When your due date rolls around and your little one is showing no signs of vacating his cozy home, you start to wonder about moving things along. Friends and late-night internet searches claim that spicy food, sex, and exercise — in whatever form that means to you when you can’t see your toes — might help get things going. But you worry, is it safe to induce labor at home?
"Labor induction is generally not recommended at home," Dr. Nicole Scott, an OB-GYN at Indiana University Health, tells Romper in an email interview. "Labor induction should always be for a reason — either a medical issue like high blood pressure, preeclampsia or diabetes, or if a woman has gone past her due date."
Scott explains that certain conditions, like those mentioned above, put the baby at risk for distress, and for that reason, labor induction is generally done at the hospital. And even then, she says, medical labor inductions run the risk of overstimulating the uterus "and causing very frequent contractions which can put baby at risk." That’s why she always advises that inductions are discussed with your doctor.
In addition to the aforementioned methods, other popular tricks for inducing labor at home include taking evening primrose oil, nipple stimulation, and acupuncture, according to Fit Pregnancy. Some women have even been known to break out their dance moves.
Regardless of whether it’s impatience or just being ultra uncomfortable that makes you want to get the labor train moving, keep in mind that going past your due date is common and doctors have a protocol in place if that should happen.
"There are some methods to help the process along that do not increase risk," says Scott. "The most common is membrane stripping, which is done by an OB provider. Intercourse has also been shown to decrease the need for induction."
And if making room for one more thing in there has you feeling all kinds of uncomfortable, then I hear flying solo works, too.