Should You Induce Labor At Home?

by Lindsay E. Mack

When you're ready to have your baby, every moment counts. After all, no one wants the latter stages of pregnancy to go on longer than necessary. With this in mind, can you induce labor at home before going to the hospital? It certainly sounds like a good way to hurry up your labor process.

Although it's a straightforward question, the answers will vary based on your circumstances. For starters, the practice of inducing labor at home is far from an exact science. As noted in Health Line, you can try everything from walking to sipping red raspberry leaf tea to induce labor. Although these and other folkloric remedies are popular, and they probably won't hurt to try, there is not a lot of research to support their effectiveness. In other words, even if you desperately want to induce labor at home, it's entirely possible your baby has other plans. Those plans likely include staying put until it's go time, spicy foods or bouncy car rides notwithstanding.

Your physician, however, deals with a much smaller cone of uncertainty when it comes to labor induction. With access to labor-inducing drugs such as Pitocin, your doctor's ability to hurry up your baby's debut is generally much less of a gamble. That said, even medically sanctioned labor induction techniques such as Pitocin are not without drawbacks, including the potential for excessive bleeding or high blood pressure.

As with most everything else related to pregnancy and delivery, it's important to consider your own situation. For most pregnancies, a wait-and-see approach is often best. For instance, many first-time moms are instructed to spend early labor at home, because the entire process can go on for hours or even days, as noted in Fit Pregnancy. So if you do appear to successfully induce labor at home, it may be a while before you get to the hospital anyway. On the other hand if you're two weeks past your due date, or you have a medical condition that could pose a risk to you or your little one, then medical induction may be the way to go, as noted by the Mayo Clinic. In general, the decision over whether to induce or not is a serious one best made under the guidance of your doctor.