It's hard to be patient when you're approaching the end of your pregnancy. Not only are you eager to meet your baby, but you may also be anxious to put an end to all the aches and pains your body is going through. Some women choose to wait it out until their baby decides to make its appearance, but others want to speed up the process. There are a lot of hacks to induce labor naturally, either on your own or with a little help from a professional.
The first thing to know about inducing labor naturally is that your doctor or midwife needs to be in the loop. It's not safe for all women, and induction shouldn't even be discussed before 37 weeks according to Mom.me. It's also extremely important to know that while soem methods fall into the "it can't hurt to try" category, others come with some risks. You'll want to make sure you're fully aware of any potential negative consequences first before you try anything. And you may want to remember that while being patient can be hard, it's always a safe way to go.
If you've gotten the go ahead from your doctor, here are nine things that could help induce labor naturally.
1. Have Sex
Sex may be the last thing on your mind when you're super pregnant, but hitting the sheets may just send you into labor, according to Fit Pregnancy. That's because semen contains prostaglandins, which can soften the cervix. Plus, having an orgasm can jump start contractions.
2. Stimulate Your Nipples
According to the Mayo Clinic stimulating your nipples, whether with a partner or with a breast pump, could also send you into labor. The site noted that the nipple stimulation can release oxytocin, a hormone that can trigger contractions.
3. Go For A Walk
You may be tired during those last few weeks of pregnancy, but The Bump noted that getting up and going for a walk could help get your labor started. Standing and walking could let gravity work its magic on your baby, causing him or her to drop lower. That in turn puts pressure on your cervix, which can make you dilate and go into labor. If it doesn't work, at least you've still gotten a little exercise.
4. Eat Some Spicy Foods
Although the idea of eating spicy foods to induce labor isn't necessarily supported by science, there's tons of anecdotal evidence from moms who say it works according to Pregnancy. That includes me— hours after eating the spiciest quesadilla I'd ever tasted, I was heading to the hospital to have my daughter. Some speculate that it works by irritating the digestive system (think diarrhea), which then irritates the uterus and starts contractions.
5. Have Your Membranes Stripped
According to Belly Belly, stripping your membranes to induce labor is something you'll need a doctor or midwife to do. The healthcare professional will perform a vaginal exam and pull the bag of waters away from your cervix, which can start contractions.
6. Try Acupuncture
If you're OK with needles, you may want to schedule an acupuncture appointment to get your labor going, according to Baby Center. It may seem scary, but women have been doing it for thousands of years. And even if doesn't work for you, you may still find it relaxing.
7. Try Acupressure
Some people believe that acupressure can jumpstart labor, according to Healthline. But you'll need to practice it consistently over a period of a few weeks. If it doesn't work for labor, it's still a great way to deal with any pain or discomfort you might be feeling toward the end of your pregnancy.
8. Use Evening Primrose Oil
What To Expect noted that evening primrose oil may get labor going by thinning out the cervix. You can either take it in capsule form or rub the oil directly onto your cervix. Although this method is recommended by some midwives, it's very important to note that its safety hasn't been studied, and some reports have suggested it can be harmful. As always, you should talk it over with your medical provider before trying out any method of inducing labor.
9. Drink Castor Oil
In an interview with Fox News, Dr. Michelle Collinssaid taking castor oil may kick start labor by irritating the bowels, which then irritates the uterus. She also noted that the method isn't totally safe, and there have been reports of fetal distress linked to its use, so be sure ot consult with a doctor before trying.