Your due date has come and gone, and you’re beginning to wonder “will I be pregnant forever?! Well, we’re here to give you our personal advice on how to induce labor naturally. You’ll get to read about 10 different tricks women have used to jumpstart their laboring process.
After nine long months, you have finally made it to the last lap. The nausea of the first trimester has passed, and so has that “I’m actually feeling kind of good” feeling that the second trimester brings. Now, you are all but over the pregnancy business. It was fun while it lasted, and the time has come for sweet cuddles with your long-awaited little cherub.
This last month is a mixing pot of emotions. The upcoming birth is exciting, and at the same time, terrifying! You’ve done all you can to prepare – gone to classes, spoke to every mother interested(aka everyone you know, moms love telling their stories) and rearranged the hospital bag ten times already.
Still, you are nervous everything will not go as planned… that is totally normal.
*FYI birth has a mind of its own, and you should always be prepared to go with the flow because there will most likely be some unexpected surprises!
So, after undergoing many changes in your body, not being able to sleep one night through, and peeing 40 times a day, you are, to say the least, quite relieved to be at the end. But it’s not the end. Although we know that a “due date” is really just an estimation, it is still unspeakably hard to pass that day and hear crickets. Some advice? Start preparing your body for labor BEFORE you pass your due date. BUT, don’t forget that it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor before trying to kickstart labor, and get the okay to try these different methods!
Read on for the best tips on getting your body prepared for having your baby, and our tricks on how to induce labor safely and naturally.
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10 Tricks From Overdue Women On How to Kickstart Labor
1. Raspberry Leaf Extract – Raspberry leaf is known to help tone your uterine muscles so they can be more efficient during labor. Dry raspberry leaf can be made into a tea or taken in tablet form. Starting from 34 weeks, drink one cup of tea, and increase the amount slowly to three cups daily.
“It is good to continue after birth, as the raspberry leaf helps the uterus contract back to its normal size,” says Naomi Dror, Practitioner of Chinese Medicine, and specialist on fertility, pregnancy, and birth. Repeat- body back to normal, thank you!
2. Sex – Lovemaking has probably been far from your mind these last few weeks- and rightfully so. There is much to prep for the new family addition, and you are also probably scared you’re going to squash your husband with the oversized watermelon that is your tummy.
But hear this – sex can trigger the release of oxytocin, a hormone that brings on contractions. So before you push babe away in favor of your pregnancy pillow, spend a little time together. Try a steam bath (instructions listed below) to get you aroused and in the mood, and let baby off your mind for the time being. You will find it a pleasant distraction to not think about something birth-related for a while. Tell your partner that tonight it’s all about you.
Having an orgasm can stimulate your uterus into action. Well, not all about you. Sperm contains prostaglandins, which can help dilate the cervix and jump-start contractions, so be sure to return the favor! Start with our next trick…
3. Nipple Stimulation – Nipple stimulation releases oxytocin, a hormone that helps the uterus contract before, during, and after birth. Pitocin – the drug used by doctors to medically induce labor, is in fact a synthetic form of oxytocin! So tell your partner not to be alarmed if he gets some milk, Begin with a positive form of nipple stimulation, it just might get your labor on its way!
4. Acupuncture – Many women swear by this method of kick-starting labor. Don’t be afraid of the needles – they are very very skinny, and the feeling they bring on when inserted is quite relaxing. It’s almost like getting a massage, and it’s wonderful to lay down, relax, and be pampered at this late stage of pregnancy. Acupuncture targets certain points on the body that will bring on contractions and prepare your body for labor.
Don’t be surprised if contractions start right away, or your waters break within a couple of days!
5. Acupressure – Acupressure targets specific points that run along your body that, when pressed, relieve you of pain. Derived from acupuncture, acupressure uses fingers instead of needles. It feels kind of like a vigorous massage and can be, I might
admit, a little uncomfortable.
TIP #1: Specific acupressure points are known to be extremely effective in reducing the pain of contractions while in labor. The easiest one to have your birthing partner try is called “Large Intestine 4 Point.” It is located on the back of your hand on the valley between your thumb and pointer finger. Have your partner press there for as long as the contraction lasts.
TIP #2: There are a few different acupressure points that are most popular for inducing labor. Don’t be a smarty and try to remember all of them, instead, print out sheets with a picture of the point and organize them in a binder with plastic sleeves. This way, whether it is your birthing partner, your mom, or your friend at your side, all the pictures and info will be readily available. Switch up the pressure on each point, and you’ll see which ones feel better for you.
