How to induce labor at home

Our experts weigh in on natural ways to induce labor and reveal which home remedies really work when it comes to speeding things up.

You patiently await your due date, eyeing it on your calendar and instructing loved ones to prepare for it days in advance. But when the date comes and goes with nary a contraction, you might be tempted to take matters into your own hands and research how to induce labor yourself.

“I see a lot of people who are tired of being pregnant, want it to be over and ask, ‘What else can I do?’ ” says Jonathan Schaffir, M.D., an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus.

  • RELATED:Signs of Approaching Labor: How to Tell Your Baby is Coming Soon

According to a study by Dr. Schaffir and his colleagues, more than half of pregnant people turn to non-pharmacological approaches to hasten labor as they approach or go past their due dates, but fewer than half tell their doctors or midwives what they’re up to. That’s troubling, doctors and midwives say, because although some folk methods may work, some come with unintended consequences.

Critical fetal development continues to take place even in the final weeks of gestation. So despite the nagging backaches, sleepless nights, and countless bathroom trips, moms-to-be are advised to wait until after 39 weeks pregnant before considering any induction methods (including pharmacological) unless an induction is medically indicated.

Even then, you should know the pros and cons of each method and discuss them with your healthcare provider. Here’s a look at the natural ways to induce labor at home.

Nipple Stimulation to Induce Labor

Prolonged breast stimulation prompts the pituitary gland to release contraction-inducing oxytocin, the same powerful hormone that initiates your milk let-down response and can lead to severe cramps when a newborn suckles. Its synthetic form, Pitocin, is the most common drug used to induce labor, and studies indicate that stimulating it naturally can be effective as well. A Cochrane Database review that included 719 women at 37 weeks pregnant or beyond found that nearly 40 percent of those who stimulated their nipples for one to three hours daily had their babies within three days, while only 6 percent of the control group gave birth.

But aside from the impracticalities (who has time to do this for hours on end?), this method comes with serious risks: “We know it works,” says Suzy Myers, C.P.M., a certified professional midwife and chairwoman of the department of midwifery at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington. “But you have to be very careful that you are not overstimulating the uterus and making the contractions too strong or too close together. You also have to make sure the baby is tolerating it well by having your health care provider monitor his or her heartbeat.”

  • RELATED:Stages of Labor: What to Expect When You Give Birth

Sex to Induce Labor

Although research results are mixed, anecdotes abound about late babies making an entrance soon after a love-making session. Semen contains cervix-softening fats called prostaglandins (also used in medical induction) and a woman’s orgasm can lead to strong uterine contractions.

One study of 200 healthy women found that those who had sex after 36 weeks pregnant were significantly less likely to go past their due date or require labor induction. But another study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found no difference between sexually active and abstinent moms when it came to length of gestation. “If a woman has a low risk for premature labor and no placenta previa, it won’t hurt to try,” says Dr. Schaffir.

  • RELATED: The Best Sex Positions for Pregnant Women

Castor Oil and Spicy Food

Midwives have long recommended inducing labor naturally by drinking castor oil (2 ounces in a glass of orange juice or mixed with ice cream). The idea is that castor oil can stimulate the smooth muscle of the bowels, promote the release of prostaglandin, and nudge the nearby uterus into action.

Research results are varied, but two recent trials showed that full-term pregnant people who were given castor oil were more likely to go into labor within 24 hours. But the side effects—including nausea, explosive diarrhea, and dehydration— can be grueling, Myers says.

A safer bet for those past 39 weeks? Load up on spicy food, which could have similar results without the nasty side effects (but be prepared for heartburn and puffy ankles, because spicy food taxes your digestive system).

  • RELATED:8 Ways to Manage Labor Pain

Herbs and Acupuncture

Midwives most commonly suggest evening primrose oil and blue cohosh as natural ways to induce labor. Though each herb has a plausible mechanism for working, they also come with potential downsides.

Evening primrose oil, which is prescribed in capsule form to be taken three times a day or rubbed directly on the cervix, is believed to help soften the cervix and ready it for labor. However, the few published studies that have looked at its effectiveness failed to find that its use caused labor to begin any earlier. But one study suggests it may actually prolong the active phase of labor and boost the incidence of certain labor complications (such as arrested descent of the fetus in the birth canal).

Both blue (Caulophyllum) and black cohosh (Cimicifuga) have been used to treat menstrual ailments for centuries. However, some studies have suggested that blue cohosh can have some dangerous side effects in pregnancy, so it should be avoided.

Meanwhile, raspberry tea is often recommended in the weeks before a due date to tone the uterus but hasn’t proved to have any effect on labor. And numerous studies have suggested that using acupuncture to induce labor naturally is promising, but other studies link it to prolonged pregnancy.

  • RELATED:What Does Labor Feel Like?

Exercise and Patience

Forty-three percent of the respondents in Dr. Schaffir’s study said they exercised more in the final days of pregnancy in hopes of bringing on labor. But although good for you, exercise hasn’t proved to speed labor, Dr. Schaffir says.

His best advice to past-due women longing for that first contraction? Skip the home remedies to induce labor, eat right, rest, and enjoy those last few days of pregnancy as much as possible. “The safest and healthiest labor is one that starts spontaneously,” Dr. Schaffir says.

How to Induce Labor at Home

Your due date is an educated guess for when your baby might make its arrival.

While many women deliver perfectly healthy babies 2 weeks before or after this presumed due date, it’s recommended that women wait until at least 39 weeks for delivery.

It’s best to let mother nature decide when your baby comes.

In a 2011 study , 201 women who had recently delivered babies were surveyed about inducing labor at home. Of these women, 50 percent had tried a natural method of getting labor started.

If you’re 40 weeks in, here are eight natural ways to get things moving along.

Most of these methods are anecdotal and don’t have solid evidence that they work, so you should always talk to your healthcare provider before attempting any of these methods.

Your midwife or doctor may not be able to confirm that they work, but they can let you know if it’s safe to try with your pregnancy.

Exercise can be anything that gets the heart rate up, such as a long walk. Even if this method doesn’t work, it’s a great way to relieve stress and keep your body strong for the task ahead.

Theoretically, there are multiple reasons why having sex could induce labor.

For example, sexual activity, especially having an orgasm, can release oxytocin, which may help jumpstart uterine contractions.

Also, for pregnant people who have sex with men, there are prostaglandin hormones in semen that might help ripen the cervix.

Having sex is safe during the final weeks of pregnancy, but you shouldn’t have sex after your water has broken. Doing so can increase your risk for infection.

Stimulating your nipples can cause your uterus to contract and may bring about labor.

Nipple stimulations stimulate oxytocin production. Oxytocin is the hormone that causes the uterus to contract and the breast to eject milk.

In fact, if you choose to breastfeed your baby right after delivery, this same stimulation is what will help your uterus shrink back to its original size.

You or your partner may manually stimulate your nipples, or you can try using a breast pump.

Solid research shows that breast stimulation can be an effective way to:

  • induce and augment labor
  • avoid a medical induction
  • reduce rates of postpartum hemorrhage

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years. The exact way that acupuncture works is unclear.

In Chinese Medicine, it’s believed that it balances the chi or vital energy within the body. It might also stimulate changes in hormones or in the nervous system.

Acupuncture should be administered only by a licensed acupuncturist.

In a 2013 randomized trial in Denmark, more than 400 women were given acupuncture, membrane stripping, or both procedures before labor.

Study results showed that acupuncture didn’t decrease the need for induction, but sweeping membranes did.

According to research , the main benefit of acupuncture is increased cervical ripening.

Some practitioners believe that acupressure can help start labor. Prior to applying acupressure to yourself, make sure you get proper instruction from a trained acupressure professional.

If acupressure doesn’t get your labor going, it can still be an excellent way to alleviate pain and discomfort during labor.

Drinking a little bit, like only 1–2 ounces (29.57–59.14 mL) of castor oil stimulates prostaglandin release, which can help ripen the cervix and get labor started.

It’s recommended that this be done under the supervision of a midwife or doctor. People should be careful not to drink too much.

Some research shows that eating dates in the final weeks of pregnancy

  • increases cervical ripening and cervical dilation at the start of labor
  • decreases the need for Pitocin use during labor

Midwives often recommend drinking red raspberry leaf tea as your due date nears. Tea may tone and strengthen the uterus in preparation for labor. Even if it doesn’t work, you’ll stay hydrated.

Most pregnant people at 40 weeks are likely ready to have their babies out of their bellies as soon as possible and in their arms.

However, there are plenty of perks to waiting until your body naturally decides to go into labor — including recovery.

