Getting Labor Started, Naturally (Kids, Don't Try This At Home)
My Son'll Come Out...Tomorrow
My son'll come out, tomorrow, tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, he will come! Well, actually I'm having a girl, but that didn't sound right with the lyrics from Annie.
And oh, if only that were true. My doctor gave me three different due dates after the ultrasound revealed that our calculations were well off. Now we've moved beyond due date one and two, and are swiftly approaching due date number three. It seems like we have tried everything--and I do mean EVERYTHING to help this baby arrive.
When we stop off at the convenience store, my *friend* behind the counter loudly proclaims "Sheesh, woman, haven't you had that baby yet? What's wrong with you?"
What have I learned? That my husband is a slave driver and this baby appears to be at least as strong-willed as my other two children. Or maybe she just has a big head. That is a distinct possibility too. If you are in the same situation as me, you may be interested in the tried and true methods of *naturally* inducing labor that I have researched. But I must warn you, they haven't kicked in, and I've been trying them for a few weeks.
Maybe I'm not going to have a baby after all, but a space alien.
Warning, this is a humor piece. I didn't think it was very funny when I wrote it, but neither will you, if you try some crazy stunt from this article and end up having some kind of emergency. So just laugh until you feel like peeing, but don't try this at home.
Some Traditional Ways to Induce Labor
Most of my friends who are mothers of small children have included extensive walking as part of the natural labor inducing methodology. A nice long walk around the neighborhood is a low-strain way of helping gravity position the baby in the birth canal. If you are truly close, this will feel like a watermelon or small cantaloupe is squeezing between your pelvic bones, but this late in the pregnancy, remember that's a good thing. Remember to bring your cell phone, a bottle of water, and a friend that can carry you on his or her back should your water break.
Closely related to walking, and quite a bit more ambitious, is stair stepping. One article I read suggested that the pregnant mother scale two steps at a time. Scaling the stairs in this way is supposed to help thin and stretch your muscles.
If, like me, you aren't fortunate enough to own your own swimming pool, you will need to go through your closet and find something stretchy to wear. Don't worry about shaving your legs either. Everyone at the pool will be gawking at your huge, pregnant stomach instead. If you are 9 months pregnant during the summer months, a good swim will have two effects: the water will bouy up that big belly of yours and take ALL of the strain off of the muscles that are trying to hold you together. With this added level of comfort, you will find yourself much better able to focus on swimming, frog stepping, or jumping jacks, and the exertion might just help you to sleep through the night before giving birth.
Gently rubbing your nipples is known to trigger uterine contractions. I have read on other sites that you will need to do this for at least 10 minutes at a time. Get your partner to help. Use some kind of lotion. This could be painful without it.
Update--I was told that nipple stimulation can create stronger-than-normal contractions and thus is not considered a good natural alternative to starting labor. If you are "toughening" up for nursing, be aware that too much of a good thing isn't a good thing.
Sex is a well-known trigger to help begin contractions. The key here is to make sure that you have an orgasm, since that is what does the trick. And good luck with that. If you can have good sex during the cantaloupe stage, your partner is truly a keeper. Just sayin'.
There are entire articles online dedicated to using castor oil to begin contractions. Castor oil is a laxative, and will cause you to empty your bowels, so, if like me, you live 35 minutes from the hospital with few bathroom facilities in between, this may NOT be the option for you. My friend tried it and says it just made her throw up. With those warnings in mind, many people say this is THE best method they have tried. Castor oil tastes really gross, too, in case you haven't heard.
Update--I read that it is precisely the laxative effect of castor oil that causes contractions. As the bowels empty, the stomach contracts. This can trigger regular contractions in an already due pregnant woman.
I tried this, though I must admit only half-heartedly. And I didn't pay an expert, so that probably didn't help. Accupressure is an ancient Chinese medicinal practice of applying pressure to certain points on the body to stimulate a certain response.
Swinging on a Swing
10 years ago I was 10 years younger than I am now. I was 9 days overdue with my first child, and getting desperate. We went to the playground and went swinging on a swing set. I don't know if this is safe or not, so be careful with this. You've waited a long time for your baby to come, don't go overboard.
