Obligatory medical disclaimer: I am not a doctor, this is not medical advice – this post is based on a combination of research into methods other moms are discussing online and from personal experience. You should speak to your doctor before trying to induce
DIY stretch and sweep
Can you break your own waters?
Cervical pressure more painful than
Can you be pregnant forever?!?!?!?
My actual recent Google search history… yes, really.
Sadly, Google had no answers for me – unless you count the dumpster fire of a thread from Baby Centre about DIY stretch and sweeps… (in case you were wondering, these are NOT recommended.)
Due dates are so funny… It’s kinda crazy that we still get a 40 week due date considering that up to 40% of babies are born after this date… that’s a whole lotta babies arriving ‘late’.
If you’ve just sailed past your due date with no end to your pregnancy in sight… or you’re staring down a medical induction date and hoping that things will kick start so you don’t have to go through with it you’re probably looking everywhere for natural ways to induce
You’re in good company too! Did you know that more than 50% of women according to this study tried natural methods to bring on
That’s a whole lot of us not willing to just sit back and wait passively for baby’s arrival. I understand. The waiting is killing me. Bring on the next stage already.
When Is It Safe to Naturally Induce
The third trimester gets so uncomfortable you just want baby out RIGHT NOW! I get it.
If you’ve gone past your due date and you’re staring down at a medical induction you could talk to your doctor about trying these methods. Otherwise, I wouldn’t try to induce – due dates aren’t always accurate and babies do a lot of maturing in the last couple of weeks of pregnancy. You don’t want to risk evicting your little one too early if your dates aren’t spot on!
Natural methods of induction don’t have a 100% success rate. I’m hoping this time I’ll have a chance to go into
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What You Should Do Before Trying to Induce
Labor At Home
If you’re ready to have your baby, what steps should you take before you jump in and start trying to induce your own
1. Discuss Things With Your Doctor
Although it may be awkward, you should let your health care provider know that you’re going to try some things to get
Discussing your ideas for
2. Get Informed
Read up on the pros and cons of the induction methods you’re considering and don’t forget to apply them to your own situation! For example, vigorous loooooong walks, stair climbs and squats are three natural methods often recommended – but if you’re suffering with bad pelvic girdle pain this is one of the worst things you could possibly do because it will severely aggravate your joint pain. Also, new research comes out all the time about various things and how effective they are at inducing
3. Be Prepared
If you haven’t read up on
Sex to Induce
One of the most popular methods of inducing
Does it actually work though?
Results are mixed. It also takes some creativity to do at 40+ weeks pregnant!
However, there are other benefits to having sex (if you can):
- it can relax you (which also helps get things started on the
- an orgasm causes the release of oxytocin which is the main
laborhormone and also makes you feel good.
But of course, sex requires a willing partner… if you’d rather ways to induce
Bouncing on Birth Ball
Bouncing up and down on a birth ball or exercise ball is another popular method for inducing
How Does Bouncing on a ball induce
It’s said that the bouncing helps to move baby down into the right position for
Does it actually work? Results are mixed! But this method is so easy to do you can bounce up and down while relaxing and watching Netflix without getting too tired.
Squat Your Way Into
I’m not a fan of this method… mainly because I know I won’t be able to do it! If you’re suffering from SPD or pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain, squatting is a baaaad idea as it puts more strain on all those ligaments that are already hurting.
The premise behind squatting is that it helps to open your hips and pelvis and move baby down into position for birth.
It is also quite a tiring way to induce
Or perhaps we might say ‘waddling’? Hehehe. I’m guessing this is another method best left for those ladies feeling spry and able at the end of pregnancy.
Why does walking help? It can help your baby move down into position and apply pressure to your cervix to help it start to open.
Along with squatting, this is also a pretty tiring way to induce
Does Nipple Stimulation Really Work to Induce
Actually, there’s a good reason why nipple stimulation helps to induce
How to do it: while you could choose to manually stimulate your nipples… this is a great opportunity to try out your shiny new breast pump (if you got one – did you know you can probably get one for free through your insurance?) I must say this is high on my list of things to try because it’s
- requires minimal energy expenditure.
- can be done while doing something else… like relaxing or reading.
- can be done alone and for as long as you want… because of the above points.
As an added bonus, you may also be able to collect and store some colostrum for your baby. It’s always handy to have a stash… though you won’t get too much until your milk comes in.
We talk about nipple stimulation even more in this post on scientifically proven ways to prepare your body for labor.
Clary Sage for
Can clary sage induce
You don’t want to eat clary sage for this method – just get clary sage oil and sniff it.
Edible Natural Induction Methods
There are so many natural methods of induction and old wives tales about various things you can eat to bring on
Here are some of the most popular:
Labor Cookies – Do they Work to Induce Labor?
I was scrolling Pinterest the other day and I came across a recipe for these somewhat delicious sounding cookies. I say somewhat, because cayenne pepper in a cookie? I don’t know how I feel about hot, spicy cookies…
However, these cookies get rave reviews and if you read some of the comments it seems that they actually work to induce
This is one recipe I’m definitely saving for later!