Women who weren’t induced typically recover more quickly than those who were. More time in the womb can mean both you and your new baby get to go home from the hospital sooner.

Infants who are born after a full-term pregnancy also experience other benefits. More time in the womb typically means:

  • more time to build muscle and strength
  • reduced risk of low blood sugar, infection, and jaundice
  • improved breathing as infants born even as little as two weeks early can experience twice the number of complications
  • better feeding once born
  • increased brain development, with the brain growing a third of its size between weeks 35 and 40

Let your body do the work for a few more days and take the time to get as much rest as you possibly can.

We know, that’s easier said than done when you’re 9 months pregnant. You and your baby will need all your energy soon enough!

Before trying anything that might induce labor, speak with your healthcare provider to go over any risks or possible complications.

Though some of these methods are popular folklore among pregnant women, little scientific evidence supports their efficacy.

In most cases, it’s best to let baby set their own birth date, even if it means waiting another week or two.

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Labor Naturally: Ways to Induce Labor at Home

It is absolutely normal to get anxious about having your baby sooner or get tired of waiting on your due date.

You’re excited, nervous, and probably uncomfortable. You’d rather meet your baby than waddle around the house with a backache and sore hips. It’s understandable.

Besides, if you’re reading this, you are probably hoping to avoid artificial oxytocin for labor induction. Perhaps you just want to beat that due date or induction date to avoid interventions and unnecessary complications.

That’s why we decided it’s time to shed light on what can actually help induce labor – naturally.

The following are natural ways to encourage labor.

How to Induce Labor at Home

Labor Naturally: Ways to Induce Labor at Home

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Exercise helps with almost everything in life. Push your baby through by using exercise to your own advantage. Cardio exercise helps move your baby into the laboring position.

I can personally vouch for exercise as a healthy and natural (and effective!) way to induce labor. I took just two 1-hour long walks for two days before my induction date) and I went into labor naturally shortly after I got admitted to the hospital.

Exercise can also open up your pelvic floor and prepare your body for faster (complication-free) labor and delivery.

Squats are great for helping to move the baby’s head into the right position for delivery. Routine squatting will push the baby’s head down into the pelvis which will generate pressure on the cervix and create dilation.

Taking yoga classes can also be of great help, promoting flexibility and correct positioning of your baby. Yoga is a great way to ensure you heal faster postpartum too.

Have sex

Don’t be surprised. Sex can actually induce labor and a lot of women have been lucky with it.

Semen contains prostaglandin which is the same as the compounds used in the hospital to induce labor. Having sex softens the cervix, preparing it for labor.

Also, during sexual intercourse, oxytocin (the love hormone) is produced. Oxytocin facilitates cervical contraction which improves dilation.

Eat spicy food

How much spice can your little one take inside there? There is a theory of the efficacy of spicy foods on labor induction. Spicy foods are known to cause bowel contraction. This contraction can spread to the uterus and trigger labor.

It’s the same reason castor oil has been used to induce labor by many. However, we think a nice spicy meal is a much more enjoyable way to encourage your body into labor.

Nipple stimulation

Nipple stimulation can stimulate oxytocin production and can easily be done at home. Through nipple stimulation, oxytocin will induce uterine contraction.

The theory of nipple stimulation is the imitation of breastfeeding which sends signals to the hypothalamus in the brain via stretch receptors on the nipples leading to the release of oxytocin into the bloodstream.

You can either do it on your own, get your partner to help or make use of a breast pump.

Acupuncture & acupressure

Acupuncture involves the stimulation of specific anatomical points by inserting needles through the skin to balance energy flow.

Studies have shown that women who received acupuncture fell into labor without medical assistance. Acupuncture has been shown to help in inducing labor.

The concept of acupressure involves using the fingers to apply pressure on certain pressure points on the body. There are points on the body that have been shown to induce contraction. An example is a point just above the ankle, another point is the webbing between the thumb and forefinger.

Eat pineapple and bananas

Bananas contain a large amount of potassium. One common benefit of potassium is muscle contraction. Eating bananas can stimulate the muscles of the uterus to contract.

Pineapple contains a proteolytic enzyme, bromelain. This enzyme helps in softening the cervix and induce labor when pineapple is consumed in a considerably large amount.

Natural agents

These are natural ingredients that can make you go into labor quickly.

  • Red raspberry leaf can help with uterine contraction and can tone and strengthen the uterus making it contract freely. The raspberry leaf can be enjoyed as a cold or hot tea.
  • Evening primrose oil and castor oil – these oils can be taken orally to induce labor, they are often used by midwives.
  • Basil – this herb stimulates blood flow to the uterus, which can help in achieving a contraction.

It is quite important to talk to your doctor about which method or methods you should use after discussing your medical history and current health condition. This will ensure you are doing everything in the safest way possible for both yourself and baby.

Many women see their due date come and go without any sign that they will be holding their little bundle of joy anytime soon.

As the final weeks of your pregnancy are putting a strain on your body and you’re growing more impatient, there are ways to induce labor in the comfort of your own home.

Some of these natural remedies are backed by research into the efficiency of certain foods, ethereal oils, and even sex to induce labor. But before you try any of these at home, be sure to check with your midwife or general practitioner to see if it’s OK.

Sometimes, certain preexisting conditions may require extra care.

You should also consider taking things slowly rather than simply going ahead and inducing labor. However, it is important to separate the facts of how to induce labor naturally from the myths that are being recommended online.

Is it even possible to induce labor naturally? Luckily, the answer to this question is “Yes.” There are many safe and proven home remedies to induce labor. After consulting your doctor, you may be able to try any of them at home and see if they speed up delivery.

1. Walking And Exercise

How to Induce Labor at Home

If like many future moms, you find yourself wondering “Does walking induce labor?” you will be happy to learn that there is a great deal of truth in the belief that walking can be used as part of a string of exercises to induce labor.

During walks, the pull of gravity on the baby works in combination with its own weight to put pressure on your cervix. The rocking motion of walking helps position the baby head-first, encouraging your cervix to start dilating. Having said that, walking will only work in inducing labor if you’ve carried the baby to term and the body is ready for his or her birth. If you’re having irregular contractions, walking can stabilize them and guide you into the second stage of the birthing process.

2. Acupressure And Acupuncture

How to Induce Labor at Home

The ancient Asian practices of acupuncture and acupressure to induce labor have been around for centuries. They are relaxing and wonderful natural ways to induce labor as there are no invasive procedures involved.

Acupuncture stimulates the release of oxytocin in the body, which produces the same results as membrane stripping, but without the need for medical induction. Acupressure, on the other hand, if done regularly from 37 weeks onward, can not only speed up delivery of your baby, but also alleviate pain and discomfort during delivery. The reason this practice is so effective is because it relies on pressure points to induce labor, just as when you use massage to induce labor. These are all wonderful ways to try speeding up delivery, as they are enjoyable and relaxing for the mother.

3. Castor And Evening Primrose Oil

How to Induce Labor at Home

There are several ways to use essential oils to induce labor, the best being castor and evening primrose oil (EPO). The latter doesn’t necessarily speed up delivery, but it can prime and soften the cervix. It can be taken orally or vaginally to ease birth.

Castor oil is a bit difficult to stomach given its strong and specific taste, but it can be used as a very powerful laxative. The oil works by stimulating the bowels through spasms in the intestine. This in turn irritates the uterus, causing it to start contracting. However, when you use castor oil to induce labor, you need to be aware of the possible downsides it may have on your bowel movements during birth.

4. Foods That Induce Labor

How to Induce Labor at Home

There is a tastier way of inducing labor, and it includes indulging in certain types of foods that are believed to have the quality of contracting the uterus. Spicy foods, pineapple, red raspberry leaf tea, garlic, and even licorice are all used by expectant mothers to stimulate cramps in the bowel. As a result, irritating the intestines can cause the uterus to contract and speed up delivery. However, be prepared to experience strong heartburn, which is already an unpleasant side effect in the third trimester.

5. Sex

How to Induce Labor at Home

Apart from being a wonderful and intimate experience that brings you closer to your partner, you can use sex to induce labor. It’s a win-win!

Making love releases prostaglandins, hormone-like substances similar to the chemicals used to induce labor medically. They are 100 percent natural, and of course, the process of attaining them feels amazing. If you want to increase the effect, you can try it alongside nipple stimulation to induce labor, as it causes your body to release the hormone oxytocin, which brings on contractions. However, don’t have sex if your water has broken, since this puts you at a risk of infection.

