally…eat a labor salad!
I recently heard about this “labor salad” after watching a video about it on Facebook! Apparently, there is a restaurant in Los Angeles known for stimulating labor. They report having 3-5 pregnant ladies stop in DAILY for a try at their salad!
Related: The Four Stages of Labor
According to the LA Weekly:
“Though the 30-year-old restaurant has never officially claimed that the salad can help the process along, believers say the secret is in the dressing — a balsamic vinaigrette made with basil, sun-dried tomato, extra virgin olive oil, vinegar and a mix of spices the owners keep under wraps….”
That actually sounds really yummy!
This concludes my article on how to induce labor yourself!
What natural labor induction methods have worked for you?
Be sure to check out what happens during delivery once you get yourself into labor!
Related: What is Hypnobirthing?
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