There can come a point in pregnancy where mom feels totally done and is beyond ready to get the baby out. Of course, we all know that babies are born when they feel like it. Yet, if the pregnancy is full-term and the due date has come and gone, there are many ways to get labor started. We have all heard plenty of old wives tales of how to get the job done and many of them actually work.
So, what are you to do if your little bundle of joy refuses to evacuate your womb? We have compiled a list of all the different methods that have been known to induce contractions. From scientifically-backed approaches to options taken straight out of folklore, we’ve all heard plenty of old wives tales on how to get the job done.
There are several safe ways to encourage the body to prepare for labor and there are also options that are totally unsafe. While they may get things moving, you’d be smart to avoid anything that puts you or the baby at risk. Always speak with your doctor before trying any of these methods. Please enjoy this list of safe ways to get labor start (and 5 that are dangerous).
25 Get Things Going With Dad's Help
One way to induce labor is to be intimate with your partner. Granted, it’s what got you in this situation in the first place and it may be the last thing you want to do when 40 weeks pregnant. Yet, getting frisky stimulates the body and could kickstart labor.
According to the folks over at Fit Pregnancy, “Prostaglandins [chemicals that soften the cervix and initiate labor] in semen and the uterine contractions that occur with [the feeling of elation] can help,” says Peter J. Degnan, M.D.
24 Try Meditation To Kickstart Labor
Meditation and visualization are two other methods that could get labor started. It may sound like hippy dippy baloney but many women swear by it. Sometimes it just takes a mental shift to move the body into active labor. The more relaxed mom is, the easier her body can do the hard work to have the baby. So, close your eyes, take a deep breath and relax. There are many guided meditations available to help you refocus and chill out.
23 Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea To Get Contractions Going
Many midwives recommend drinking red raspberry leaf tea during the second trimester to tone the uterus for delivery. Some expectant moms choose to drink higher concentrations of the tea as their due date draws near to get contractions going.
Livestrong.com claims that it can also help with pain management. “Red raspberry tea supposedly increases the uterus' contractility and strength of uterine contractions. This is thought by some to shorten the duration of labor and improve the efficiency of uterine contractions, reducing labor discomfort.”
22 Get A Massage To Move Labor Along
There are elusive pressure points that massage therapists are taught not to perform on pregnant women because it might start labor. That begs the question, could getting a massage be a viable option for speeding up contractions?
According to Fit Pregnancy, it can help relax mom. “Massage can’t start labor, but massaging the back during a contraction can help relax and open the pelvic floor, allowing for an easier delivery,” says prenatal-massage therapist Denise Borrelli, Ph.D., a spokeswoman for the American Massage Therapists Association.
21 Going On A Bumpy Drive Won't Help
An old wive’s tale claims that going on a bumpy car ride might just induce labor. While the notion that stimulating the cervix might encourage contractions is true, this method is not only bonkers but it could be unsafe for mom and baby.
The folks over at Fit Pregnancy seem to agree. “The risks seem to far outweigh any possible benefits since there are no clear ones,” says Siobhan M. Dolan, M.D., assistant medical director of the March of Dimes.
20 A Chiropractor Could Put The Baby In The Right Position
If a baby is in the breech presentation, they are feet down in the birth canal, then it can be dangerous and possibly delay labor. So, a Webster adjustment from a chiropractor might get the baby in the correct and allow contractions to start.
The American Pregnancy Association backs this theory up, stating: “The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported in the July/August 2002 issue an 82% success rate of babies turning vertex when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique.”
19 Take A Walk To Speed Up The Process
Taking a walk is another method that many moms-to-be swear by when it comes to speeding up the process of labor. A stroll can put the right amount of pressure on the cervix, which will release oxytocin, and trigger contractions.
According to Babycenter.com: “If your baby’s head has not moved down into your pelvis (engaged), when you are at or close to your due date, walking could encourage your baby into a better position. This means labour is more likely to start on its own.”
18 Dance The Baby Out
Another method for encouraging contractions is to dance. There are several viral videos of expectant moms shaking their groove thing in the delivery room. This is probably one of the most fun ways to get things moving if labor is stalled.