Myths About How To Induce Labor

Most cultures have specific folklore and traditions associated with inducing labor, but you should know when something doesn’t make sense from a medical (or even health) standpoint. Avoiding cutting your hair in the last trimester or standing against a pole are quirky bits of folk wisdom, but there is no validity to any of these claims. Others, such as assertions that taking warm baths and simply relaxing can speed up delivery, also don’t have sufficient scientific data to back them up.

How Doctors Induce Labor

It’s important to know and understand how doctors induce labor in case it needs to be done to you.

Sometimes, they can offer you stripping membranes to induce labor. This procedure needs to be done in a clinic, but doesn’t involve any medications. The doctor will insert one finger to separate the amniotic sac from the uterine wall, thus encouraging labor. This action releases prostaglandins. Following the procedure, you may experience cramps and spotting, but any heavier bleeding is reason for hospitalization.

While it is a universal truth that most expectant mothers grow a bit impatient toward the end of their pregnancies, it is important to remember that there is no reason for inducing labor unless there are concerns about your or your baby’s health. Induction can be the right choice for some women, but it comes with its risks, so the best thing you can do is wait for labor to start and progress naturally.

If you’ve found this advice on how to induce labor useful, please SHARE with anyone on Facebook who might also appreciate this information!

NOTE: this post was first written in 2015 when I was post due with my second daughter and desperately looking into how to induce labor naturally. Spoiler alert, she came out… eventually.

Today marks 40 weeks + 5 days pregnant.

Not cool, baby, not cool.

While I have no trust in due dates, it is still incredibly frustrating to watch yours come and go.

Needless to say, finding out how to induce labor naturally is high on my to-do list.

Below is my list of nine natural induction suggestions pulled from the magical, not always scientific, wilds of the internet. And I, of course, had to go and ruin the fun and look at the science behind them.

In no particular order…

1. Spicy food —

Everyone and their mother suggests this one to me but there does not seem to be any bit of science behind this. I still ate spicy food last night and hoped for the best. No labor but I did have some kickass heartburn.

2. Evening primrose oil —

This homeopathic falls into the category of “cervical ripening agent” because it mimics prostaglandins. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to do a very good job of it.

A study in 1999 found that oral intake of evening primrose did not hasten, or even shorten, labor.

3. Sex —

In case you find yourself wondering “Hmmm… I wonder how much prostaglandin semen contains?” Here is your answer: A lot. Some have suggested that semen has the highest prostaglandin concentration of any biologically derived source. Read: excellent cervical ripener.

In practice, well, this one lacks the right scientific experiment to prove or disprove. Probably because you’ll have a hard time finding pregnant volunteers (and even harder, their partners) to have carefully monitored sex for the sake of science.

4. Nipple stimulation —

Think baby suckling, not foreplay. This technique stimulates oxytocin, the “love hormone”, the hormone that also jolts the uterus into action.

Compared to women who did absolutely nothing, women who practiced nipple stimulation had a greater likelihood of going into labor within 72 hours. Time to bust out the breast pump or give self-expression a go!

5. Castor oil —

Midwives have been using this trick for centuries, it even shows up in papyrus scrolls from ancient Egypt. The magic relies on intestinal breakdown of the oil components to release of ricinoleic acid which then hits up those prostaglandin receptors to get the labor ball rolling.

Only problem is that the same receptors line the intestines and cause a serious laxative effect. Since diarrhea and labor do not exactly compliment each other, most health professionals advice against this method of natural induction. I would agree.

Don’t do it. Just don’t.

6. Acupuncture —

Ancient Egyptians drank castor oil, ancient Chinese employed tiny needles. Although this technique remains widely popular even in Western culture, the exact mechanism for how it may work remains murky at best.

Some thinking points to stimulation of the nervous system for a natural release of oxytocin. While that sounds promising, a review of studies investigating the link between acupuncture and labor induction found some evidence that it may improve cervical readiness but also evidence that it may extend time in labor.

Hoping for the cervical readiness, I have a few acupuncture appointments all set up.

7. Black/Blue cohosh

Homeopathics sound so much nicer than getting a pitocin drip while stuck in a hospital bed. Unfortunately, the exact nature of mixing these herbal induction concoctions may dull the effectiveness of a dose and render the usefulness of their consumption for labor rather impossible to study.

Collection of any and all research evidence shows a high likelihood of limited effectiveness.

8. Membrane sweeping —

This doctor-conducted mechanical maneuvering separates the membrane from the bottom section of the uterus and works by stimulating local production of prostaglandins. It requires that a finger (your doctor’s!) makes its way through your cervix to the other side so it’s no shocker that most women report discomfort.

Temporary discomfort, however, may totally pay off, as research suggests that membrane sweeping/stripping reduces your chances of pregnancy extending into 41 or 42 weeks.

9. Dates?

Yeah, this one seemed weird to me too. From an oddly specific study, women who ate 6 dates per day for the 4 weeks leading up to their due dates were less likely to require medical induction.

Since I am WAY past the mark of required date consumption, I guess I’m out of luck with this technique.

Certain movements can improve a pregnant person’s alignment and properly position the baby for delivery. Experts share how to do them safely and effectively.

By the end of the third trimester, most parents-to-be are pretty anxious to get the show on the road. “Women feel uncomfortable being pregnant and want to be un-pregnant,” explains Joyce Gottesfeld, M.D., OB-GYN for Kaiser Permanente in Denver. If their due dates passes without any hint of contractions, some people consider taking things into their own hands by inducing labor themselves.

  • RELATED:How to Induce Labor at Home

But is it safe? “It’s important for every pregnant woman to discuss labor induction and plans to attempt it at home with her physician,” says Ilana Ressler, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist with RMA of Connecticut. She explains that women who have increased pregnancy or medical risks should avoid it altogether.

That said, she acknowledges that women might seek to “put favorable circumstances in place” to encourage labor to happen naturally, which might involve positioning the baby properly and improving the alignment of the mother’s body through exercise. The good news: You can safely do this through intentional and low-impact movements.

  • RELATED:Signs of Approaching Labor: How to Tell Your Baby is Coming Soon

“For a low-risk person, exercise (or movement in general) and paying attention to your posture and alignment is one of the most important things you can do,” explains Ashley Brichter, founder and CEO of Birth Smarter, which offers in-person and virtual childbirth classes for expectant parents.

She adds that, in order for labor to start off well and progress, the baby must be in an optimal position (head down, facing your back with their chin tucked). Women should also encourage proper body alignment to achieve more space in their lower back, which allows the baby to rotate and descend. “What I would look for is just postural work, and trying to bring some balance into the body and pelvis,” says Brichter. The following movements might be able to help.

  • RELATED:Is It Safe to Exercise During Pregnancy?

The Best Exercises to Induce Labor at Home

1. Parallel Your Feet

“A lot of pregnant women splay their feet wide, but bringing their toes parallel can help separate the sitz bones,” says Brichter. This finds more space in their lower back, which makes labor and delivery easier.

2. Maintain Alignment

Instead of pushing your belly forward when standing, stay aligned with your hips over your ankles. This stance—which is easy to take while doing dishes, standing in the line at the grocery store, etc.—encourages the baby to move into the proper position. Similarly, try not to slouch when you’re sitting down, says Brichter.

3. Sit on a Birthing Ball

According to Brichter, sitting on a birthing ball in neutral wide-legged positions prepares the body for labor by increasing blood flow, opening the pelvis, and encouraging cervical dilation. You can also try these birthing ball exercises to induce labor: circular hip rotations, rocking, and gentle bouncing.

  • RELATED:The Best Positions for Labor

4. Do Pelvic Tilts

During delivery, your pelvic bones pull away and separate to accommodate your baby’s head. Keep the joints loose by completing pelvic tilt exercises. Here’s one way to do them: Lying on your back, place your feet flat against the floor and bend your knees. Slowly lift the pelvis until it becomes parallel with your torso. Hold for 10 seconds, return to your starting position, and repeat several times.

5. Assume the Butterfly Pose

You might recognize the butterfly pose from dance or yoga class—but did you know it can increase flexibility in your pelvic joints, improve blood flow, and make childbirth easier? To get into the pose, sit upright on the floor, and bring the sole of feet together while bending the knees. Pull your feet toward your body to feel a stretch in your hips and inner thighs, and don’t forget to breathe into it.

6. Go on Walk

Maintaining a regular exercise routine, including low-impact cardio like walking, has many benefits throughout pregnancy. But walking can also be used as an exercise to induce labor, since it helps with cervical dilation and allows the baby to drop in the pelvis. Walking might also ease some of your anxiety surrounding labor and delivery.

