It's easy to buy into the magic of pregnancy when you experience some of those cool "firsts." The first time you hear the heartbeat or feel the baby kick are super special, but by the time all that stuff has passed and you're rounding the third trimester, you may feel more like sliding into home plate than taking a leisurely stroll to get there. Being at the end of your pregnancy can start to drag on, so you may start to wonder how to induce labor naturally at 37 weeks, since that is when doctors consider it safe for most women to deliver.
There are some safe ways to accomplish this, but you'll always want to check in with your doctor or midwife before swallowing a mixture of anything promising to get the labor party started. Although some methods are dismissed as old wives tales, many women claim that they have had success with at home induction — so as long as you're cleared by your health care provider, why not give it a shot? Although there is still no method that has been proven successful for every woman, all these ideas are safe and worth a shot if you just can't take being pregnant for one more day.
Down The Hatch
If a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down, you may want to grab a whole bag of Dixie Crystals. One of the oldest suggestions for natural labor induction is eating or drinking certain foods and oils thought to bring on the labor process.
For example, someone may have recommended you douse your dinner in hot sauce since spicy foods are believed to stimulate contractions. But according to Parenting magazine, even though foods that tax your digestive system could lead to irregular uterine contractions, they are more likely to "cause heartburn than labor." They key word here is could, which means there is a possibility (if you can handle the heat).
If you're not down to set your mouth on fire, you can always take a swig of castor oil. But be warned, every attempt comes with a price. As Very Well reported, some mothers and practitioners swear castor oil encourages labor, while others feel it's not a safe choice for pregnant women due to side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting.
Want a method that has less possible side effects than spicy food and castor oil? Stick with the actions that got you to your current state in the first place (hint: I'm talking about sex).
You'll want to get the oxytocin flowing to set those contractions in motion. According to Mayo Clinic, once the hormone oxytocin is released, it can stimulate uterine contractions. This can be achieved with a light breast massage and gentle squeezing of the nipples. Consider it a little build-up to your next option.
Take the action down yonder and let science take over. Although research on the effectiveness of sex inducing labor, there is one detail that gives the idea credibility. "Semen contains cervix-softening fats called prostaglandins (also used in medical induction) and a woman's orgasm can lead to strong uterine contractions," according to Fit Pregnancy magazine. As long as you are up for getting it on, a little romp can't hurt.
Down, Up, Down, Up
It's probably the last thing you want to hear when 37 weeks pregnant, but getting in a workout or two could potentially set your delivery in motion. That's because walking and certain pregnancy appropriate exercises can move your baby into position to deliver. According to the website for What To Expect, walking is a great way to start labor process. While you're up and walking, gravity steps in and gives your hand lining up your baby with your pelvis.
The Bump also suggested some exercises that prime the body for labor. Can't wait to meet your baby? Add some deep squats several and gentle hip circles on a pilates ball to your day and help prepare your body to push out your baby.
Most natural labor induction methods pose little to no threat for you or your baby. Even though there are no guarantees, you just might be the one who starts contracting after chugging castor oil or having sex. You can consider that a win.