The movements can wiggle the baby down into the pelvis as well as putting pressure on the cervix, which helps to release oxycontin. Not to mention that dancing is a great mood booster and help mom relax and have a little bit of fun.
17 It May Be Affective For The Doctor To Strip The Membranes
Stripping the membranes is another method that can induce labor. This is when the doc sweeps their gloved finger between the thin membranes and that amniotic sac in your uterus. The separation of the sac stimulates prostaglandins, which can bring on labor.
According to the folks over at Health Line, “A study published in the Journal of Clinical Gynecology & Obstetrics found that there don’t appear to be any increased risks for negative side effects in women undergoing membrane sweeping.”
16 Avoid Drinking Castor Oil
You may have heard that drinking castor oil can kickstart labor. While some moms report success, it seems that the risks far outweigh the benefits of this one. Castor oil is a laxative that can force the intestine to contract, which could make the uterus contract.
Whattoexpect.com sighted a study that found that every woman who took a dose of castor oil to induce labor felt nasty side effects. “While research shows that it can, in fact, bring on contractions, it also has a host of side effects, ranging from icky diarrhea to potentially dangerous dehydration.”
15 A Warm Bath Encourages Labor
Taking a warm bath is another way to relax mom and possibly induce labor. Of course, it’s important to make sure that the temperature isn’t too hot as that can put the baby at risk. Yet, there is nothing wrong with settling a luxurious bath to ripen the cervix.
It also encourages the release of oxytocin, which encourages contractions. Many expectant moms soak in the bath during labor to help ease the pain. It’s like a liquid epidural. So, don’t be afraid to step into the bath as you work through labor.
14 Smooching Can Open Things Up
A super fun way that many women swear by to start labor is to have a kissing session with your partner. Not only will it release hormones that will help you relax but smooching will also encourage your body to open up. If anything, it can at least distract mom during contractions.
Kissing will also help you and your partner feel more connected, which will cause you to relax even more. This totally sounds like a win/win option to me.
13 Bounce On A Birth Ball To Open The Pelvic Floor
Birth balls could be a great option to help the baby turn and move into the birth canal. Once your little one is in the correct position, labor will be quicker to start. So, gently bounce on the ball or gingerly rock your hips back and forth while sitting to kickstart contractions.
According to Livestrong: “Midwives and doulas have been using exercise balls for decades as a way to help speed up dilation and move the baby down into the pelvis.”
12 Stimulation Might Just Do The Trick
You could also try nipple stimulation to release Oxycotin and bring on contractions. This hormone is released during arousal, which can initiate labor. Many midwives and doctors suggest that mom focus on the areola. Some ladies use a breast pump but it would be more fun to ask your partner to help you out.
According to Health Line, stimulating the breasts may also help bring on full labor by making contractions stronger and longer. So, don’t be afraid to try this one out.
11 Don't Try Evening Primrose Oil Since It's Not Regulated
Even if you feel like you would ty just about anything to get the baby out as your due date passes, it would be smart to avoid Evening Primrose Oil. This prostaglandin can induce labor contraction and is a popular recommendation in natural birthing practices.
Regardless, it’s a risky option that comes with many risks. Evening Primrose oil and has been known to cause possible membrane ruptures and prolonged labor, when used vaginally. It may be enticing but approach with caution.
10 Eating Eggplant Might Get Things Going
Rumor has it that eating eggplant will get labor started. Any moms swear that eating eggplant parmigiana brought on contractions. According to the folks over at What To Expect: “It likely has to do with the fact that some foods, like eggplant and spicy dishes, can either irritate or stimulate the gastrointestinal system, which can sometimes trigger contractions,” says M. Christina Johnson, a certified nurse-midwife and interim director of Midwifery Practice, Education & Global Outreach at the American College of Nurse-Midwives.
9 Snack On Pineapple To Ripen The Cervix
Another popular method that is a folklore favorite to get labor going is eating pineapple. Many women claim the pineapple’s proteolytic enzyme, bromelain, is thought to aid in the ripening of the cervix. There is little evidence to support this theory but it’s totally safe.