Can Dates Start
Did you know that eating dates can help your
Watch the video for a summary of the evidence:
Pineapple is a super popular
Spicy Food helps you go into
Similar to castor oil (not recommended!), spicy food helps you go into
But, if you’re a fan of spicy things normally this is a pretty harmless method… so long as you aren’t suffering major heartburn or reflux issues, why not give it a shot?
Complementary Medicine for
I’m not a huge fan of complementary medicine methods for inducing
Chiropractic Adjustments for
I’ve never been to a chiropractor, but many women include a chiropractic appointment in combination with the other
How does it work? I’m not convinced it helps bring on
Chiropractic adjustments to improve your alignment may also help to shorten
Does Acupuncture Work to Induce
You might have heard that acupuncture can help with all kinds of things, including
You can learn more about it in this video:
Acupressure to Induce
Labor at Home
There is some evidence to suggest that acupressure can help cervical ripening. If you want to try this at home, here’s the pressure point you need to target. In the study, participants applied acupressure for around 20 minutes to the pressure point.
This is definitely a method I’d be willing to try at home! It’s easy, doesn’t require drinking or eating anything gross and you don’t need any special equipment.
Evening Primrose Oil
This is another method to help ripen the cervix and get things ready for baby’s arrival. It works like prostaglandins, though not as strong as the ones the hospital would use in an induction.
You can take Evening Primrose Oil orally, but using capsules internally seems to be a common thing. If you decide to try this method, I’ve seen recommendations for 2-3 capsules inserted up to the cervix overnight. And make sure you wear a pad to contain the mess!
When you think about
Some top ways to relax:
- watch a movie
- take a warm bath
- have a massage…
Massage To Induce
A good massage? Sounds like bliss, especially at 40 weeks pregnant! While you may not go instantly into
- relaxation – if you’re stressed out about
laboror playing the waiting game, relaxation might be just the thing to get things going.
- oxytocin – a massage can cause your body to release oxytocin, the
laborhormone which might help tip your body over the edge into labor.
This is not a particularly comfortable method and it’s certainly not a non-invasive one! At your later appointments, you can ask your doctor about membrane sweeping or stripping.
What this entails is your doctor inserting his finger through your cervix and sweeping in a circular motion to separate the membranes from the wall of the uterus.
There are definitely some risks involved with this method:
- your membranes might rupture rather than simply separate from the uterus… leading to your waters breaking. If this happens, your doctor will most likely want you to go into
labornaturally within 24 hours or be induced as having your waters broken is an infection risk for you and baby.
- it’s not very comfortable… you also need to be somewhat dilated (1cm or more) for your doctor to be able to reach through your cervix.
- there’s always a chance for infection when inserting anything through the vagina, even though your doctor will wear gloves.
Midwives Brew – The Secret Method With An Amazing Success Rate?
This was not a thing during my last pregnancy… but this time around I’m can’t stop reading about ‘Midwives Brew’ everywhere particularly now it’s more than halfway through my ‘birth month’.
What is it? How does it work? And, is it safe?
There’s not too much evidence on Midwive’s Brew, apart from the anecdotal.
The basic recipe involves castor oil, lemon verbena tea, apricot nectar and almond butter. I’m guessing (since there aren’t any studies on it) that the castor oil is the active ingredient and the rest of the ingredients are there to mask the flavor and counter the gross effects of the castor oil (read – horrific and explosive diarrhoea).
Some doctors and midwives are actually recommending this to their patients who are far enough along, so if you’re considering the brew, ask them for the go ahead!
And if you want to read more about Midwives Brew, here’s a great post from a Labor and Delivery nurse!
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea to Induce
Does red raspberry leaf tea help induce
Red raspberry leaf tea is one of those old midwives wisdom tales – drinking red raspberry leaf tea from the second trimester can help tone the uterus leading to more powerful and effective contractions during
Is raspberry tea the same as red raspberry leaf?
And will raspberry tea induce
Not necessarily… you’ll need to look at the ingredients to be sure. RED raspberry leaf tea and raspberry leaf tea are the same… but raspberry tea may just be a herbal tea flavored with sweet herbal ingredients and/or artifical flavors which won’t work at all.
Here are a couple of brands you might like to try available on Amazon:
- Traditional Medicinals Organic Raspberry Leaf Tea
- Celebration Herbals Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
- Organic Biokoma Red Raspberry Leaves
Frequently Asked Questions about Natural
Coffee to Induce
What about drinking coffee to induce
Oh and please don’t try this method either, it literally gets the prize for the weirdest method I’ve ever heard of to induce
What about Castor Oil?
I heard a lot about castor oil when I was in the third trimester with my little boy a few years ago… but I was way too chicken to try it. And actually, these days, no one really recommends it. Castor oil irritates the gut which can send you running for the bathroom… frequently and constantly. It might seem like a small price to pay for going into
Other Methods to Get
Labor Going at Home?
Do you have any other methods you swear by for getting
>>> read more on the Making of Mom home page.