Kathryn Vercillo is a San Francisco-based freelance writer and blogger. She writes about relationships, health, food, and nutrition.
Natural Ways to Induce Labor
You are pregnant and you're past your due date. You don't want to have your doctor medically induce labor because you're not quite convinced that will be good for the baby. Maybe not enough time has passed since your expected delivery date for a doctor to consider inducing labor, but you're unhappy to admit that you'd kind of like to get that baby out of you. Yes, you know that's not really a motherly thing to say, but it's true. The baby has been growing inside of you for nine months now and you're ready to introduce it to the world.
So how do you convince the baby that it's time to come greet the world?
The first thing that you need to do is to relax. Babies have been being born for much longer than medical doctors have been predicting due dates. Your baby will probably emerge from your body when they are ready. That's going to be a lot sooner if you're relaxed and ready yourself instead of impatient and anxious.
Unless your doctor has given you any reason to assume otherwise, assume that your baby is healthy and fine despite being behind schedule. Meditate, indulge yourself with kindness and surround yourself with people who love you. Being relaxed and as stress-free as possible is going to make the labor happen more quickly and go more smoothly.
2. Have Sex
Once you've gotten yourself in the right, relaxed state of mind, there are a few other things that you can do to induce labor naturally. The most effective (and commonly suggested) way of doing this is by doing something that you wanted to do nine months ago but probably don't really want to do right now: have sex.
Sex helps induce labor in two ways: having sex or having an orgasm can trigger the hormone oxytocin, which helps with contractions, and semen may help to soften your cervix to prepare for delivery. Semen contains prostaglandins, which are chemicals that can help to relax tissues.
If you have a male sexual partner, gently get his semen inside of you. This is most effective if you have sex on your back (with him in the kneeling or standing position and not on your belly) and remain on your back after the sex is over. Have your partner stimulate you to orgasm to further encourage the onset of labor. Your hormones and/or your partner's have a good chance of inducing labor naturally.
Not in the mood for sex? That's okay, there are other methods of inducing labor naturally that don't require you to get naked and get hormones into you. Simple changes to your diet and very mild exercise are other methods that women commonly use to induce labor naturally.
Get off your back and walk around. Ride a stationary bike or enjoy some mild water aerobics. Don't go all out. Make sure to stay in touch with your body so that you're aware of what's going on at all times. Before, during, and after exercise, make sure that you get plenty of water.
You can encourage labor by eating some tropical fruit (such as pineapple and green papaya) which some women have reported to have the effect of inducing labor naturally. Other foods to try are black licorice, red raspberry leaf tea, evening primrose oil, and certain spices like capsaicin, piperine, oregano, basil, or garlic.
Ingredients like castor oil have also been used, with caution.
5. Stimulate Your Nipples
Nipple stimulation releases oxytocin, the hormone that causes the uterus to contract. Oftentimes you can jumpstart your contractions by stimulating your nipples.
Read More From Wehavekids
Sex, food, rest, and eating right: They're the basic components of a healthy life and they're the factors most likely to convince your baby that life is something they want to get out and enjoy. Follow the links below for additional information about these tips as well as for additional tips on inducing labor naturally. And, of course, make sure that you've spoken with your doctor about any attempts that you're planning to make to induce labor on your own.
For more information, read 40 Natural Ways to Induce Labor.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
jacinta on April 04, 2015:
am 35wks 5days not so in a hurry to induce labour, but will start taking raspberry leaf tea to strenghten and tone my uterus abd pelvic flour. for a better contraction wen labour start.
Shanii on March 24, 2015:
Am 28 weeks and 4 days and I wish I have a premature healthy baby.. I want my baby out..,
Gotogirl on December 20, 2012:
I'm due on 23rd n 4cm would love to hurry up n have him.....so ima eat chilly
momom on November 12, 2012:
i have bounced on the ball ,caster oil,walkin, and worse yelling at her
charisa on July 20, 2012:
i'm 37w and 5days 4cm dilated and 80% soft i have been so active, walking around, jumping up and down, eating pineapple, going to try the rasberry tea i am sore and can barely move and i have a 3 yr old, i am ready to have this baby!
minah on April 26, 2012:
I am 38 weeks pregnant and is 2n a half centers what can I do
elaina on April 21, 2012:
I'm 35 weeks pregnant &* have been having the worst back pains in my life, I talked to my doctor &* she wants to do a c-section at 39 weeks I'm a little afraid but I guess its better then this pain
Shay'Jaidensmommy on April 15, 2012:
I'm 38weeks n 4days I am so miserable, my doc said he wont let me go past 40weeks, I've been 1 1/2cm n 30% effaced for over 3 weeks my baby weighed 6lbs 2weeks ago my due date is April 27 if this Lil boy don't come out he is gonna b 9lbs n I'm all belly n baby, walking isn't working, sex isn't working, spicy food isn't I JUS WANT HI
baby brooke on April 01, 2012:
im 16 and have no male other in my life so sex is out of the question anything to help get my daughter out is highly appreciated so more ideas please!!!!!!!!
