Today, Leigh Ann, from Intentional by Grace is back–posting on 7 ways to naturally induce labor! Be sure to check out her earlier post on birthing at a birth center and her post yesterday about why she chose not to induce labor.
photo by Lillian Prince Photography
Yesterday, I shared with you why we chose not to schedule an induction with our first child. However, because I was in first stage labor almost non-stop for a week, and was 90% effaced and 4 cm dilated at 39 weeks, we were ready to bring our baby into the world. It seemed to us that our baby was ready, and walking was getting even more difficult with a … well, baby dropping. Therefore, we opted to try a few natural ways to speed up my laboring process. Bring on second stage labor!
For others, it may be that your baby is incubating with no signs of being ready to leave his or her nest. By around the 40-42 week mark, some doctors and midwives will give the go ahead to encourage labor to begin. Of course, you will need to follow the guidance of your medical care and use your common sense before trying to naturally induce labor. But in case you get to this point, then I want to share with you some of the ways we used to encourage my labor to progress a little more quickly, as well as ways you can encourage labor to begin without the use of Pitocin.
7 Ways to Naturally Induce Labor
Tropical fruits like pineapple, mango and papaya contain a proteolytic enzyme called bromelain. This enzyme is said to help soften the cervix, stimulate muscle contractions, and for shortening labor (source). Pineapple has been used for years for other medicinal purposes as well. Eating large amount of fresh pineapple can also kick start your digestive system, which is also said to be a way to kick start labor. Not to mention, it just tastes really good.
2. Shake your groove thang.
Dancing is a great way to get moving and encourage your baby’s descent. The swaying of your hips will help the baby to move down into your pelvis, but don’t pole dance. That could be a little much for your loose tendons and joints. My husband and sister cranked up the dance music when I could no longer sit still and get comfortable. They danced and had me bouncing to the rhythm of the beat the night I finally went into full blown labor. You know, our son has serious rhythm to this day. He came out dancing! Plus, we had a lot of fun and created a memory that none of us will ever forget. If dancing is a bit much, feel free to just walk around the block or hike up and down the stairs (source).
3. Raspberry Leaf Tea.
Raspberry Leaf Tea is said to help tone the cervix and strengthen our entire pelvic region. Raspberry Leaf Tea may not help induce labor directly, but it should play a key part in your overall birth plan. It is full of vitamins and minerals that are essential to the health of your uterus, and drinking a double brew of this tea can certainly help move you along in the labor process and aid in recovery (source).
4. Nipple Stimulation.
Stimulating your nipples can help release natural oxytocin hormones thus causing the uterus to contract. You will want to stimulate your nipples for several minutes at a time for this to be effective. You can do this through your shirt or bra. It is not necessary to do this directly unless you so desire. I am convinced this was the single most effective strategy at encouraging my labor to progress. For some, stimulating your nipples is uncomfortable (me even saying it might make you blush), but this is truly an effective natural way to induce labor (source).
Acupressure fascinates me. Being able to use pressure points to heal various ailments is amazing. There are also pressure points to help induce labor. The one I used was the thumb to the roof of my mouth. I just pressed for several minutes at a time off and on throughout the night. However, there are several other pressure points all over your body that could help induce labor as well as relieve labor discomfort. See this post for more information.
6. Shut the bedroom door.
We’ve all heard that having sex can help induce labor. It is said that the sperm will help soften the cervix thus allowing labor to begin. Not to mention, you can throw in several other labor inducing techniques (see #1, #2 and #4 for ideas) (source).
7. Castor Oil.
Castor oil should only be considered if you are overdue and as a last resort*. When taking the recommended dosage to induce labor, it can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea thus rendering you dehydrated and exhausted, which is not good for a laboring mama. However, it is effective and if it was between this and Pitocin, I would probably at least give castor oil a try. But like I said yesterday, it is your choice to make (source).
What natural ways to induce labor would you add to this list?
Note from Erin: I agree with Leigh Ann on the castor oil. I would only use it as a last resort. I have heard some horror stories about women taking castor oil! Neither Leigh Ann nor myself are pregnancy or birthing experts. We simply write from personal experience and personal research. Please consult your trusted health professional before making any decisions regarding pregnancy or birthing.
Check out these 9 more ways to naturally induce labor!
This is how I personally avoided a labor induction at 42 weeks pregnant!
Check out the other posts in this series:
- 5 Simple Tips for Combating Morning Sickness
- Reflections on my First Pregnancy
- 10 Reasons We Opted to Give Birth at a Birth Center
- Easing Leg Pain During Pregnancy
- Pregnancy Posts Around the Web
- A Tale of Two Births: Medicated vs. Natural Hospital Births, part 2
- A Tale of Two Births: Medicated vs. Natural Hospital Births, part 1
- How to Achieve a Natural Birth in a Hospital Setting
- Real Food Pregnancy Cheats/Shortcuts
- OB or Midwife: Finding the Birth Provider Who Works for You
- A Comparison of Birth Settings: Home, Hospital and Birth Center
- Resources for a Natural Pregnancy
- 10 Things Never to Say to Pregnant Women
- What Every Pregnant Woman Wants to Hear
- Hyperemesis Gravidarum: Much More than Severe Morning Sickness
- Pregnancy Posts Around the Web, Take 2
- Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy
- Breastfeeding While Pregnant
- Preparing for a Water Birth
- The Importance of Using a Doula
- A Sample Hospital Birth Plan
- Why We Chose NOT to Induce Labor