  • RELATED:The Best Exercises to Prepare for Labor and Childbirth

7. Perform Lunges

Lunges stretch the hips and open the pelvis, which helps the baby move into the ideal birthing position. Here’s how to do them: Stand up straight, then take a big step forward with one leg, keeping your knee over your ankle. The other leg should drop so it’s parallel to the ground. Push back up to starting position, then repeat with the other leg.

Who Shouldn’t Use Exercise to Induce Labor?

While experts often recommend regular exercise for low-risk pregnant women, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) suggests discontinuing if you experience certain symptoms. They include vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, regular painful contractions, amniotic fluid leakage, shortness of breath, dizziness, headache, chest pain, muscle weakness affecting balance, and calf pain or swelling.

Always speak with your plans to induce labor through exercise with your healthcare practitioner, especially if you have a high-risk pregnancy. Consider discussing your plans with a physical therapist as well. “Midwives and OB-GYNS are very good at keeping pregnant women safe, but they aren’t necessarily experts at the body’s structure,” says Brichter. “Somebody thinking about using movement and exercise in labor might want to talk with a women’s physical therapist.”

  • RELATED:Stages of Labor: What to Expect When You Give Birth

The Bottom Line

“If your body is not ready for labor, don’t push it,” says Dr. Gottesfeld. And although exercise can prepare a woman’s body for delivery, it’s not a well-proven method of labor induction. “If a woman is interested in attempting labor induction, it is best to discuss this with her physician,” adds Dr. Ressler.

I sat in the Best Buy parking lot to write down my birth story. My son was four months old, but I was finally facing the memories of my traumatic birth experience.

As I was writing the first few pages, I realized I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt when thinking about my birth experience—from the caesarean delivery to the NICU stay to the chocolate pudding.

Could I have prevented all this by not researching How To Induce Labor At Home?

The guilt was undeniable as I continued through my memories of my son’s birth.

But it had also gone unseen.

I didn’t want to see it. I didn’t want to face that my attempts to induce labor from home in the last month of my pregnancy were burdensome.

How to Induce Labor at Home

Ways to Induce Labor At Home That I Tried

Pregnancy is an uncomfortable experience.

You are sacrificing your own body to grow another one. Your organs rearrange. Bones feel pressure. Your muscles ache. Among all of the other strange pregnancy symptoms (cue peeing yourself every time you move)

To further put my pregnancy into perspective: I am 5 foot 2 and had a 10 pound baby.

I was miserable and desperate to evict my beautiful blessing, so I headed to Pinterest, Google, and old wives tales. I tried 6 natural ways to induce labor at home.


I ate cups of pineapple at breakfast, lunch, and sometimes dinner. My tongue was raw, but my cervix was still closed and thick.

Spicy foods

I gobbled down spicy foods every chance I could. Mexican restaurants got my paychecks.

(On the Border’s salsa is wonderfully spicy. At least it seemed to be while I was pregnant.)

While spicy foods brought on Braxton Hicks, my son stayed put. His belly was full enough; the enchiladas didn’t entice him to join this side of the world.


I walked laps around the mall during a busy Christmas season. To Bath and Body Works and back. My ankles swelled and my wallet thinned, but I was still pregnant a few days later.

I tried sex. Then tried it again. And kept trying it as tired as I felt.

There’s something about third trimester sex that just does not make you feel good about yourself. Plus, I remained pregnant, so that was a bust.

Exercise ball

I bounced on an exercise ball from the time I got off work to the time I went to bed.

I swayed on the ball, straddled the ball, completed circles on the ball.

It made me feel like a kid in gym class again. While it was fun, it still wasn’t a proven method to induce labor at home.

Nipple stimulation via breast pump

Each night I pumped with my Spectra S1 for 15 minutes WHILE bouncing on my exercise ball. I did this for about 3 days; then, I stopped.

The exciting thing was that drops of colostrum came out! Since this was my first child, I wasn’t sure how my breastfeeding journey was going to look. This was the first “sign” that my boobs could do this!

How to Induce Labor at Home

I Felt Guilty After Inducing Labor From Home

As excited I was to know my body could feed my child beyond the womb, my use of the breast pump while pregnant made me feel incredibly guilty.

All of the other things I tried were common old wives’ tales. I knew so many moms who tried one or most of those at-home induction methods. But pumping while pregnant? It seemed like untouched territory, like it was crossing the line.

Pumping while pregnant is pushing it too far.

Related: The Guilt After Inducing Labor Caused My Postpartum Anxiety

Did I do something wrong in pumping during my ninth month of pregnancy?

Nipple stimulation, from hands or a breast pump, releases oxytocin which helps with uterine contractions. There are a few studies on nipple stimulation by hand, but little to no research exists on using a breast pump, which is what I did.

Even with the existing research on nipple stimulation, there is no guarantee that it worked for me. Every body, every pregnancy, and every labor is different.

How to Induce Labor at Home

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How to Induce Labor at Home

Coping With Guilt After Successfully Inducing Labor At Home

As a positive coping mechanism, my therapist told me to research every at-home induction method that I tried. She wanted me to see the statistics for just how “well” these methods work for quickly inducing labor at home.

I shouldn’t have been shocked at the stats, but I was.

While researching, I read the same statement again and again on a variety of websites.

There is no evidence that non-medical methods successfully induce labor.

There’s no reason for me to feel guilty for “inducing” my labor. There is no evidence for it!

My scouring of the top 5 pages on Google did wonders for me in regards to coping with a traumatic birth.

Related: How Co-sleeping Healed My Birth Trauma

(chart graphic pin)

Seeking God In My Traumatic Birth Experience

My labor played out how it needed to play out. My baby is now healthy and smiles with the chubbiest cheeks. I am healthy and have successfully recovered from major abdominal surgery.

God played a role in my labor and in my birth experience.

On His timeline, no method of induction would have worked without Him wanting it to work. And that includes pineapple, sex, pumping, Pitocin, and the Foley bulb.

Related: Seeing God Move Amidst My Birth Trauma

I shouldn’t feel guilty about trying at-home induction methods that have no proof of harming the baby.

It was His will, and I shouldn’t feel guilty for being miserable and desperate, researching and then trying methods that have no proof of starting labor.

How to Induce Labor at Home

Toward the end of pregnancy, most women are tired and ready to meet their babies. As their due date nears, my patients often ask about natural ways to induce labor.

There are plenty of urban legends about natural remedies that supposedly move things along. Some of these methods are harmless; others may have risks or unpleasant side effects. Most don’t actually work at all.

Let’s look at the truth behind nine of these “natural” methods of inducing labor at home, and why you may or may not want to try them out:

1. Castor oil

Caster oil to induce labor is one of the more popular, supposedly “natural” suggestions. Because castor oil is a laxative, it does cause uterine irritation or contractions – but often as a result of GI upset and diarrhea, not labor. In randomized studies (the gold standard in medical research), women who ingested caster oil were no more likely to go into labor than women who had taken no castor oil.

There are some foods and recipes out there – such as this infamous salad or eggplant parmesan – that are rumored to cause labor and likely contain castor oil or something similar as their “active” ingredient.

But the oil itself has generally fallen out of favor given the significant side effects (again, GI upset and diarrhea) and its inability to induce true labor.

2. Exercise

Moderate exercise is safe – and highly recommended – during pregnancy. Unfortunately, there aren’t any exercises that have been shown to induce labor. I have a friend who walked 40 city blocks unsuccessfully attempting to coax out her little one.

3. Acupuncture or pressure

Randomized trials have failed to show that acupuncture or pressure (like massage) will induce labor. Given this remedy can be quite pricey, I suggest you skip it and save that money for diapers.

Some people still buy into it, however, so don’t be surprised if your favorite pedicurist refuses to perform a foot massage when you’re pregnant. Many people believe massage of the inner leg above the ankle can cause miscarriage or preterm labor.

4. Pineapple

Fresh pineapple – the core, in particular – contains an enzyme called bromelain, which is commonly used as a meat tenderizer. This enzyme breaks down the proteins in tissue and is what makes your tongue tingle or mouth develop sores when you eat pineapple.

The popular theory is that somehow the bromelain from the pineapple makes its way to your cervix and causes the breakdown of tissue there, causing the cervix to soften and stimulating labor.

There is no evidence to support this theory, however. The enzyme is not active in your acidic stomach and is only partially absorbed by the body.

There’s no harm in enjoying a serving of pineapple at term – although the fruit is known to cause significant heartburn.

5. Sexual intercourse

It’s not clear whether or not sexual activity at term will help induce labor. One study has even shown that having sex might actually reduce the likelihood of going into labor.

