Naturally Inducting Labor: What Probably Doesn’t Work And What Doctors Think Is Most Promising

Anyone who has been pregnant will tell you that the end of pregnancy is no joke.  The swelling, the discomfort, and the inability to get any decent sleep is enough to drive anyone insane, let alone a woman with a body full of hormones, anxiously anticipating the birth of a child.  I was five days late with my first and I very clearly remember, even though it was almost 10 years ago, someone jokingly asking me when I was due, and my annoyance nearly allowed fire to come out of my eyes.  Regardless of the wait, it’s natural for us moms-to-be to want to speed the process along at the end which leads to this question- is there actually a proven way to naturally induce labor? We know drugs at the hospital will do the trick but are any of the natural ways any good?  Below we will list a few of the most promising and a few of the not-so-promising and as always, please consult with your doctor before trying any of the below mentioned methods!

1. Acupuncture or Acupressure: This has been described as a “gentle way to nudge labor along” and acupuncturists somewhat tout how effective it can be.  This is due to the pressure points’ ability to stimulate uterine activity.  With that said, it could be ineffective if you body isn’t actually ready for labor.

2. Walking: This is one of the more promising methods, for no other reason than it won’t hurt anything if it doesn’t work.  Not only will short walks keep you in good fitness for when you do go into labor, but walking can also help to engage baby into the pelvis. This upright activity can possibly help draw the baby into the pelvis, and in turn get your cervix going for showtime.  Just keep the walks short- you don’t want to exhaust yourself before labor!

3. Sex: This can be a tough one for some- why would you want to do the exact thing that got you into this “mess” right- and when you might not be feeling as sexy as you would like.  The thing is – sex can be really good for a number of reasons.  Not only does sperm contain hormones that help to thin and dilate the cervix, but orgasms could also trigger uterine contractions. And as if those weren’t enough, nipple stimulation and simple massages can help to release the hormone oxytocin, which can also help to get those contractions started.  Now- there is no proof that any of these actually work but there is definitely no harm in trying this one out-and it might even relieve a little tension in the process!

4. Oils: We aren’t talking essential oils on this final way to possibly jump-start labor. Castor oil and Evening Primrose oil, while both natural, have questionable effectiveness and some not-so-fun side effects.  Castor oil is one of those old school methods that older generations swear by but honestly, doesn’t seem to pleasant.  Much like the ‘spicy food’ method, the goal with castor oil is to irritate your bowels in the hopes it will jump start contractions.  To be honest, terrible diarrhea not only sounds horrible but could potentially dehydrate you.  Primrose oil, which is actually an herb, has been said to be effective in thinning the cervix and generally getting it ready for labor.  While some midwives swear by it, this herb is not for everyone and can even be dangerous for pregnant women with certain medical conditions. 

Were you able to jump start labor naturally?  What methods did not work for you? We would love to hear about it in the comments below!

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