10 Methods of Inducing Labor at Home Naturally

Submitted by Pregnancy and Baby Care team on April 16, 2012

Pregnancy is one of the most delightful experiences of a woman’s life, though the last few weeks can be a bit tedious. It gets difficult for you to move around comfortably and since you are so close to your due date, you probably can’t wait to hold your little one in your arms. It is also possible for you to cross the delivery due date predicted by your gynecologist, with no sign of going into labor. Many women in this situation try to explore different ways to induce labor at home.

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Some of these methods may have no effect, some could have a favorable effect, while still others could have a negative or even a fatal effect. It is necessary that you do not try any methods for inducing labor, without getting a go-ahead from your OB/GYN.

Given below are myths and facts of 10 ways to induce labor at home:?

Walking

Walking is one of the few methods that your doctor may recommend for expediting labor. The gentle bumping motion of your body while walking can help your baby move into the birthing canal. As your baby is pushed downward, your cervix widens with the pressure. This in turn leads to contractions and labor. However, if you decide to go walking to induce labor, make sure that you -

  • Wear a good pair of walking shoes, socks and comfortable clothing
  • Choose even and smooth terrain to walk on
  • Check with your physician about the ideal pace

Acupuncture/Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been used for centuries in several Asian countries to trigger labor. Alternately, you could opt for acupressure. Some of the acupressure points to induce labor include:

  • The small of the back
  • The shoulder well
  • The heel
  • The webbing between the thumb and forefinger

Spicy foods

Spicy foods usually disturb the digestive system, which in turn upsets the uterus and could cause you to go into labor. However, many health experts say that there is no connection between the tummy and the uterus, thereby negating this theory. Your doctor will probably advise you against the consumption of spicy foods to induce labor.

Sex and orgasms

One of the labor-inducing strategies that seem to get a thumbs-up from doctors and midwives is having sex. There is no scientific evidence to prove that having sex could cause you to go into labor. However, semen contains prostaglandin, which is quite similar to labor-inducing medication. Therefore, if there are no complications in your pregnancy your doctor may ask you to give this technique a shot. Orgasms too are said to make the uterus contract to some extent. Some of these contractions could be strong enough to induce labor at times. However, there have also been reports of preterm labor caused by sex. Therefore, it is essential that you speak to your doctor, before engaging in any sexual activity during pregnancy.

Nipple stimulation

For this technique, you could either use a breast pump or you could gently rub your nipples with your fingers. This act releases a hormone called Oxytocin, which causes contractions. Make sure that you –

  • Only stimulate one nipple at a time
  • Massage a nipple for about 5 minutes & wait for 15 minutes or so to see what happens
  • Strictly avoid stimulating the nipple during a contraction.

Some women who have tried to induce labor using nipple stimulation claim that to have experienced contractions that are very strong. This can be quite dangerous, which is probably why this technique is not a highly recommended one.

Dancing

Certain people and websites may advise you to dance your way into labor, if you have reached the full term of your pregnancy. Of course, dancing may not seem to be the most feasible option because of your large midsection. If you do decide to try dancing for inducing labor, please do not try any jolting steps. Swinging your hips around gently may be the best thing to do.

Relaxing

The best thing that you can do while waiting for your little one to pop out, is relax. Relaxing techniques recommended for women who are expected to go into labor include:

  • Soaking in a warm bath
  • Listening to light music
  • Meditating

Many pregnant women also swear by techniques like yoga and deep breathing for relaxing and inducing labor. Speak with your physician before you engage in either of them. Also make sure that these techniques are only practiced under the supervision of an expert.

Castor oil

Though this is one of the most widely recommended ways to induce labor, statistics show that it works only 57% of the times. This remedy stimulates the bowels, which lean on the uterus, thereby causing contractions. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove that castor oil can help induce labor. Some of the possible side effects of taking castor oil include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Uterine contractions that are not necessarily related to labor
  • Dehydration in case of excessive diarrhea
  • Nausea and in rare cases, vomiting

Many people believe that castor oil can cause the baby to pass meconium in the womb, though there is no scientific proof to substantiate this claim. Nevertheless, you should not have castor oil to induce labor unless your doctor advises you to do so.

Massage

While the effectiveness of this technique is still being questioned, many women have reported that a good massage is effective in inducing labor. Massage therapy for the induction of labor could include –

  • Foot massages: Certain pressure points located in and around the foot help stimulate contractions, as they affect the uterus. One of the pressure points is just above your inner ankle and the other point is the shin bone
  • Hand massages: The pressure point on the hand lies on the webbing between the pointer and the thumb.
  • Back and shoulder massages: Gently massaging your back and shoulders is good for reducing the surge of stress hormones and kick-starting labor. However, make sure that you lie down on your side (preferably the left side) for a back or shoulder massage.

Swimming

There are many claims that you can induce labor with the breaststroke. Again, there is no scientific evidence that proves the effectiveness of swimming in inducing labor.

You may find many other recommendations for inducing labor, like yoga, squats, skipping, or even cleaning your house. Always remember that your baby will arrive when he or she is ready. Forcing your body to go into labor is not always a good idea and therefore, you should only consider these techniques if your doctor suggests it. Inducing labor before you have completed the 39th week of pregnancy is not safe.

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