I don’t know many women who loved being pregnant by Month 9. Actually I don’t know any woman who loved being pregnant in the final weeks, who wasn't keen to try any and all natural ways to induce labor at home. It’s a tough slog at the end, with a bowling ball sitting on your bladder and cervix, heartburn when you try to eat the very little food that fits in your squished stomach, and Braxton-Hicks happening every time you move.
So when that magical due date approaches, it’s no wonder we all grin and salivate like we’re about to be served the most spectacular gourmet meal Mario Batali has ever created. Soon, so soon, it will all be done! I will finally meet that little wriggly cute bundle of joy!
Then...the due date comes and goes. And nothing happens. Your midwife or OB/GYN is starting to talk about medical induction and, well...you'd rather not. But you also really want that baby out. What’s a pregnant gal to do?
Lots of things, actually. Like, all kinds of things that you wouldn’t believe could possibly do anything to affect your baby’s willingness to exit that warm, cozy, safe womb that they’ve come to know for the past nine months. There is a veritable laundry list of experiments, from the sublime to the ridiculous, that you’ll find out there to help induce labor naturally. (I would know; I tried most of them.)
Stage 1: You're Not Really "Trying" To Induce Labor. You're Just...Dabbling In The Idea.
For me, this was during the days leading up to my due date. I was already being threatened with induction so, why not. Gone are the days when most birth providers will simply let you sail past your due date, and then worry about what happens next. So in the last week before my official due date hit, I was told I needed to schedule a tentative induction date. This was when my partner and I started having sex every single day, something that hadn’t happened since...well, I won’t go there. Suffice to say, it had been a while. This is the time when you try the stuff that is the least scary or weird. I would’ve tried the pineapple thing around now, but I’m allergic to it. So, yeah, sex was our "gateway attempt."
Stage 2: Branching Out
I started trying some different methods right on my due date. Stuff that was a little more fringe than straight-up sex, but still wouldn’t make me uncomfortable in any way. This was when I began taking homeopathic pellets....every three hours. I also got a “membrane sweep,” which is a really nice way of saying that someone puts their finger up inside your bits and tries to, well, sweep the inside of your cervix with said finger. OK, that one was uncomfortable, but when the midwife suggests it, you do it. HAPPY DUE DATE, Y’ALL.
Stage 3: OK, This Is Getting Serious
This was a few days after my due date, when it was apparent that nobody was going anywhere (and by "nobody," I mean the baby, or me, to the hospital). I moved to acupuncture, began eating spicy food on the regular (hello, heartburn) and bought some jasmine essential oil, because it’s an "emmenagogue." And I continued to get sweeps. Shrug. Sometimes you gotta diversify to see what works.
Stage 4: I Mean It, Get Out!
This is when I moved to the painful stuff. Now, some women go the route of drinking castor oil (supposedly, you drink it, you poop your intestines out, you go into labor). No thanks. But do you think I got off easy? No way. I had a friend who practiced reflexology, and she used a heavy hand to activate some pressure points that are associated with getting labor started. I had bruises. I was also doing all the other things I mentioned at this point as well, so my days were pretty full, at this point.
Stage 5: F*ck It
Yes, I actually said this when I was five days past my due date. I completely gave up and said to my belly, “OK. I get it. You’re going to come out when you’re freaking ready.” And then I treated myself to a cupcake, had a fabulous dinner, and drank a fantastic glass of wine.
And went into labor the next day.