Intercourse generally isn’t harmful during pregnancy. However, with certain conditions, such as placenta or vasa previa, your obstetric provider may recommend “pelvic rest” or “nothing per vagina.” Not following these recommendations could lead to hemorrhage and endanger your health and the health of your baby.

6. Herbal remedies

Herbs such as blue and black cohosh, raspberry leaf tea, and evening primrose oil have been sold as a way to “prepare” your uterus for labor.

Not so fast. Cohosh has been associated with fetal heart failure and stroke as well as maternal complications during labor. Randomized trials have shown no increase in likelihood of labor onset with any of these herbs, and the safety is unknown. Avoid these supposed remedies completely during pregnancy.

7. Nipple stimulation

Nipple stimulation causes oxytocin release, which in a lactating mother causes the “letdown” of breastmilk. It also causes uterine contractions and return to normal uterine size (called “involution”), which is why women who breastfeed generally have heavier bleeding for a shorter amount of time compared to women who bottle-feed their babies.

Nipple stimulation during pregnancy will also cause uterine contractions, although it may not cause the onset of true labor. It may also cause severe, prolonged contractions that cause fetal distress and harm. That’s why I don’t recommend using nipple stimulation to induce labor.

8. Spicy food

Spicy foods affect the body the same way as castor oil – GI upset leads to uterine irritation and contractions. As with castor oil, these contractions rarely result in true labor.

Spicy food can also lead to significant heartburn, which pregnant women are predisposed to anyway. Bottom line: you may regret those tacos later.

9. Membrane stripping

Your obstetric provider may begin membrane stripping about a week before your due date. This process – where a finger is inserted through the cervical opening and swept to the left and right in a clockwise motion to separate the lower part of the membranes from the uterine wall – may be uncomfortable for some women and is only possible if your cervix is dilated.

The available data does show an increase in spontaneous labor onset following this procedure – but it is also associated with vaginal bleeding, cramping, and occasional membrane rupture.

With my second child, I experienced heavy bleeding after membrane stripping that required a trip to labor and delivery to evaluate my baby – with my toddler in tow. This made me feel anxious, was inconvenient, and did not bring on labor.

If you are interested in membrane stripping to induce labor, discuss it with your provider, and he or she can help you decide if it is the right choice for you.

The medical community studies drugs and interventions (such as oxytocin for labor induction) both before and after implementation to ensure their safety and efficacy and to ensure no unexpected complications or side effects have occurred.

Many women swear by a certain natural method, but a woman close to her due date is extremely likely to go into labor no matter what she is doing – or eating – at the time.

Many of the above natural ways to induce labor are probably harmless. Others, however, may have unwanted side effects or could be unsafe for you or your baby. Talk to your obstetric provider beforehand about any method you intend to try and get his or her opinion on what is safest.

We recommend you take the true “natural” approach to labor – let it happen when it happens. After all, only about 2 percent of women remain pregnant more than 1 to 2 weeks past their due date.

Think of it as your first demonstration in patience – something you will undoubtedly require often as a mother!

For more information about pregnancy, labor, and delivery, sign up to receive Your Pregnancy Matters email alerts when we publish new stories. You can also make an appointment to see one of our specialists by calling 214-645-8300.

How to Induce Labor at Home

Most pregnancies that involve just one baby last about 40 weeks from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period. Multiple gestation pregnancies may vary in their duration.

It is usually best to maintain a pregnancy for as long as it is safely possible to allow for continued growth and weight gain as well as fetal brain, liver, and lung development. All of these processes are essential for the health of a newborn.

Infants who are born before 39 weeks are more likely to experience complications, such as breathing difficulties, vision and hearing problems, being unable to stay warm, and feeding difficulties, among other health problems.

However, if a baby is born after 42 weeks, other problems can arise. For this reason, a doctor will sometimes recommend inducing labor.

How to Induce Labor at Home

Share on Pinterest A doctor may recommend inducing labor if delivery is late and there are risks to the mother or the baby.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend classifying full-term pregnancies in one of four ways.

The categories are:

  • Early-term: Delivery occurs between 37 weeks and 38 weeks and 6 days.
  • Full-term: Delivery takes place after 39 weeks but before 40 weeks and 6 days.
  • Later-term: Delivery is within 6 days after 41 weeks.
  • Post-term: Delivery happens at any time after week 42.

Doctors do not know why some women have post-term deliveries, but a 2012 study suggests that possible reasons may include:

  • hormonal factors
  • obesity, possibly because fatty tissue affects the balance of hormones in the body
  • genetic factors, as parents who were born post term appear to be more likely to have a post-term delivery
  • having a baby for the first time

Preventing the risks of a post-term delivery

Post-term pregnancies may carry a higher risk of delivery complications.

Risks to the baby include:

  • increased fetal size, which can make injury more likely during delivery
  • inhaling fecal waste, which can lead to lung problems in the newborn
  • the aging of the placenta and low pH levels in the umbilical cord, leading to neonatal acidemia (low blood pH)
  • issues arising from growth restriction in the womb, such as wrinkled, peeling skin and a thin body due to malnourishment

Risks to the woman include:

  • the need for a cesarean delivery
  • a higher chance of tearing when giving birth
  • an obstructed, slow, or delayed labor
  • a negative emotional effect, as waiting tends to increase anxiety

In some situations, a doctor may recommend inducing, or bringing on, labor. However, they will first consider the risks, benefits, and necessity of the intervention.

A doctor may recommend inducing labor in instances in which:

  • they have concerns about the health of the woman or baby
  • the post-term date is approaching
  • there is an infection in the uterus
  • there is delayed fetal growth
  • the levels of amniotic fluid are low

Certain medical conditions may pose a risk to the woman or baby, including:

  • high blood pressure
  • preeclampsia
  • diabetes
  • kidney disease
  • blood problems due to rhesus (Rh) factor issues

Rh factor is a protein that is sometimes present on the surface of red blood cells. People with this protein in their blood have Rh-positive blood, while those who do not have this protein have Rh-negative blood.

Problems can arise if the fetus has Rh-positive blood, but the woman’s blood is Rh-negative.

Typically, maternal blood does not mix with fetal blood during pregnancy. However, this can sometimes occur during a medical procedure, such as amniocentesis, or if the woman experiences trauma to the abdomen.

If it does happen, the woman will develop antibodies against the Rh factor of the fetus, and her body will fight against the unborn baby’s blood. This attack can be life-threatening for the unborn child, and it can also result in complications with subsequent pregnancies.

If it is necessary to induce labor, a healthcare professional will use certain medications and procedures to cause labor to start.

Cervical ripening

It is possible to ripen, or dilate, the cervix by inserting a catheter with a small balloon-type device on the end or by introducing a substance that absorbs water.


A healthcare professional may burst the amniotic sac that surrounds the baby inside the uterus to start labor or to progress labor that has already begun. They can only perform this procedure if the cervix has dilated enough to make the amniotic sac accessible.


Doctors may use naturally occurring chemicals called prostaglandins to try to soften and thin out the cervix and encourage cervical dilation. They deliver prostaglandins to the cervix through the vagina. In some cases, they may administer the hormone oxytocin to induce labor by stimulating contractions.

Stripping the membranes

This method can help release prostaglandins to induce labor, according to ACOG. A doctor or midwife will use a finger to “sweep” over the membranes connecting the amniotic sac to the uterine wall.

According to one source, this may be uncomfortable for some women and is only possible following the dilation of the cervix.

As with any medical procedure, labor induction involves some risks.

  • strong, frequent contractions that can lead to fetal complications, such as an increased heart rate and umbilical cord problems
  • maternal or fetal infections
  • torn uterus
  • increased likelihood of a cesarean delivery
  • fetal death

How to Induce Labor at Home

When you’re so pregnant all you’re capable of is waddling around, peeing, and trying not to throttle anyone who tells you to just enjoy this time, you might wonder if there’s anything you can do to induce labor and just get that baby out of you already. There are likely plenty of other women out there who are curious about the same thing. Only around 5 percent of babies are born on their due dates, with 80 percent coming somewhere between two weeks before and two weeks after that day, Kelly M. Kasper, M.D., an ob/gyn at Indiana University Health’s department of obstetrics and gynecology, tells SELF, noting that “40 weeks is average, so just about as many babies come after as before.” Kasper says that for first-time mothers, the chance is a little higher that the babies will stubbornly stay put after their due dates instead of arriving early. That makes for a lot of overdue moms who could be interested in at-home induction techniques.

