15 Ways To Get Labor Started (And 5 That Doctors Don't Recommend)

They say that pregnancy only lasts 9-months, but if those who say that have ever actually been pregnant, they would know that it feels like it lasts an eternity. Pregnancy is such a confusing time. It is a time filled with joy and excitement, but it is also full of anxiety and a whole lot of waiting. It seems like it takes forever to pass, but when it is all over it will only seem like a blip on the radar.

The truth is, pregnancy can end up being a lot longer than 9-months. 40 weeks is the “normal” gestational length, but babies have their own schedule and they come when they are ready. This means that mom-to-be could have her baby earlier, or the baby could decide they are nice and cozy and stay in for just a little bit longer.

Mom-to-be will start to get tired, sore and frustrated and she will start frantically searching for anything to put her out of her misery, we mean, pregnancy. There are many options available for a woman who is looking to naturally induce her labour. The jury may still be out on whether any of these actually work, but there are 15 that are harmless to try. Then there are 5 that no doctor will ever recommend because it could be dangerous to mom and her baby.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

20 Get A Work Out In

Exercise is something that is a bit controversial when it comes to pregnancy. It should always be cleared by your doctor before you decide to get a work-out in. However, the general consensus is that whatever level of fitness you were doing before pregnancy is completely fine to continue as long as mom-to-be is comfortable.

Exercise is a great way to try and get labour started because it has multiple benefits, even if it doesn’t work. Anything that gets your heart rate going a bit may trigger labour. Being close to mom’s due date, she may not want to do anything too strenuous. If it doesn’t start labour it is still a great way to relieve stress and get your body ready for labour.

19 Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an old practice and it is used for many different reasons. Some use it to relieve stress or physical discomfort, and they have great results. It is also another way to start labour. We can’t stress enough how important it is to run everything you are thinking of trying by your doctor to make sure it is safe.

Acupuncture, when done to try and induce labour, is done in a way that helps to release the oxytocin hormone in the body, which can start labour. A study was done in Denmark on women who were pregnant and wanted to try acupuncture to induce labour. They studied more than 400 different women and while it didn’t necessarily induce labour, it did drastically reduce the number of medical inductions.

18 Acupressure

Acupressure works almost similar to acupuncture, except instead of placing small needles in specific areas, they apply pressure. This pressure is said to let the body respond in certain ways. Some women decide to try this in an attempt to start labour. Some things may seem extreme but a very pregnant woman in a lot of discomfort will be willing to try anything.

The good thing about this method is that mom can do it at home. It is important that she gets direction from a trained and licensed acupressure specialist to make sure she is doing it correctly. If it doesn’t start labour, it is still a great way to relieve pain and discomfort in the body. It is a win-win situation.

17 Membrane Work

This is one method that should only be done by a trained medical professional, but it is one of the ones that is almost always guaranteed to work. A membrane strip is something an OB or midwife will do for a woman who is past her due date. It is the most naturally medical way of inducing labour.

This is done by the doctor using their hands to try and separate, or stimulate, the uterus away from the cervix. This procedure, which is uncomfortable but painless, is normally enough to trigger labour. The action can release hormones called prostaglandins which is the hormone that triggers labour to start. Some women have this done and go into labour later that day or just a few days later.

16 Spicy Foods!

Some of these methods are more like old wife’s tales than anything, but if they do no harm than there is nothing wrong with trying them. One of the most common methods is to eat spicy food. Women all over the world who are tired of being pregnant will attempt to eat some of the hottest foods possible in order to try and get something happening.

There have been no medical studies that prove that this actually works, and it actually is not really recommended if spicy food is not already part of your normal diet. Remember, the baby eats what you eat, and spicy food can change the taste of the amniotic fluid which the baby may not like.

15 Raspberry Tea

There seems to always be a tea for everything, teas that claim to help you sleep, relieve stomach pain and even headaches. Well, it turns out that there is one that claims it can induce labour. Red raspberry leaf tea is one of those teas that women are told to drink if they want to start labour. Again, it is not something that has been scientifically proven, but it is not something that will hurt you to try.

