For years, women have been trying all sorts of methods to jumpstart labor. Especially in the final weeks of pregnancy, things begin getting uncomfortable. So, it’s not uncommon for the mom-to-be to become desperate to get the baby out of her as soon as possible. There are a variety of tips and tricks that parents and experts alike swear will help get the ball rolling.
Some of these methods are as simple as brewing the mom a pot of specialty tea or kicking things up a notch in the bedroom. Others are more complicated and even expensive, like trying acupuncture or a stretch and sweep at the doctor’s office. If one thing is for sure, these methods all have mixed results. Some of them have quickly worked for pregnant mothers, while other times a mom-to-be swear she’s tried everything in the book and the baby just isn’t coming. Likewise, many times the scientific research behind these methods vary, showing that sometimes they’re successful while other times they’re not.
What is extremely important is that a pregnant woman consult her doctor before trying any of these methods. They all carry varying risks, especially if the mom-to-be has or has had pregnancy complications or health problems. Sometimes, all she can do is simply wait for nature to take it’s course- or until her doctor recommends that she be induced!
Women use primrose oil for all sorts of reasons, including to combat premenstrual syndrome, breast tenderness, menopause symptoms, and endometriosis. It’s also been proven to have positive benefits for pregnant women, including to help combat high-blood pressure and shorten labour. It’s perhaps most commonly used to try and jumpstart labour.
“This herb can help the cervix thin and dilate and prep it for labor,” What to Expect explains. The site recommends taking the oil in capsule form or by rubbing it directly on the baby belly at last two weeks before delivery. Similarly, herbs like black cohosh have also been used to induce labor, though their safety hasn’t been scientifically confirmed.
If you’re really getting desperate to get the baby out as soon as possible, consider giving your acupuncturist a visit. Acupuncture is a medical technique originating from China that uses needles to prick the skin, which in turn can help reduce physical pain and treat a variety of conditions. As such, it may help stimulate uterine activity. “It naturally preps the mom and baby for the birthing process by relaxing the nervous system and reducing stress and anxiety, while stimulating hormone release and uterine contractions,” La Jolla Mom explains. Be warned that acupuncture can’t for-sure kickstart labour. Considering it can be an expensive option, the mom-to-be should weigh all of her options first.
If you’re a tea drinker, then you’ll love this suggestion. For years, pregnant women have been drinking raspberry leaf tea to get labour going. The herb is known to be a uterine tonic, thus strengthening the uterine muscles and stimulating contractions. It’s recommended to drink there to twelve cups of this beverage daily in the final weeks of pregnancy to get things moving. “One study did find that women who drank the tea regularly towards the end of their pregnancies had a shorter second, pushing stage of labour than those who didn't,” Baby Center explains of this method. However, the site warns that women who’ve previously had a C-section or pre-term labour, those who are expecting twins, and women with high blood pressure shouldn’t try this method. Consult your doctor beforehand.
Any moms-to-be who love spicy food will love this hack, whether or not it stimulates labor. It’s long been said that eating spicy food can speed up the delivery process. This is because it can irritate your intestines, thus causing the uterus to contract. Additionally, some sources say that spicy foods can cause the body to secrete a particular hormone that can get the body read for labour. “Hot meals might also stimulate the production of prostaglandin, a hormone that helps contract the smooth muscles of the body that is known to play a role in inducing labor,” Pregnancy Magazine reveals. However, there is no concrete scientific evidence linking labour to spicy foods, so there’s no guarantee that this will work.
Some experts recommend exercising if you want to get the baby out pronto as it increases your heart rate, which can then stimulate labour. Anything from going for a brisk walk to having your own private dance party can get the baby moving. Not only will exercising throughout pregnancy also ensure mom and baby remain healthy, it can also help her body prepare for the difficult tasks that lies ahead- pushing the baby out. “Getting regular exercise during pregnancy will help you handle the physical demands of labour and delivery,” Health Link BC recommends. “Try adding Kegel exercises to your daily routine.”
Castor oil, which is derived from the seeds of the Ricinus communis plant, famously has a variety of medicinal properties. It’s been used to treat gastrointestinal problems, internal inflammation, and even skin conditions, Health Line reports. Since it acts as a laxative, it’s also been used to simulate labour. The castor oil causes spasms in the intestines, which then stimulates the bowls. In pregnant women, this will irritate the uterus and start contractions. However, if a woman isn’t far enough along to go into labour, castor oil may only cause diarrhea. So, tread with caution and consult your doctor before taking it.
If the mom-to-be is getting really desperate to get the baby out, she may want to consider membrane stripping. This method is more medical and uncomfortable than other options on this list, but it may prove the most effective.
“Though the procedure is done in the office, there are no medications involved,” Health Line explains. “Your doctor will use a gloved finger to separate the amniotic sac from the area around the cervix.” In turn, this method may release hormones called prostaglandins, which can stimulate labour. It is common to experience cramping and spotting after this procedure.
Perhaps one of the most relaxing recommendations on this list is to go for a massage. Even if it doesn’t stimulate labour, you’ll love how relaxed and stress-free you’ll feel afterwards. A massage can help with the secretion of certain hormones that, in turn, get the body ready to deliver. “Studies show that a massage can raise your body's level of oxytocin, that hormone that can bring on labor contractions,” What to Expect explains. The site says that even just cuddling with your partner can help relax the body, which can help increase levels of oxytocin. “It's no coincidence that the majority of labors start late at night, when an expectant mom is warm and cozy in bed — a state that triggers the release of oxytocin,” they explain.
Acupressure, also known as shiatsu, is a technique where pressure is applied to a specific point in the body. It uses the same pressure points as acupuncture, except it forgoes the needles- which could be a huge plus to many expectant moms. “There are certain pressure points on your back, inner ankle and the webbing between your thumb and index finger that can trigger contractions,” Care.com writes. “Apply pressure to these areas for two to five minutes, repeating every 15 minutes until contractions are strong and regular.” While you can visit an acupressure professional, it’s also easy to learn which points to press with a bit of online research.
This might be the most fun recommendation on this list. Research has proven that getting busy in the bedroom can increase the likelihood that a woman’s water might break. It’s not only because this activity can stimulate her heart rate, just like exercise will. In fact, there’s even more science behind it. “Sperm contains prostaglandins — hormones that can help thin and dilate the cervix, ripening it for delivery,” What To Expect explains. At the very least, a bit of bedroom fun can help relieve stress and tension, even if it doesn’t prompt the baby to come immediately. However, don’t get busy once mom’s water has broken, as that can increase the chances of yeast infection.