There are plenty of rumored methods that seem like they could speed up the process, eventually bringing you relief and helping you finally meet that little human you created. Unfortunately, there isn’t much research to back them up. “The science behind natural labor-inducing methods for use at home is not robust,” Lynn Simpson, M.D., director of maternal-fetal medicine and chief of obstetrics at Columbia University Medical Center, tells SELF. Luckily, doctors have some useful intel about the following eight methods and whether they actually work or are better left untried.

Can you end your pregnancy the way it started? Possibly. “Semen contains [hormone-like chemicals called] prostaglandins, which are similar to medications used to induce labor in the hospital,” says Kasper. Specifically, those prostaglandins may help soften the cervix and prepare it to dilate.

Still, if you’re intrigued, ask your doctor whether you have the go-ahead to give it a try. “Make sure that you do not have any contraindications to having sex, such as placenta previa, when the placenta covers the opening in your cervix,” says Kasper.

Stimulating your nipples releases oxytocin (so does orgasm, which is another point for having sex to induce labor). “This hormone then travels to the uterus to cause contractions, not unlike those that occur in spontaneous labor,” says Simpson. “However, many obstetric providers prefer to monitor the fetal response to induced contractions, so routine nipple stimulation in an unmonitored setting is often not encouraged.” Again, check in with your doctor before just trying this at home.

If you want to get moving, go for it, but only within reason. “There is some thought that upright exercise, such as brisk walking or jogging, may encourage descent of the baby due to the effects of gravity,” says Simpson. Any resulting dehydration from exercise can potentially cause uterine irritability, but not enough to start labor (which is a good thing, because being dehydrated on a normal day isn’t pleasant, much less when you’re giving birth). “While exercise is good for most pregnant women, there is very little evidence that it stimulates labor,” says Simpson.

This thick, goopy liquid is a staple in labor-induction old wives’ tales, and Simpson notes it’s been used for decades to get childbirth going. While there’s no scientifically sound proof that it works, it gets high marks in another area. “Castor oil is good for bringing on terrible diarrhea,” says Kasper. Some women see that diarrhea as a pitstop on the way to giving birth, but it’s not a minimal side effect. Ingesting castor oil releases prostaglandins and kicks bowel peristalsis (movement) up a notch, which can cause uterine contractions, according to Simpson. “However, the nausea, diarrhea, and dehydration that occur following the ingestion of castor oil limit its safety and tolerability in pregnancy.”

The thinking is that applying physical pressure or needles to certain points of the body can help induce labor by releasing oxytocin and prostaglandins, but experts aren’t sold. “Evidence is lacking on their ability to induce labor,” says Simpson. If you believe in these methods, you can talk to your doctor about trying them, then you should find someone who can do them safely. “Acupuncture can be used to induce labor, however it takes a qualified practitioner to perform this procedure, which may be difficult to find,” says Kasper. One good first step is checking to see if you can find any nearby practitioners through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. While there aren’t specific pregnancy-related risks to acupuncture and acupressure, licensed practitioners will do things like use clean needles, which is key for staying infection-free.

More Articles

  1. A Midwife’s Ways to Induce Labor
  2. 35 Weeks Pregnant & My Baby Turned Diagonal
  3. When Do Babies Take Position for Birth?
  4. Can Walking Help a Baby Drop?
  5. Complications of an Endometrial Biopsy
  • Considerations
  • Herbal Remedies
  • Physical Remedies
  • Bodywork
  • Warning

A pregnancy is considered term between 37 and 42 weeks. Labor induction, whether at-home or by a medical worker, should be avoided prior to that time to ensure that the baby is fully developed. Any woman considering at-home remedies to start her labor should first have a detailed discussion with her doctor.


At-home remedies for labor induction are often gentler than the medical interventions a doctor might use in the hospital, according to an article on by Nancy Griffin, a Bradley Method childbirth teacher at St. John’s Hospital in Southern California, a lactation educator and an expert in pregnancy and postpartum exercise, At-home remedies rely on hormones the body already produces to get labor going 13. For example, oxytocin, produced by the body in large amounts during natural birth, is responsible for feelings of love and well-being, and might possibly make birth less painful. Its synthetic counterpart, pitocin, which is often used in medical labor inductions, cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. In fact, according to Griffin, it might actually make labor more painful and produce such strong contractions that blood flow to the baby is compromised.

  • At-home remedies for labor induction are often gentler than the medical interventions a doctor might use in the hospital, according to an article on by Nancy Griffin, a Bradley Method childbirth teacher at St. John’s Hospital in Southern California, a lactation educator and an expert in pregnancy and postpartum exercise, At-home remedies rely on hormones the body already produces to get labor going 1.
  • In fact, according to Griffin, it might actually make labor more painful and produce such strong contractions that blood flow to the baby is compromised.

Herbal Remedies

A Midwife’s Ways to Induce Labor

Some midwives and doulas offer guidance on which herbs to use for a safe at-home labor induction. If a woman is under the care of a conventional doctor, she should seek the advice of a homeopath before attempting to use any kind of herb. Cohosh root, clary sage oil, castor oil and evening primrose oil can effectively induce labor in some women.

Physical Remedies

Intercourse is an effective means of labor induction, as semen contains prostaglandins, which help soften the cervix. Repeated exposure is preferable to a single encounter, as semen has a cumulative ripening effect. Nipple stimulation signals the brain to release oxytocin into a mother’s system, which might also start labor. Nipples can be stimulated with a breast pump or manually. Light exercise, such as a walk or yoga, can also start labor safely at home. Both help position the baby low in the pelvis so its head presses against the mother’s cervix, causing it to dilate. Exercise can also give the mother an opportunity to clear her head. Stress and fear are common culprits of stalled or nonexistent labors.

  • Intercourse is an effective means of labor induction, as semen contains prostaglandins, which help soften the cervix.
  • Both help position the baby low in the pelvis so its head presses against the mother’s cervix, causing it to dilate.


35 Weeks Pregnant & My Baby Turned Diagonal

Several acupressure points in the body might trigger labor when stimulated, according to Debra Betts, a registered nurse and the author of “The Essential Guide to Acupuncture in Childbirth and Pregnancy.” A mother or her partner can apply light pressure to the following points throughout the day in order to start contractions: Spleen 6, located about four finger widths above the inside of the ankle, and Intestine 4, located in the middle of the web of skin between the thumb and index finger 3.


Labor induction is serious and should not be attempted unless the mother is under the close supervision of a birth professional. She should communicate the treatment protocols of any other health practitioners she works with–homeopath, herbalist or acupuncturist—to her doctor or midwife.

More Articles

  1. At-Home Remedies to Induce Labor
  2. Exercises to Stimulate Labor
  3. Abdominal Pain After Giving Birth
  4. Can Walking Help a Baby Drop?
  5. Herbs That Stop Heavy Bleeding With Fibroids
  • Evening Primrose Oil
  • Black and Blue Cohosh
  • Castor Oil
  • Stripping Membranes
  • Acupressure and Acupuncture
  • Encouraging Natural Hormone Production
  • Walking

Care from midwives can very greatly. A certified nurse midwife working in a hospital with an obstetrician will use medically minded induction methods, such as Pitocin, artificial rupture of the membranes and vaginal prostaglandin preparations. But a certified nurse midwife, licensed midwife, or lay midwife who attends births at a freestanding birth center or in homes will have a different outlook on induction.

Evening Primrose Oil

A midwife might recommend evening primrose oil late in pregnancy to help a woman’s body prepare for labor. This is taken orally and inserted vaginally, next to the cervix. While evening primrose oil will not start contractions or induce labor, it will help the cervix ripen, soften and dilate. This can help to speed spontaneous labor or help an induction proceed more smoothly.

  • A midwife might recommend evening primrose oil late in pregnancy to help a woman’s body prepare for labor.
  • While evening primrose oil will not start contractions or induce labor, it will help the cervix ripen, soften and dilate.

Black and Blue Cohosh

At-Home Remedies to Induce Labor

Black and blue cohosh tinctures or capsules are often used under the supervision of midwives to help stimulate labor. Drops of the powerful herbs are diluted with water or juice and are taken orally, or the root of the herb is taken in capsule form. They are powerful herbs and should be used onlyunder the guidance of a trained midwife or naturopath. When taken together, these herbs help to coordinate late-term uterine contractions and strengthen them to bring on active labor.

  • Black and blue cohosh tinctures or capsules are often used under the supervision of midwives to help stimulate labor.
  • They are powerful herbs and should be used onlyunder the guidance of a trained midwife or naturopath.

Castor Oil

Castor oil is commonly used to encourage labor. Once taken orally, it works by stimulating the intestinal tract, and thus stimulating the uterus through sympathetic contractions. Because it primarily works on the intestines, side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, cramping and dehydration. Because the side effects are so severe, some midwives are hesitant to use this method, because it depletes the mother’s nutrient and hydration stores that are vital for a successful labor.

