Can You Induce Labor Naturally?

by Autumn Jones

When I was 38 weeks pregnant with my first child, a friend told me that eating spicy foods was likely to send me into labor. "Perfect excuse for a taco," I said, and off to the taqueria I went. Fast forward to the next day and I am in the hospital welcoming my son to the world. I can't say for sure that the delicious taco I had for lunch sent me into labor later that night, but it always made me wonder. I'm not the first mom-to-be to wonder, "can you induce labor naturally?" There are plenty of pregnant woman out there who want to know if it works.

All it takes is a simple search around the world wide web to find lists of ideas for bringing on labor in the comfort of your own home. Many methods (like my taco approach) have been attested to by mothers who swear it works. But it's important to keep in mind that these are word of mouth experiences and may or may not be total coincidence. So before you chug a bottle of castor oil, Fit Pregnancy magazine suggests running your plan for at home labor induction by your doctor or midwife first.

Although you may be up for experimenting with natural ways to induce, you could end up disappointed. For every women who experiences success with these methods, another finds herself eating 10 pineapples to kickstart delivery and ending up with chapped lips and no contractions. As Healthline pointed out, "though some of these methods are popular folklore among pregnant women, there’s little scientific evidence to support their efficacy."

However, if the idea of having an IV with Pitocin doesn't feel right to you, there are a few options your doctor can explore that don't involve prescription medication. Most commonly, you can have your water broken if it doesn't do so spontaneously. According to What To Expect's website, the doctor will break the bag of waters that surrounds your baby using an instrument that looks like a long crochet hook with a sharp tip. Or you can opt for a Foley Catheter, where a balloon is filled with water to put pressure on your cervix, encouraging labor to start, as Baby Center explained.

As long as your pregnancy hasn't been high-risk, and your doctor hasn't given you any restrictions, trying some at home methods of induction might help get the childbirth party started. As long as you enter with the mindset that none of these approaches have a guaranteed success rate, you won't be setting yourself up for huge disappointment if a taco is just dinner and not an induction miracle.