Is it time for baby to come? It’s possible to naturally induce labor without having to use Pitocin! This post explores 7 different methods that can help bring on labor. If you are looking to induce labor naturally, this is the post to read!
Guest post by Leigh Ann of Intentional by Grace
Previously, 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 doctor or midwife 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 shorten 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. Dancing or exercise can help.
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). Here’s how to make your own!
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 (or 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*
Note from Erin: I do NOT recommend castor oil. It’s very controversial and can cause intense intestinal cramping. It is included here because people talk about it, so I want to give you that information. Evening Primrose Oil is another one that can be slightly controversial because it is said to ripen the cervix and should be taken with care.
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. It’s your choice to make. Here’s what other moms have said about using castor oil.
What natural ways to induce labor would you add to this list?
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*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!