Eaga on March 24, 2012:
Currently 38 wks & jus sobyired ready for my son to come
brit on March 19, 2012:
I drank castro oil and a couple hours later i was in early labor but they wont keep me at the hospital unless i was dilated to 4 so the sent me home with a sleeping pill and pain pill it stopped my contractions im really mad i want tbis baby out i guess i try other things!
court on November 26, 2011:
I'm 17 and 34 + 2days prego, I have stared rasberry leaf tea I'm very very feed up I'm the size of a house:zz and have pelvic imperampathyim very sore and find it hard 2 walk at 32 weeks my little girl was 4p 110z I hope with some of these methods I won't go over my due date:(
linda on October 16, 2011:
Evening primrose capsules and a prenatal massage did it for my last pregnancy I'm hoping it will work for this one as well.
Sab on October 12, 2011:
I get a contraction every couple of hours. I'm only a day over due but it don't feel like I'm in labour. I was thinking of trying Castol oil. All the contractions are short and inconsistent. I don't want to be pragnant for another 3 -4 days this is going very slowly
Amanda on October 09, 2011:
I'm due in 4 days and I'm so ready. Me and my sister in law went on an HR and a half walk tried a Acupressure and MT husband and I are making as much love as possible in hopes of labor to start! I've had mild cramps probably just more braxton Hicks though cause nothing has been regular : /
tara on September 16, 2011:
ive tried sex didn't work,trampaline didnt work,went for a long bath and a long walk didnt work,had a sweep yesterday im 6 days overdue,just want this baby out please help?
Wanda on August 02, 2011:
I'm 38weeks I've tried castor oil and walking I just tried the whole sex thing"giggle" and started contracting wish me luck cause the castor oil was two days ago and notta I took maybe a tsp maybe it wasn't enough but hey I stuggled to keep it down lol
ggenda from USA on April 03, 2011:
Very helpful! Walking was what jump started my first labor. I had been having contractions that were 6-8 min apart for a day and a half. :( We were at our wit's end, so my husband took me for a long, vigorous walk. After 2 hours, we were driving to the hospital with contractions that were every 2-3 minutes! Shortly after, I was holding my daughter. :)
milenaamr on September 17, 2010:
Thanks for the article it is very nice and informative. I was lucky my baby come on time, even a week earlier. I had to use a pain relief but I do remember the last few weeks were the most difficult and I feel for the moms that have to put up with a little stubborn babies.
Thompson Girl on September 17, 2010:
I have tried sex for almost a week straight, my husband is welling and ready but I can tell he is getting tired hahaha, so sex dont work all the time, at least not for me.
Louise on August 03, 2010:
I am 39 weeks pregnant with my first baby and i am getting fed up now, i would like this baby to come out as soon as possible as much as they will be ready when they want to be..ive tried mainly everything but nothing, anyone else got any more ideas?
jayvian's_mommy from Georgia on November 14, 2009:
I am very tired of being pregnant also! I have tried everything except for tropical fruits, black or blue cohosh, and raspberry leaf tea! The baby will come on its on! Im 38 wks and 1 and a half cm dilated! I cant wait for this 2 be over im due on thanksgiving day!
blonde kandi on November 04, 2009:
try sex!!! it can naturally help start contractions and possibly break your water. most doctors, if you ask, will suggest to have sex! mine did!!
Rachel on August 04, 2009:
I agree at some point the baby is coming out but gosh darn it i wish it was now.. I'm over due by 2 days and was ready 1mo. ago. this is one big baby and I'm tired of carrying the weight around. I've gone from 135 up to 175. with no weight anywhere but my belly. I'm just plain tired of this weight and my daughter running around the house. (6yrs old) thanks for the suggestions.
RainbowRecognizer from Midwest on February 26, 2008:
Nice - thankfully I know of no woman who didn't have her baby eventually! ;o)
sunstreeks from Western Washington on December 30, 2007:
I think the tropical fruit was one of the only few things I didn't try. My daughter was 10 days later anyways and nothing I did gave her the hint her lease was up. Even with induction at the hospital last 14 hours she ended having to come out by c-section. :)
MrMarmalade from Sydney on December 07, 2007:
My sister -in- law took Val foe long walk and fed her some Castor oil, it worked very well. She was two weeks overdue.