  • Castor oil is commonly used to encourage labor.
  • Because it primarily works on the intestines, side effects include vomiting, diarrhea, cramping and dehydration.

Stripping Membranes

Exercises to Stimulate Labor

Although this is a medical procedure, it is one of the more gentle medical methods of labor induction, and thus midwives often use it to encourage labor. During a pelvic exam, the midwife will use her finger to separate the bag of waters from the cervix, breaking the threads of tissue that hold it in place. This action releases prostaglandins that soften the cervix and cause uterine contractions 1. If this method will work, labor will generally start within 24 hours.

  • Although this is a medical procedure, it is one of the more gentle medical methods of labor induction, and thus midwives often use it to encourage labor.
  • During a pelvic exam, the midwife will use her finger to separate the bag of waters from the cervix, breaking the threads of tissue that hold it in place.

Acupressure and Acupuncture

Several pressure points and energy channels on a pregnant woman’s body will encourage labor contractions when stimulated. Acupressure and acupuncture by trained practioners can stimulate contractions and help to bring about labor.

Encouraging Natural Hormone Production

There are also methods that a midwife will encourage a pregnant woman to try on her own to bring about labor. Sexual intercourse is one of the most effective. Semen contains high levels of prostaglandins, which soften the cervix and encourage uterine contractions. In addition, when a woman orgasms, the naturally occurring labor hormone oxytocin floods her system, causing a strengthening of labor contractions.

Nipple stimulation is also recommended as a way to release oxytocin. A mother can use manual or oral stimulation, a breast pump, a nursing toddler or a stream of warm water to encourage contractions and bring about labor.

  • There are also methods that a midwife will encourage a pregnant woman to try on her own to bring about labor.
  • In addition, when a woman orgasms, the naturally occurring labor hormone oxytocin floods her system, causing a strengthening of labor contractions.


A midwife helping to bring about labor will also encourage a pregnant mother to spend a good deal of time walking. Long strides and the bouncing impact of a quick pace encourage the baby’s head to press on the cervix, causing it to ripen and soften.

Im 38 weeks I get induced tomarrow and I hated the potossin last time so can someone please help me I know the baby comes when its ready but they are already inducing me tomarrow anyways hes already 9pounds 11onz and I don’t wanna go thru the pottsin again last time I had a c section so I really wanna do this please help

thanks for the answers but I have already made it clear I don’t want to be induced and they are doing it anyways.

2 Answers

How to Induce Labor at Home

Nothing you can do

Why are they inducing you?

There’s no guarantee that your baby will be that big, scan guesses can be way off

“Tomorrow” there’s no a

Well they physically can’t tie you to the bed so if you don’t want the induction it doesn’t have to happen. You need to be stronger and just say no and not go in !

How to Induce Labor at Home

Yeah I don’t think they should induce you just because their tests say s/he is big they can be off by a pound this late. They said my baby was a pound and a half bigger than what he actually was when he was born. If you don’t want to be induced them you should probably tell your doctor that you don’t think size is a good reason to induce. Once you induce you are much more likely to have further interventions in your birth.

How to self Induce labor at home

Do you need to be the girl in your group who provides start to that lovely bundle of pleasure on New Years day? Is that this one in every of your greatest desires and are you striving to do all the pieces in your energy to make that dream come true? If you wish to give start to your new child on New Years day, then you must study some ideas that can make it easier to to induce your labor so you can also make that attainable .

You need to learn to self induce labor at home . You need to make this occur proper from the consolation of your house and by yourself time.

You do not need to need to resort to medical strategies that will help you induce labor. As a substitute , you need to do that in probably the most pure and most secure manner attainable . It is time that you simply made this occur for you.

Among the best methods to self induce your labor is to eat sure sorts of meals . Consuming may not sound like one of the best ways to induce your labor, however it could possibly actually really assist , so long as you might be consuming the suitable meals .

For instance , spicy meals typically have a big impact on our our bodies and the way they operate . You recognize this firsthand whenever you chew into one thing spicy. Your eyes begin to water, your mouth waters and you’re feeling like your complete physique is on hearth .

The reason being as a result of your physique is now working in extra time , attempting to fight towards the warmth and to neutralize it. When your physique does this, the methods naturally velocity up, involuntarily.

Spicy Meal Affects

This may additionally have an effect on your cervix if you end up pregnant and on the verge of going into labor. Consuming spicy meals can actually dilate your cervix and make it easier to to enter labor.

If you cannot deal with spicy meals , then haven’t any concern as a result of there are different alternate options that may nonetheless give you the results you want .

Consuming tropical fruits equivalent to pineapples, mangoes, kiwis and grapefruits all comprise a sure enzyme that’s in direct correlation with the cervix.

These fruits can assist to dilate the cervix, similar to the spicy meals do however with out all the different havoc in your physique .

For various methods to self induce labor at home, intercourse is one other approach to induce your self induce labor at home . Some imagine that sperm can induce labor so having intercourse and permitting your accomplice to ejaculate inside chances are you’ll assist .

Plus, intercourse takes your thoughts off of the state of affairs and helps to chill out your physique . Leisure and de-stressing your self is an important factor that you must do proper now.

You can also make your dream come true and you’ll give start to that New Years child in the event you comply with a few of these ideas that will help you to induce your individual labor safely, naturally and rapidly .

How to Induce Labor at Home

A maternity is regarded phrase among 37 and 42 weeks, Induce Labor, whether at-house or by a professional medical worker, must be eliminated before compared to that time to ensure that the baby is very developed.

If your labor doesn’t get yourself started its unique, your professional can use prescription drugs and other solutions to keep on (or induce) contractions. She can use a number of the same techniques to enhance, or quickness up, your labor if it quits developing for some purpose.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Avoidance, a lot more than 1 in 5 births in america was induced. This sum a lot more than doubled from 1990.

How to Induce Labor at Home

Any woman taking into consideration at-home remedies to commence her labor must 1st have a particular conversation with her medical expert.

1. Castor Oil

Consume castor essential oil to induce labor ache. Castor oil encourages your instinct and womb to result in the initially shrinkage at the original, Do not ingest a lot more than 60 ml of castor oil as it might cause considerable diarrhea in a pregnant woman.

2. Crimson Raspberry Leaf Tea

Midwives frequently advise consuming crimson raspberry leaf tea found in mixture with evening time primrose oil due to your expected time gets near. the tea tones the womb and enables to arrange irregular contractions into regular, effective patterns. Actually if it doesn’t perform, you’ll stay hydrated.

3. Dates

Having dates fruit at the afterwards degrees of pregnancy may be regarded as one between your useful natural ways to induce labor. Girls who eaten 6 day fruits in a day for 4 weeks acquired their labor early compared to women. Day fruit likewise creates your contractions longer, thus, increased cervical dilatation develops. In this way, the original stage of Induce labor receives reduced. When females eat day fruits at their 3rd trimester, the options of getting all natural labor are also high,Do not overeat dates as it might irritated your stomach.

4. Walking

Walking is also one between your natural ways to induce labor. Assuming you have acquired your initial pulling, begin walking quickly as it might decrease the time interval in between your contractions. When a full-term pregnant girl walks, her baby’s brain is pushed hard in direction of her cervix to ripen it. Walking also motivates the baby to complete the cervix promptly. Attempt never to fatigue oneself by going for walks fast since it reasons energy damage. You want to save your strength for the other degrees of Induce labor, so preserve energetic and hydrated.

5. Spicy Foods

It really is considered that taking spicy food may induce labor naturally. Many women tend to avoid consuming spicy food since there is a myth that ingesting hot and spicy meals can impact the wild hair development of the infant. Eating spicy food as the expected day techniques can basically support in cervix maturing.

6. Sex

Labor induction consists of ripening of the cervix by which the normal water lets out or dilation occurs quicker and labor starts off. The options of cervical ripening enhances, as a full-term currently pregnant woman continue to have sexual intercourse with her spouse. Furthermore, sex activates the ease of oxytocin which is a essential hormonal that induces labor.

If a woman gets placenta previa or any other issues with her maternity, in that case it really is great to prevent this system.

The options of dilation are excessive whenever a pregnant woman indulges in an sex. If the normal water breaks, hospitalize the woman quickly.

Found in situation of vaginal bleeding, sex isn’t a suggested pure induce labor choice.

