These Natural Ways To Induce Labor Really Work

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If you ask around (and, honestly, even if you don’t), women everywhere will tell you about the natural ways to induce labor that worked for them (or a friend, or a sister, or a daughter-in-law). Everybody, it seems, has a theory. As annoying as it might be to have the check-out girl at your grocery store order you to drink red raspberry leaf tea, she just might be on to something. And here’s the thing: If you’re past your due date, chances are you’ll try anything. There came a time in my pregnancy (especially my second), when my body ached, I couldn’t sleep, and I was just ready to hold my baby in my arms and be done with it.

The good news: There are natural ways to induce labor that really work. (Note: These are not to be tried just because you’re tired of being pregnant; for your baby’s good health, you really need to go the full 40 weeks before trying to evict her.) I’ve thrown together a list of ideas to check out. Just remember to talk to your doctor before trying any of these. Oh, and and leave a note in the comments section if we missed anything, or if one of these methods worked for you!

1. Exercise

Moving your body, whether it be a stroll or a spin class, could help relieve stress, as well as urge your baby downward (hello, gravity!) to dilate the cervix.

2. Sex

Some doctors believe that the prostaglandins ((the lipid compounds known to have hormone-like effects) found in semen can stimulate the cervix. If your partner ejaculates deep inside the vagina it could lead to contractions.

3. (Lots of) pineapple

Apparently, pineapple contains an enzyme that is known to soften the cervix. However, to get the full effects of the bromelain enzyme, you’ll need to eat several pineapples (like 5+).

4. Acupuncture

This needle-based form of alternative medicine releases oxytocin in the body and has been used for centuries to induce labor.

5. Acupressure

Many practitioners believe that this technique using small amounts of physical pressure may bring on labor. Even if it doesn’t, it could help reduce any physical pain you may be experiencing toward the end of your pregnancy.

6. Nipple stimulation

Stimulating the nipples can cause uterine contractions. Try massaging the nipple with your thumb and forefinger (and a little oil to keep it smooth), or even use a breast pump.

7. Spicy food

Some spicy foods contain prostaglandin which may be released when you digest your meal. Many women swear by a seriously hot dinner to get things going.

8. Raspberry leaf tea

This stuff is thought to tone the uterus and urge the uterine muscles to contract and form regular contractions.

9. Evening Primrose Oil

The oil found in this plant contains linolenic acid, which may soften the cervix and stimulate your body’s prostaglandin response in order to bring about labor.

10. Castor Oil

This vegetable oil will make your bowel muscles contract, thereby possibly stimulating your uterine muscles to contract as well. Be warned, ladies: diarrhea will likely follow!

 

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Photo: Getty