As the end of your pregnancy approaches, it may feel like you will never go into labor. Friends and family will ask you constantly when you'll have the baby, and the pressure from your care provider to medically induce labor will slowly increase. But instead of sitting around feeling anxious and upset that labor won't start on its own, try these various natural ways to encourage labor to make an appearance.
Relaxation Through Walking, Mediation And Massage
Going for a regular daily walk will also help in a couple of different ways. Firstly, going for a walk will help put more direct pressure on the baby's head onto the cervix. When you're upright and moving around after the baby has "dropped" into the pelvis, the baby's head will push down on the top of the cervix to irritate it, and possibly get contractions started.
Secondly, walking can be very relaxing. Putting earbuds in, getting outside and letting the stressful world around you melt away can help tell the body that now is a good time to go into labor. If you're constantly in a state of stress, both the body and mind will try to keep baby safe by keeping them inside. You are a mammal, and that is how mammals' brains work. Humans as a species are now constantly living in a state of stress, and therefore are more likely to keep our babies in longer. Our brains simply don't categorize stress; it can't tell the difference in the stress you experience trying to get a report done before maternity leave or the stress of being chased by a saber tooth tiger. Your brain will simply recognize the stress as being there, and not start labor.
So in the weeks leading up to your due date, look at ways to reduce your stress and carve out times in your day for relaxation. Using a guided meditation app can help, and even practicing relaxation for 10 minutes a day can encourage your body to release your baby. Going for a weekly massage can also help with relaxation, and minimize all your pregnancy aches and pains can be beneficial too.
Acupuncture for starting labor is still being studied, and there's some research that suggests acupuncture will not induce labor. But evidence also suggests that, while it may not start labor, it may help get the cervix ripe for labor. In addition, the mom-to-be may require less or no Pitocin should an induction be necessary, and the induction is more likely to be successful. So this is one technique that wouldn't hurt to try once.
Eating Dates (Yes, really!)
There is some interesting evidence coming out about eating dates in the later part of pregnancy to aid labor induction. It suggests that eating as little as 60 to 80 grams of dates per day could ripen the cervix enough to result in a higher Bishops Score, which is a scale that determines the success of induction based on the state of the cervix before inducing. The evidence also suggests that eating dates will shorten your labor, and you're likely to go into labor on or before your due date.
With all this said, none of these suggestions are going to put you into labor unless you were already going to go into labor. However, they'll get you closer to the edge, and you'll have a greater chance of having your baby nearer to your due date than significantly beyond. It will all help make an induction more successful should one be necessary or already planned. But the most important thing is that you have a successful labour and delivery for both you and baby.