Why not have a refreshing bite of fruit and see what happens? It might give you a much-needed energy boost as labor progresses. Just don’t eat any pineapple if you’re allergic, obviously. Otherwise, go for it.
8 Eat Spicy Foods To Stimulate Contractions
I suppose that when you’re desperate to get that baby out, you’ll try anything. Many expectant moms claim that eating spicy foods can totally induce labor. This is another one of those theories from the school of thought that stimulation of the digestive tract might just stimulate contractions as well.
Though not proven scientifically, plenty of moms have chowed down on a spicy dish and gone into labor shortly after. Other than a bit of indigestion, this one really can’t hurt you.
7 Acupuncture Might Encourage Labor Through Pressure Points
If you’re not afraid of needles, then acupuncture could be a viable method to get those contractions going. The practice carries very few risks. The folks over at Fit Pregnancy support this theory.
“Acupuncture can safely help induce labor, but get your physician’s consent first,” says Peter J. Degnan, M.D., a physician and medical acupuncturist at Equinox Health and Healing in Portsmouth, N.H. “At 40 weeks, we also often perform acupressure on the web between the thumb and index finger of both hands to stimulate uterine contractions.”
6 Jumping On A Trampoline Is Too Risky
This one may sound tempting but jumping on a trampoline to bring on labor is just dangerous. The theory is that the bouncing could help the baby wiggle into the correct birthing position. While the movement might encourage this to happen, the risks far outweigh the benefits.
If you’re determined to attempt to kickstart contractions with movement, you’d be better to bound on a birth ball or go on a vigorous walk. It would be awful if mom took a tumble and hurt herself or the baby.
5 Go For A Swim To Get Baby In The Right Position
If your baby is in the breech position, then you might want to consider spending some time in the swimming pool to flip the baby into the correct position. Once the baby is in place, labor probably won’t be too far.
According to KidsSimplified, swimming has many benefits for mom and baby. “Besides the benefit of feeling weightless when you’re 9 months pregnant and enormous, swimming has a long list of benefits for pregnant women. The alternating motion of arms and legs can assist your body into labor.”
4 Don't Be Afraid Of Pitocin
Pitocin is a synthetic version of oxytocin, the chemical the body releases to keep labor moving forward. Many women fear this medical approach because it can bring on stronger contractions and possibly give way to other interventions.
Don’t be afraid if your doctor attempts to kickstart labor with Pitocin through an IV. It can be administered at different levels and many moms are given just a few drops to get things going and then they are tapered off. Either way, this method works!
3 Consider Allowing The Doc To Break The Water
Another method that really can start labor is allowing your doctor to break your water. This technique of rupturing the amniotic sac can permit the baby’s head to put direct pressure on the cervix and aid in dilation.
Verywellfamily.com claims that breaking the water is totally safe and can be effective: “The risk is small for those who have had a routine ultrasound (to rule out vasa previa) if the baby is well engaged, and if delivery occurs within 24 hours or so.”
2 Think About Trying An Enema
This next option isn’t glamorous but it might just get the job done when it comes to inducing labor. Many women swear by using an enema when they’re desperate enough to try just about anything. Eliminating the bowels can bring on intestinal contractions that may kick-start the uterus to do the same.
It could also potentially create space for the baby to drop lower and put pressure on the cervix. Enemas may not sound fun but it’s a viable method that poses minimal risks.
1 Don't Drink Aloe Vera Juice Since It's Unsafe
You may have heard that drinking aloe vera juice can start labor but this option is not safe for mom or baby and could even terminate the pregnancy. So, I wouldn’t try this one at home.
According to Livestrong.com, “The American Pregnancy Association has deemed aloe juice possibly unsafe during pregnancy due to increased risk of uterine contractions and drops in blood sugar. Any laxative product made with aloe, such as those that contain aloin and barbaloin, can lower electrolyte levels.”
References: Fitpregnancy.com, Whattoexpect.com, Livestrong.com, Americanpregnancy.org, Healthline.com, Verywellfamily.com