If you’re reading this you’re most likely passed 40 weeks of your pregnancy and your exhaustion has been taken to a brand new level.
I completely understand how you’re feeling- when I was approaching my 41st week I thought I’m gonna stay pregnant forever and that my big bump will never let me see my feet again.
But I’ll assure you- whether you will do something to induce labor or not, you will meet your little one sooner than you think.
Today I’ll share with you some tips on how to induce labor naturally at home.
Anything that will get your heart rate up should do the job. You could do squats, some birth ball exercises or simply take a long walk- the gravity will help the baby to position itself in a right way while descending into the pelvic area.
Walking up the stairs is also great for speeding up the labor. All of these things you should have been doing up until now as they relieve your stress and prepare your body for the delivery.
2. Spicy foods
Since spicy foods gently irritate humans intestines, it is believed it can cause pregnant women uterus to contract and bring on labor. There is no evidence it actually works (apart from many mums who swear by it) but instead it can bring you indigestion or a heartburn.
That’s the reaction I got when trying to induce the labor (nothing pleasant I have to say!). My advice: only try this method if you are used to eating spicy food.
3. Red raspberry leaf tea
Drinking red raspberry leaf tea is sometimes recommended by midwives when you’re about 8 weeks before your due date. It’s believed the tea, if drank regularly, tones and strengthens muscles of your womb so they could work more efficiently once you’re in labor. This might mean shorter delivery- worth giving it a go, right?
However, it’s best not to use this method if you’re overdue and want the labor to start soon- apparently, the contractions may get too intense which can distress your baby.
4. Evening primrose oil
Another herb that can be used to induce labor naturally. Evening primrose oil taken in capsules in the last weeks of your pregnancy can help the cervix to soften and dilate, preparing it for labor. There’s some evidence suggesting it can even shorten the labor up to 3 hours.
Make sure you have a green light from your midwife/doctor, before you decide to take the oil.
5. Nipple stimulation
As weird as it sounds, nipple stimulation can be really effective if you want to kick-start the labor. It’s because massaging your nipples releases the oxytocin hormone which in turn can get the contractions going.
It should give you the desired effect if you do it for a couple of hours during the day- I know you’re picturing yourself doing it right now and you’re laughing:) But hey, I’m not judging- some time ago I was doing the exact same thing!
Fun fact: breastfeeding your baby after the delivery brings on the same stimulation and it helps your uterus to go back (shrink) to its original size. Isn’t it just amazing how our bodies were designed?
YES, do it, even if it feels uncomfortable! I’m really convinced that’s what helped me the most in inducing the labor. Literally only few hours after I had sex, my first contractions started to appear (just realized I’ve never actually told anyone about this).
Sex is helpful since it’s a form of relaxation=oxytocin is released. Also, sperm can trigger labor as it contains hormones called prostaglandins – they can thin your cervix, making it ready for delivery.
Whether it works for you or not- there’s no harm in trying… Besides, this can be the last time you can get intimate with your partner without interruption, so enjoy while it lasts!
Acupressure is an old Chinese practice that involves putting pressure with fingertips on specific points on the body to stimulate uterine activity. There is some evidence that it not only speeds up the labor but can also reduce the pain.
Some pressure points that could help induce labor naturally include: the webbing between your thumb and index finger, and the inside of your leg about four finger-widths above the ankle bone.
Always talk to your doctor before trying acupressure.
8. Just relax
Do anything you normally do in order to relax. Things like massage, meditation or even lying down and listening to your favourite music can bring up the levels of the oxytocin in your body.
When you’re feeling relaxed and comfortable, you’re letting your baby know that you’re ready for his arrival!
I was practicing hypnobirthing weeks before my due date and I found it really helpful in the whole delivery preparation process.
Benefits of waiting for labor to start on its own
If you’re over 41 weeks pregnant and already tried some suggested methods, you’ll be offered a medical induction.
You usually have a choice to wait one more week (unless your doctor tells you otherwise). There are many benefits of waiting for the labor to start on its own.
Women who weren’t induced usually recover faster than those who were, which in practice means you get to take your baby home sooner.
More time in the womb brings a list of advantages: babies get stronger, have less risk of infection, jaundice or low blood sugar while their breathing and brain development is improved.
It’s always better to wait for your body (and your baby) to decide when it’s the right time for the labor to start.
If you decide to try anything from the list above, you should speak with your doctor to ask about any possible side effects. Also, keep in mind these methods might not work for you as every pregnancy is different.
And, don’t forget to have your hospital bag ready!
Wishing you all a lot of patience.
Stay strong mamas, you can do it!:)