This tea is also known to strengthen and tone your uterus in preparation for labour. If it doesn’t work to induce labour, at least mom knows she is staying nice and hydrated. Another situation that is a win-win.

14 Walk!

Walking is one of the best ways to try and induce labour, and it is also one of the healthiest activities a mom-to-be can do at any point in her pregnancy. Walking involves a rhythmic rocking of the hips, which can help put the baby to sleep but can also help move the baby. It can help move the baby down the birth canal and get into the proper position.

When the baby moves further into the birth canal, their head will start putting pressure on the cervix. This pressure can be enough to break mom’s water or trigger the body to go into labour. If it doesn’t work, mom gets a good dose of exercise in. Walking is one of labour inducing techniques that is doctor recommended and encouraged.

13 Relax

Sometimes, the easiest things are the things that are going to work the best and sometimes the best thing mom can do is try and bring on labour is to just relax. It is a lot easier said than done, as mom’s nerves are probably on high alert with her due date inching closer. She is anxious about delivery as well as being a new mom to a little baby, but she still wants the baby to come.

Mom should learn some relaxation techniques that will help her, and one of the biggest things she can is to just breathe. Practising good breathing will help her relax as well as give her some good practice for when she needs to actively breathe to get through contractions during labour.

12 Bananas?

A lot of the methods to induce labour involve eating or drinking something, and as long as this substance isn’t harmful, we are all for it. Bananas are said to help induce labour, and whether or not they do, they are still a delicious and healthy snack for mom to be eating. The reason they are said to help induce labour is that they are a great source of potassium.

Potassium is a crucial part in helping muscles contract, and they can help the uterus to start contracting or build it up to do a great job when labour actually starts. Potassium deficiency can actually delay labour, just make sure to eat bananas in moderation as you do not want too much in your system. This is also why you should avoid potassium supplements.

11 Climb Those Stairs

Similar to walking, climbing stairs is a great way to help labour get started. Climbing stairs involves a lot of hip action, which we already know can help move the baby down the birth canal. Mom will want to be careful when climbing stairs as her center of gravity is off, which can make her more prone to falls and accidents. It is always a good idea to make sure you have someone with you when you do this.

Another great technique is something called ‘curb walking.’ Curb walking is when mom walks on the side of a road (not a busy one) and walks with one foot on the ground and the other foot on the curb, which will give her a little hop in her step. This will also help move that baby.

10 Bouncing

Large yoga balls are not just for fun, they can also be very useful. A lot of moms utilize one of these exercise balls when in labour, but it can actually help induce labour as well. There are various types of ball exercises that mom can do to help turn her baby and get them to move down the birth canal.

Midwives and doulas have been using these techniques for years now to help the baby move into the correct position. Since a lot of women are choosing to go the midwife/doula route when it comes to professional care during labour, this has become more popular as well. Just make sure to be careful and not get too carried away while bouncing.

9 Visualization Techniques

Visualization techniques are probably the most harmless activity mom can do when she wants to induce labour. It may seem silly to some, but a woman who has been pregnant past her due date, she will be willing to try this. It is quite simple. All mom needs to do is find a quiet and calm place and close her eyes. Then she needs to visualize her cervix opening and going into labour.

This technique may work because it also helps mom relax and focus on her breathing, two other essential tricks to try. It is important to note that even though mom may be uncomfortable, it is not recommended to try and induce labour too early. Mom should wait until her due date has passed before attempting anything.

8 Yoga

Yoga is one of the most beneficial exercises that a woman can do when she is pregnant. She needs to make sure is taking a prenatal specific yoga class to make sure it is safe for her and her baby. The special thing about prenatal yoga is they have different poses and exercises for each stage of labour. They know what your body can do and adjust the class to fit where you are in the pregnancy.