Some Creative Methods
Off-Road Adventure...It's a Guy Thing
Since swimming, walking, stair stepping, and other forms of physical activity weren't doing the trick, my husband suggested we go for an off-road adventure. We drove on a rutted dirt road, and then through a boulder-strewn river-bed. If you want my opinion, this suggestion was a guy thing. My husband got the idea from his coworker, who proudly boasted that HIS wife went into labor almost immediately after he took her on a jarring ride through the desert on his Rail. Sounds like a guy thing to me.
We took our 2-year old son with us, and he regaled us for 40 minutes with screams and crying from the back seat. It wasn't pleasant. I didn't like it.
My ex-brother-in-law, who is studying medicine, suggested that this really isn't a good idea. He suggested I drink hot liquids instead. It was the end of June. Sigh.
Chased by a Scary-Looking Rottweiler
My friend and her daughter were at the screen door of their house with their mean-looking rottweiler. My friend assures me she wouldn't hurt a fly. My husband pulled into the driveway and I opened the car door. The rottweiler rushed at me, charging through the screen door and knocking my friend over, barking and growling. I guess I was just a big target. I high-tailed it back into the car and shut the door. And I was almost in labor then. Almost.
Fighting with Your Loved Ones
Have you seen that movie, The Waitress? Well, the unfortunate woman ends up having an affair with her OB, and at a pivotal scene in the movie, has an enormous fight with her estranged husband. This puts her in labor. I have read that this type of unpleasantry and intense stress can cause labor, but I don't recommend it for you.
By the way, I didn't like the Waitress movie. What's wrong with people these days? Doesn't anyone have any principles? That OB was a scumbag. Just because he was cute didn't excuse him. Oops, there goes my soap box.
OK, this sounds really weird, but RYE bread just may be the answer to your past-due miseries. Go to the health food store and buy a tasty loaf of Jewish rye bread, or if you are REALLY ambitious, you could make your own. You can make a tuna sandwich, or a Ruben, or just eat it plain. Rye bread has the ability to induce labor. For that reason, it is truly a miracle food.
My husband swears that the rye bread is what put me into labor with my first child. He loves to tell everyone we know that it was two slices of Rye bread that I ate the night before I went into labor.
The labor-causing effects of Rye bread may have something to do with Ergot. This is a fungus that grows on grains of rye. An alkaloid in the fungus can actually begin strong contractions. When allowed to develop, the Ergot can cause a disease called Saint Anthony's Fire, which among other things, can cause gangrene and the loss of your feet and hands. But this is only if you eat large quantities of spoiled Rye bread, which was the staple diet of peasants during the middle ages. So don't worry too much about that.
Other Labor-Inducing Foods
My friend says her midwife told her to eat a large plate of spaghetti noodles to help induce labor. I"m not sure what magical properties are in a plate of spaghetti noodles, but hey, she thinks it worked for her.
Other foods I've heard recommended include heavily-spiced foods, and raspberry herbal tea. Finally, I have heard that eggplant parmigiana is a highly effective labor inducing food. I saw several bloggers' entries that also claimed this was a good labor-inducing food.
Why can't some of the foods I REALLY like be labor inducers? How about a hot fudge sundae? Cheesecake, anyone? What about chocolate cake? Why not?
Start a Project
Have you ever noticed that when you stop dwelling on something and decide to move on with your life, that's when it happens? That's how I became pregnant with my son, and am pretty sure that's how this baby has come about. The same principle also works for labor. Do you have a room you need to clean, boxes you need to pack, a garage sale you need to organize, or even a hub you need to write? Get to work. The baby will come shortly. One of Murphy's laws will kick in and prevent you from finishing your project.
Sit Around For a Week and Listen to Your Husband Say...
Gee, why aren't you in labor yet?
It was cute the first 13 times. But now I automatically respond with, "I know, dear, but next time YOU can carry the baby and give birth." Perhaps it's just wishful thinking, but it could happen.