6. Walking – Take the Stairs! Thanks to gravity, the simple act of walking (not so simple when you’re carrying that full-term baby) can help push the baby down into the birthing canal. While you walk, the rhythmic pressure of baby’s head on your cervix can release oxytocin, and bring on labor. If you live in an apartment, try taking the stairs (we might as well work off some of the eating-for-two-weight while we’re at it.) If you live in the country, take a stroll outside and get some fresh air.
*Don’t forget to check out our favorite postpartum healing and weight loss program!
7. Relax – Maybe you’re feeling drained and exercise is just making it worse. What you need is to sit or lie down and relax. Stress can actually cause labor to halt (or not start at all) and your body is less likely to begin the birthing process when you are wound up.
8. Release Your Fears – One of the reasons labor may not have begun or has failed to progress, is because of fear. When your body is afraid, it shuts down and goes into survival mode. It won’t begin to push your baby out if it thinks you are in danger.
Fear is an extremely common emotion before and during labor, especially as you are nearing or past your due date. You need to relax and release those fears so your body feels safe and ready to begin the process.
Remember- labor is completely natural and our bodies were created for this purpose. During the labor process you will go through different body changes, and while it will be unfamiliar, try to relax and let your body do its job. By meditating and using prompts to guide you, you can work in tune with your body and use each contraction to push your baby down towards the birth canal and get the most from each contraction, essentially shortening your labor.
A Tip For Overcoming the Fear of Childbirth: Watch the movie the Business of Being Born. ( This video is on Amazon Prime Video, if you don’t already have Prime, you can start a free 30-day trial and rent the movie!) You can also try to find the DVD online, but it’s quite hard to find and kind of pricey. Renting it on Prime is only a few dollars!
This video is especially great if you’re wanting to have a natural birth (and you’re totally terrified of the pain). This movie gave me the motivation to decide that I will most definitely be having my next baby naturally.
It’s very informational and will help you to overcome your fear of giving birth.
9. Visualize – Visualizing can help you get in tune with your body and send it gentle signals that you are ready to birth your baby. Being in tune with your body and recognizing what it needs, especially during birth, will make the whole experience much faster, and help you feel in control.
Try lying on your side with a pillow propped between your knees for support. Turn on gentle relaxing music, without words, and close your eyes. Take a couple of deep breaths and relax all the muscles in your face. Let your shoulders release their tension, and gently snuggle into a perfectly comfortable position. While you breathe, imagine the breath snaking down your body until it reaches your uterus and your nestled baby. Remember that you are nourishing your baby! Let your breathing slow to a rhythmic pattern.
Now visualize your baby gently moving down the birth canal into position. Imagine your uterine muscles relaxing and gently pushing him down and out of the birth canal. Imagine your cervix as a rose gently opening its petals and letting your baby out.
10. Vaginal Steam Bath Vaginal steam baths can be used starting from 37 weeks and on. The heat from the steam relaxes the pelvic floor muscles, increases blood flow, and provides oxygen to the whole vaginal area. Expect your vaginal tissues to be toned, nourished, and cleansed after a steam bath. Steaming also helps promote healing after childbirth and can treat hemorrhoids. You can collect herbs yourself, or buy them fresh or dried.
It’s also been said that steam baths can be good to continue after childbirth, so getting these different herbs doesn’t have to be a one-time use, and you can feel better about not wasting money on them. You should always check with your doctor to get the okay to perform a steam bath, whether you’re pregnant or not!
WHAT HERBS TO USE:
Mugwort– eases cramps and helps with infertility (which we obviously aren’t having problems with here, but good to know). It also stimulates hormone production to help maintain uterine health.
Wormwood– helps regulate female hormones- I’m sure we all could use that!
Basil– helps bring on menstruation
Rosemary– stimulates menstruation and speeds up wound healing (great for after birth!)
Calendula- quickens the healing of vaginal scars and hemorrhoids
Marigold– aids in the healing of scarred tissues
Lavender– calms the mind and body and relaxes the nervous system
Rose petals– a relaxing and uplifting herb
Boil your selected herbs with water and pour into a shallow bowl or pot. Make sure the water isn’t too hot and the steam is at a comfortable temperature. Squat over the bowl and position your vagina over the rising steam. The steam will moisten your cervix and the heat will get your blood flowing and hydrate the vaginal area. A steam treatment is also known to create arousal in some women and is said to get their sexual energies going. And as we said before, sex is great for kickstarting labor.
We hope this article has given you some ideas on how to start labor at home. And we hope that your sweet baby arrives soon!
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