When you feel done being pregnant or your provider is threatening induction, there are some ways you can help give your body a nudge in the right direction.
If that doesn’t work, you can try chiropractic, acupuncture, homeopathy, herbs, or hypnotherapy.
If you’re down the wire and facing a medical induction at the hospital, make sure you learn about your options. There’s more than one way to get labor going, and some ways are more forceful, more effective, or more comfortable. Find out more about them and share details about all these options using the labor induction handout pdf.
If you’re facing medical induction, ask lots of questions. Here are some:
“Is my baby ok?”
“What happens if we wait [one day/one week]?”
“Are there any other options?”
Meanwhile, here are tips for inducing labor naturally at home that don’t cost anything! (Ok, you do have to buy dates or essential oils, but they’re cheap!
Eat 6 date fruits each day starting at 36 weeks. This study showed that women eating dates were more likely to go into labor on their own, be more dilated when they arrived at their birthplace, and have shorter labors.
Have regular sexual intercourse, especially toward the end of pregnancy. Perhaps I can put it in a more sexy way: The prostaglandins in semen break down the collagen in your cervix, causing it to soften or ‘ripen.’ Get some semen on that cervix! No, apparently I can’t sexify it for you, sorry. Remember: NO SEX if your water is broken!
Have daily orgasms. Can’t hurt, for sure. But wait! There’s science! In order to go into labor, you need to be producing plenty of oxytocin–the hormone of love, sex, empathy, breastfeeding and…wait for it…contractions. Both the uterine contractions that bring the baby, and the pelvic contractions that bring the heat. So if you can orgasm, you can produce the oxytocin to birth a baby.
Exercise daily. Get that heart rate going and that booty shaking. Squats and stair climbing are both excellent, as is taking a good old walk in fresh air. But feel free to get creative and dance–maybe a few shimmies.
Bellydance. Do some pelvic circling, hip circles, hula hooping. I especially recommend the cervix spiral, as taught by Maha al Musa in Dance of the Womb. Imagine your vagina is holding a pencil and drawing the tightest spiral you can on the floor. Then trace it backwards.
Nipple Stimulation for the win. Brings on the oxytocin in a big way. You can do this, a breastpump can do this, or your partner can do it. Early on you can do it for fun and for a little push toward labor. When an induction is looming, you should be more business-like about it and do it more. It really works. So be careful. Rub/massage your areola for about five minutes, wait 15. If nothing happens, go again for a bit longer. Stop when a contraction starts and start up again when you want to bring more contractions. Don’t do it for reals until you are at term, and keep in contact with your care provider about it.
Try stimulating pressure points or reflexology points. Press the center of each thumb for a minute. Rub the webbing between your thumb and index finger. There are a few around the ankles as well. Here is more about acupressure to induce labor.
Smell and use essential oils on reflex points. Clary Sage is a uterine tonic and can bring on contractions. In fact, you’re not supposed to use it until you are at term and it is safe to go into labor.
Think positively and feel ready. You can birth this baby. Stress, anxiety, worry, or fear will inhibit your body’s production of oxytocin and could prevent the “all clear” signal from being sent to send baby out. If you are in fight or flight, your body won’t stop you to have a baby. Adrenaline is the chemical enemy of oxytocin. You are trying to keep yourself and your baby safe. Just like the gazelle who can suck a partially born baby back in when a lion appears on the horizon. Your body listens to your mind. Tell your baby it’s OK to come out now, and believe it.
Indulge in an old wives tale. Some of those old wives knew a thing or two. Choose your own adventure: spicy food, bumpy car rides, pineapple, bouncing on the trampoline (gently) or an exercise ball.
Get all this information and more, neatly laid out for your clients in an induction guide handout. Print it as a poster, laminate it for prenatal appointments, or copy them to handout in childbirth classes! Print it as many times as you’d like.