Labor is the painful eternity between feeling your first real contraction and the time you actually get to hold your new child. Understandably you’ll want it to go by as quickly as possible, and here are ten different ways that you can help speed it up naturally.
10 Hold off On Going to the Hospital
The first way to speed up your labor is to hold off on going to the hospital. During early labor your body will naturally move things along quicker is you stay home where it’s familiar and comfortable. As an added bonus, you will have multiple distractions to help you deal with the discomfort at an easy reach, so even if it takes longer than you would like you’ll have something to do.
Not sure when to head to the hospital? Call your health care provider for advice. The standard advice seems to be when your contractions are regular (3-5 minutes apart), painful, and lasting for 45-60 seconds.
9 Go for a Walk
Another way to help speed up your labor is by walking around. According to Birthing Naturally, the reason walking helps keep things moving is because it’s constantly changing the position of your pelvis with will help the baby find the best position to work her way out of your body. As an added bonus, walking around will help the time move faster since you will be less bored.
8 Change Positions
Another way for you to speed things up a bit is by changing your position. For instance, Spinning Babies recommends you try sitting on the toilet, bathtub edge or birth ball for three contractions, and then stand for three.
Speaking of changing positions, you can always try dancing like this Georgia mom. Like squatting, dancing helps your pelvis get into a better position so it can open more fully. It also helps your baby turn so he or she is facing the right way, and move through the canal.
6 Raspberry Leaf Tea
A surprising way to speed up your labor is by drinking raspberry leaf tea. You can also take a raspberry leaf capsule, but drinking the tea sounds more enjoyable. While this won’t shorten the first stage of labor, a study did find that it helped shorten the second stage.
5 Have a Bath (Or Don’t)
If you're in early labor, you’re going to want to avoid taking a bath. At this stage it will only slow down the frequency you of the contractions you’re currently having. However, if you hit the “five centimeter slump,” a bath might be just what you need to relax yourself mentally and physically.
One way to get things moving along smoothly is acupressure. There are three main acupoints that are helpful in simulating contractions, spleen-6 (about four finger-widths above the inner ankle bone, behind the leg bone), large intestine-4 (back of hand, between thumb and index finger), and gall blader-21 (on top of your shoulders).
Have someone press these points while you are breathing out, and get them to release the tension when you breathe in. As an added bonus, acupressure will also help you cope with the pain.
If going for a walk or bathing doesn’t seem active enough for you during your contractions, you can try squatting. According to Birthing Naturally the reason squatting works is that it “realigns the pelvis to increase the opening at the bottom by up to 15%.” Gravity will also work in your favour when you’re squatting, because it will help pull your baby down the birth canal. However, Birthing Naturally does point out that you should wait until you’re in the second stage of labor to do squats, or else it can actually make your labor longer.
2 Have sex
As your due date approaches, one way that may help your body get things started is by having sex. While this hasn’t actually been proven scientifically, it’s still a recommended method of inducing labor. One of the reasons is that you’ll have some contractions when you orgasm.
Also, orgasming releases oxytocin which is the hormone that causes contractions and keeps labor moving along. In addition, semen has prostaglandins, which work to soften your cervix.
1 Nipple Stimulation
Right up there with sex, is nipple stimulation. You can have all of the fun at once and get your partner to do this while you’re intimately engaged, or you can do it yourself or use a breast pump. Either way, stimulating your nipples will release oxytocin to help your contractions along.
There you have it, ten different ways that you can try and speed up your labor naturally and easily. Since some of them are certainly more enjoyable than others, you can pick and choose which ones you’d like to try based on how much fun you want to have, or how much energy you have at the moment.