When you get closer to your due date, they will have you do a lot of different poses and exercises that mom can do to try and induce labour as well as get her body ready for the battle ahead. They also may help get the baby into position.

7 Dates (The Food Kind)

Dates a fruit that can be eaten many different ways and they are another way mom can try and get her body to kick-in to labour. This is also one of the very few methods that have been shown to have some effect on whether labour will start or not. Mom would have to eat 6 dates a day for a few days before labour may start. Again, mom should not start this until her due date has passed.

Dates have been shown to help induce labour, help with dilation and help mom have a shorter labour. Some women are in labour for days, so anything that can help speed up the process is a miracle. Dates are also delicious and healthy, so it is a great snack for mom.

6 Rock The Hips

There is a reason why you see a lot of videos on the internet of way-too-pregnant women dancing and then their water breaks because getting those hips moving can help induce labour. Having a good dance party is a great way to relieve some stress, have fun (especially if there are siblings at home) and start labour.

This again all comes down to the fact that you want to get that baby moving. You want to help them move down into the birth canal, so they can hopefully trigger the body to go into labour. Keep on dancing once labour starts to help speed the process along and ease any contraction pain.

5 Doctors Say No To Castor Oil!

Now we are going to move on to the things that doctors are telling women not to do. These actions can be dangerous and can cause a lot more harm than good. Castor oil is a substance that has been used for years when women are trying to get labour started. My own mother did it, and thankfully nothing bad happened, but that is not the case for all.

Castor oil can help contractions come, but it is used to get the system moving and to flush out any toxins. This can affect the baby, and it can cause them to go to the bathroom while they are still in the womb and ingesting some of the substance. This can be very dangerous and harmful to a little baby.

4 Doctors Say No To Checking Yourself

When a woman nears the end of her pregnancy, she is always dying to know if she is dilated at all. Women can start to dilate early and stay there for a long time before labour actually starts, so it doesn’t necessarily mean anything medically. It can be very frustrating for a lot of women. Sometimes, when the doctor checks the cervix, they can trigger labour to start.

This makes a lot of women want to attempt to check their own cervix at home, both to see how dilated they are as well as to try and start labour. Doctors warn against that. Checking a cervix is something that should only be done by a trained professional and if not done correctly could introduce a lot of bacteria, which could be dangerous.

3 Doctors Say No To Stimulation

One method that always seems to work is stimulation. If a woman stimulates a certain part of her body, it is said to cause contractions to start happening. This is linked to the stimulation causing the body to start producing breastmilk, which can trigger labour in order to feed the baby.

While this method may work, it can also cause labour to be more difficult. It can cause the uterus to contract a lot stronger, meaning the contractions will be more painful. While we may want labour to start, we also want to make it as comfortable as we possibly can. We definitely don’t want to be doing anything that may make it worse.

2 Doctors Say No To Steaming

This one is a weird one and one that is not heard of very often and that is probably because we should not be doing it to try and induce labour. This method is called the coffee potty method, and if it sounds weird that’s because it is. This involves placing hot water in a bowl of coffee grounds and squatting over top of it. Letting the steam rise.

This should not be done for very obvious reasons. It is recommended not to introduce anything to that part of the body when pregnant because it can introduce harmful bacteria and substances. If a woman is near her due date, chances are her mucous plug is starting to wear away. This plug is the only thing that helps to keep bacteria away from your baby.

1 Doctors Say No To Black Cohosh!

Chances are many may not know what black cohosh is, and we should keep it that way because it should never be used to start labour. Black cohosh is an herb, and it was often used centuries ago to help induce labour. However, there is often a reason why we no longer hear about or use these methods and that is because the advancement of medical technology has told us it is dangerous.

Black cohosh has been linked to excessive bleeding while in labour, and the need for transfusions. Childbirth is already one of the riskiest things a woman will go through in her life without adding anything else that could increase the risk. Babies will always come when they are ready.

References: healthline.com, wehavekids.com,

More in Pregnancy