If your due date has passed, chances are you're getting impatient to meet your baby and carry it in your arms rather than your belly. Pregnancy can tire you out, especially after waiting 40 weeks for the big moment. You might be ready with your bag and your birth plan, and are waiting for your first contraction, but you don't feel a twinge.
Well, your baby is going to take its own time, but you may want to give your body a slight nudge to get things going. First things first, check if your doctor is okay with this. Once you get the green signal from them, you might want to read this article and do your own research on natural ways to bring on labor. You should know beforehand that most of these do-it-yourself methods of speeding up your entry into the delivery room are not backed by medical proof. However, women all over the world have tried some of these tricks and they could possibly work for you, too. Make sure you don't try any of these until you're passed the 39-week mark, as the baby needs to stay inside the womb until then for it be healthy. Once you pass your due date, you could try one or a combination of the below and see what works best for your body.
15 Go Bouncing into Labor
Bouncing on a birthing ball can help the baby move down to the pelvis and in the position for labor. Try spreading your legs and moving up and down to nudge your baby towards the birth canal.
14 Dance to Your Favorite Music
This is a great way to get things moving for your baby's descent. When you sway your hips, it will help the baby move into the pelvis. Don't overdo it, though, as you'll need to save the energy for later.
13 Dates Are Your Friends
Dates are known to help with cervical dilation. It is generally advised to have up to six dates every day in the run up to your due date. Some people also believe that eating dates give you a shorter labor. Plus, they are a delicious, nutrition-filled snack.
12 Visualization Wonders
Imagine your baby moving down, preparing itself for birth. You can also record yourself talking about your baby's approaching birth. Many women swear by this technique.
11 Go Bananas With Bananas
Potassium helps with muscle contractions and bananas are a great source of it. Take them in moderation, though, and check with your doctor before taking any potassium supplements.
10 Walk Your Way to Labor
Walking is one of the best exercises, even during pregnancy. This simple act can help your baby find its way into your pelvis due to the movement of your hips and gravity. Once the baby is drawn to the pelvis, the pressure there is likely to prepare the cervix for labor. If you have felt some contractions already, it will help labor to progress. Walking will also keep you in shape, without causing any harm. Just remember not to tire yourself out by walking too much as you're sure to need all the energy you can muster on your delivery day.
9 Trick Your Body to Release Oxytocin
Nipple stimulation is one of the methods used by women to induce labor. In this method, you massage your nipples and areola with a rubbing motion that simulates a baby's sucking. This, in turn, may cause the release of the oxytocin hormone that brings contractions to the body and initiates labor. Having sex to induce labor is also recommended for the same reasons. Although both ideas sound safe, it is suggested that you inform your practitioner before trying nipple stimulation or having sex so that they can advise you and monitor the stimulation if required.
8 Check with Your OB/GYN for Membrane Stripping
During a pelvic examination, your doctor can try membrane stripping with the intention to bring on labor. This is done by separating the amniotic sac from the wall of the uterus, which releases hormones that cause the uterus to begin contracting. Although this sounds complicated, it could actually bring you relief. However, this is definitely not something to be tried at home. Your doctor can manipulate the cervix by dilating it manually to cause the release of prostaglandins. If you're keen to induce labor, you can check with your doctor or midwife if this is an option to go for in your case.
7 Apply the Art of Acupressure
Acupressure is an age-old practice that involves applying pressure on specific points of your body to stimulate activity in the uterus. Acupressure does not use needles; the specialists use their fingertips to stimulate the pressure points. Once you are aware of the points that are known to induce labor, you can use your own fingertips or that of your partner's to apply pressure. Two major pressure points that are likely to induce labor naturally are the webbing between your index finger and thumb, and the inner side of your leg near the ankle, about four fingers above the bone. Like most other natural ways of inducing labor, it is important to discuss this one with your doctor before you proceed using it.
6 Climb Your Way to Your Baby
Although not advisable in the first trimester, stair climbing in the late stages of your pregnancy can help induce labor in a way similar to walking. Your baby's head is likely to drop lower and add extra pressure on your cervix when you walk the stairs. It is also suggested to take bigger steps so that you lift your legs higher. This position helps put further pressure on your cervix than ordinary walking.
5 Pineapples Could Pave Your Way to Labor
This is a tricky one as there are a number of herbs available on the market which claim to induce labor and a lot of material on the Internet supporting these and other such foods. You need to be very careful in what you choose so as to stay away from any ugly side effects. Although there is no scientific proof to support the direct cause and effect relation, there are some foods which have properties that can help to bring labor. Try having pineapples, as they contain bromelain, an enzyme that can potentially help ripen the cervix without causing you any harm. You can also try food containing basil and ginger to give your body the nudge it needs to move to labor.
4 Pamper Yourself With a Warm Bath
You wouldn't need an incentive for this one; labor inducing or not, it is sure to give you a lot of relaxation and pleasure. Soaking in a warm bath has two-fold benefits. The first is that it relieves you of the stress that might be keeping you from going into labor. Getting your mind off the fact that you're still pregnant can be very helpful. Secondly, a warm bath can soften your cervix and help your body prepare itself for labor.
3 Acupuncture Might Be the Answer
Acupuncture is the science of inserting thin needles into specific points of your body to apply pressure. This can stimulate activity in the uterus and nudge the baby to move down. This cannot be practiced by yourself at home, though, and you should visit an acupuncturist only after consulting your doctor. Most die-hard supporters of this technique and experts swear by its success to induce labor naturally, provided the baby is ready to make its grand entrance. If you're getting impatient, it might be worth spending money on an acupuncture session. Even if it doesn't help, it will not have any side effects.
2 Go for a Massage
A body massage is another way of raising the levels of oxytocin in your body for bringing on labor contractions. When an expectant mom is overdue, massage therapists swear by their ability to jumpstart labor. Massages tend to relax you. When you are warm and cozy, you are more likely to release oxytocin. Even if you're not into massages, you can meditate by yourself and cuddle with your partner to relax and get the hormone levels pumping. Concentrate your efforts on a stress-relieving activity instead of one that directly triggers labor. If nothing else, you will find yourself awaiting the most important time of your life with a relaxed frame of mind.
1 Have Intercourse If You're In Good Health
This is perhaps the best and most fun method of inducing labor naturally. Your doctor is more likely to endorse this one if you are in good health. If you can manage to have intercourse at this stage of your pregnancy, your partner will be thrilled, you might bring on the much-awaited contractions and it certainly won't harm anything. Intercourse can encourage labor in two ways. The human semen that contains prostaglandins can help ripen the cervix. Secondly, the nipple stimulation and orgasm can cause your uterus to contract. Even if these contractions are not strong enough to bring labor, you will enjoy the process and it will take your mind off your pregnancy for a while.
The best thing you can do while you wait for your baby is to relax. Use the time at the end of your pregnancy to pamper and spoil yourself rotten. Make the most of your time before your baby arrives, make it memorable for yourself and your partner. While you may try some of these methods, the reality is that most babies will come only when they are ready to do so. Get comfortable and get a good night's sleep every day. Listen to your body, don't overdo anything at this point. You can prop up your head on extra pillows to control heartburn, or prop a pillow between your knees to get relief from backaches. Soak your feet in warm water, and get your partner to rub a nice lotion on them later if you feel like. Keep reminding yourself that this is a temporary situation and stay positive. Boost your attitude with upbeat affirmations. Do your part by keeping your doctor appointments, taking great care of yourself, and allowing nature to take its course.