7. Nipple Stimulation

Nipple Stimulation is the most suggested way to induce labor. Linked to having sex, nipple stimulation as well improves the generate of oxytocin to result in labor shrinkage. That is a easy but very successful technique which consists of fascinating the nipples (areolas) like what sort of baby absorbs while medical.

Massage therapy all over your nipples for in minimum amount 15 mins and activate one nipple at the same time, Do it again again this procedure for about three times a day to boost oxytocin launch within your body.

Stimulate nipples just after durations. Usually do not replicate this process for more than three times a day, Work with any fragrance-no cost moisturiser to rub around the location since massaging with straight forward fingertips may develop it sore and agonizing.

8. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the historical remedies that contain been applied because a large number of years to induce labor. In this system, thin tiny needles are placed into the particular things of your body. This causes the experience of uterus. This system also decreases the soreness contained in the natural parturition.

Talk to your midwife or perhaps doctor before working with acupuncture labor induction technique, The probability of labor induction with acupuncture is quite higher, so do not to try it, if your maternity is not full-term.

9. Membrane Stripping

Some providers will provide to strip your membranes to encourage labor. Although the process is done in the workplace, there are no drugs engaged. Your doctor use a gloved finger to specific the amniotic sac from the uterine wall, This step produces more of these prostaglandins.

Pursuing the approach, you may competence pains and recognizing. In the event that you expertise heavier blood loss very similar to a menstrual period, contact your doctor.

10. Climb Stairs

This may not be recommended for most women with high risk maternity, but it is an effective way during normal pregnancy. Climbing stairs may support placement the baby right and also provides more strain to your cervix to cause water breakage. Try to climb stairs often while you are delinquent, but ask your physician just before doing it. As talked about previously, it really is good in the event that you don’t fatigue yourself by climbing stairs frequently, because you may get worn out very easily.

After your due date passes without a contraction, your doctor might start talking about inducing labor if it doesn’t happen naturally by a certain date. Medical induction usually includes the use of pitocin, which can make contractions stronger and more painful. Some herbal remedies may help you induce labor and avoid this situation. However, never use herbs or any other natural remedy for induction without first consulting with your doctor.

Types of Herbs

Black cohosh, blue cohosh, cotton root bark, black haw, and red raspberry leaf are sometimes recommended to help induce labor. Some herb mixtures for inducing labor may also include pennyroyal herb, dong quai root, butcher’s broom root, and blessed thistle 3. Herbal remedies for labor induction work by either softening and thinning the cervix or toning the uterus 3. For example, red raspberry leaf is supposed to tone the uterine muscles to make contractions more effective, according to physician Josie L. Tenore of Northwestern University Medical School.

How to Take Herbs

Herbs can be taken in capsule form, in a tincture or in a tea. Red raspberry leaf is commonly taken as a tea, and it has a mild, slightly sweet flavor. You can drink as much of it as you like throughout the third trimester to prepare for labor, according to the Austin, Texas OBGYN North clinic’s website. In the final days of pregnancy, drinking the tea regularly can strengthen your uterus and help bring on labor. Black and blue cohosh root are generally taken as capsules, but they can be mixed with alcohol to make tincture, as well. OBGYN North says that they can be taken in the last five to six weeks of the pregnancy.

Safety and Efficiency

Little research has been conducted on either the safety or the efficiency of herbal remedies to induce labor. Much of the information about the use of herbs for this purpose is anecdotal, passed along by pregnant women, midwives and other pregnancy healthcare providers. Physician and midwife Aviva Romm recommends against the use of blue cohosh, as it has been linked to adverse affects in the baby. She notes that the correlation is not proven, but suggests using other herbs that are known to be safe. Before taking any herbal remedy, you should talk with your doctor. You should also be prepared for the possibility that the herb will not have its desired effect.

Other Natural Remedies

Other natural remedies for inducing labor include walking, eating spicy foods, relaxation, visualization, nipple stimulation and sex; all may be able to encourage contractions, obstetrician Laura Riley tells Parents Magazine 3. Castor oil and evening primose oil are also popular remedies. However, Riley cautions that if the baby is not ready to come, none of these remedies will be effective and instead, you may find yourself with a bad case of heartburn or diarrhea from using them.

According to a study, almost 50% of women try to induce labor before the delivery date. In the United States, only 5% of the babies are born on their due dates and 40% of them are born in the two weeks period after that.

But it is important to understand that you can actually induce labor, if and only if, you have passed your due date. You will not remain pregnant forever and that is the reason why it is important not to try any means to force your labor before due date.

From acupressure massages to exercise balls, from herbs like basils and raspberry leaves to oils like castor oil and Clary sage oil, there are many ways you can induce labor. Some of them are mentioned below:


Basil is a perfect herb which increases the blood flow to the uterus. This helps you to reach labor at a faster rate. Add some basil in your cooking and it will stimulate menstruation.

Borage Seed Oil

Borage seed oil has fatty acids which triggers labor amongst pregnant women. It softens the cervix of area and also makes it easier for your baby to come out.

Acupressure Massages

Acupressure massages not only will help you to recover from morning sickness and cure your spotting and bleeding problems but at the same time it is also useful for inducing labor. Massaging the acupressure points will help you to give birth to your baby much easily.


Bananas are very rich in potassium. That is the reason why it helps in muscle contractions and inducing labor with much ease and comfort.

Exercise balls

Bouncing with exercise balls also has its positive effect, when it comes to inducing labor. Bounce up and down in order to help your baby to understand the movement of your body. This also helps your baby to get ready for coming out.

Clary Sage Oil

There is research that shows that Clary sage oil is very effective in inducing labor amongst women. It also helps you get relief from pain. However, this oil should only be used by any trained midwife or a nurse. Do not try to apply it by yourself.

Castor Oil

Like Clary Sage, castor oil also has proper qualities including your labor. It helps your pelvic muscles to relax and it makes your baby to come out easier. However, like Clary Sage again, you should not be messing around much with castor oil. Take castor oil massage to trigger your labor from an expert only.


Having six dates, each day, after your baby’s delivery date has crossed will definitely help you to quicken the pace of your delivery. It is a well proven and safe method.

Licorice Roots

Have the roots and not the candies. The roots will help you get more licorice whereas the candies are stuffed with more sugar. It is a great laxative and helps you to have a very healthy labor.

Kneeling Down on All Four

Kneeling down on all your fours definitely helps the purpose as it will make sure that your water breaks early. However, do not do any such things before the due date.

Nipple Simulation

It is one of the most effective and safe procedures to induce labor. It helps in the secretion of certain hormones which helps you to reach labor nice and early. Obviously you do not need any one’s help in such cases, unless of course your partner wants to oblige.


A strict no-no during pregnancy, pineapples has the quality of relaxing your cervix muscles and induces labor quite early. However, eating small quantity of pineapple would not help as the amount of chemical present in a single one is not sufficient enough to trigger serious labor.

Raspberry Leaf

Raspberry tea or pills can be taken from the 34 th week to make sure that labor starts nice and early for you. It ensures shorter labor and strengthens your uterus.

Having Sex

Yes! Sounds good? Have sex to conceive and have sex to help your baby come out also. Sperm has this ability to induce labor and relax your cervix. Regular (but not rough) sex will definitely help you to have a short labor.

Relaxation Exercises

Try some nice and easy relaxation exercises to make sure that all your hormonal flows are regularized. This helps your cervix muscles to relax and your uterus to become strong for the deliver to take place.

Spicy Food

Not highly recommended but spicy food sometimes creates a lot of stir in your digestive system and uterus. This helps in a short and early labor. But do not indulge in too much spice as it might cause harm to you and your baby.


If you have a private pool at your home then going for a swim is a good way to make sure that your labor is nice and early. However, make sure that the pool is clean and free from any sort of contamination.

Squaw Vine

It is a very old remedy and it should be taken for the last six months of your pregnancy. Like any laxative it also helps in triggering a short enough labor.

Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar can trigger labor for you. They have the required properties to make sure that the labor comes nice and early. However, it is advised that you should not have it undiluted. Splash a bit on your salad and enjoy a healthy meal.

Egg Plants

Egg plants are nice and pulpy vegetables to have whilst you are getting ready for your labor. It has laxative properties to help you relax your uterus and give a nice and smooth child birth.

Thyme Tea

Thyme tea is also nice relaxer of muscles and a great inducer of labor. Many women give it a shot once their due date is over. However, thyme tea contains very little amount of essential ingredient to trigger labor. That is why it might not be a very reliable option.


There many other ways by which labor can be induced. Like have some wine or dancing sometime helps. However, none of them comes without the associated risk factor. It is important that you consult with your doctor before undergoing the any of the above mentioned process.