Top seven fun ways to naturally induce labour

When your baby is overdue even by just a day the wait for your new arrival can seem endless. After nine months of patience and enduring the physical changes to your body as well as the emotional stress of pregnancy, it’s not surprising that most women want baby out so they can just get their bodies back and on with the business of parenting.

When I was overdue with my daughter and feeling on an emotional knife edge, my mother in law imparted to me that the waiting game was to prepare me for the patience I would need as a parent.I used that patience not to tell her what she could do with her theory, although now I am the parent of two teenagers I completely understand her well informed,if ill timed point.

There are many theories about how to bring on the birth of a late baby but other than being induced, which would only be done at 42 weeks and is still not guaranteed to work, (nhs.uk/pregnancy-and-baby) they are sadly not based in fact.

However there are some suggested methods, which even if they don’t work will at least provide some pleasure and relief for expectant mums.

7 Spicy food

If you can take the heat then some believe a hot curry such as a Madras, or if you’re brave a Phall, will help move baby faster in the right direction. Whilst your bowels will certainly be moved, whether baby will follow suit is debatable.

If you are not used to spicy dishes then it’s probably best to avoid them as they can cause acid reflux . Heartburn and Indigestion in pregnancy is common so sufferers will not want to compound the problem. However if by the end of your last trimester a little heartburn is the least of your problems, then you may want to indulge in a tasty curry or chilli.

There is a school of thought that believes you may even reap the benefit of encouraging your little one on their way.

The idea is that the spices used in Indian and Mexican dishes among others can stimulate your stomach and prompt your uterus into action.

Other foods said to have a similar effect are bananas, liquorice and pineapple. Pineapple contains the enzyme, bromelaine which is thought to soften the cervix ready for labour.

Drinking a glass of red wine is also believed to helps to produce oxytocin, the hormone that causes contractions,however the medical profession advise against drinking alcohol during pregnancy.Whether you would allow yourself a momentary tipple at the end of your pregnancy is up to the individual.

When I Celebrated the birth of my daughter with half a flute full of champagne after nine months of abstinence, I felt as If I had consumed the whole bottle. Personally I wouldn’t risk mixing the effects of alcohol with the onset of labour.

6 Exercise

Be careful with this one as it all depends on your level of fitness before your pregnancy. While it’s unlikely your going to feel like hitting the gym or going for a mountain trek, gentle exercise like walking and swimming can help to relax you and point baby in the right direction.

The movement is said to help manipulate baby into the right position, however some believe that you should avoid swimming as it doesn’t help encourage the baby in the right direction.This theory is similar in principle to the belief that if you lie down with your legs in the air after sex then you stand a better chance of getting pregnant.

Both ideas seem a bit simplistic although they have no less evidence to support their effectiveness than the theories of natural inducement.If the idea of going for a long scenic and remote walk is appealing then it should go without saying that you need to be accompanied by a person rather than a pet dog. Babies have a tendancy of arriving when you least expect it so unless your pet is as easily understood as Lassie, you may want to make sure that you are able to get help when in a remote situation.

ŸExercise has many benefits to your body and will strengthen you physically aswell as mentally.

ŸDuring exercise feel good endorphins are released into the blood stream creating a natural highso even if your baby isn’t jogged on by your efforts, at least you will feel a little less depressed about your wait.

ŸExercise can help to encourage the baby to get into the right position for labour and descend into the pelvis putting pressure on the cervix for dilation to occur.

If even the thought of walking or swimming in the last days of pregnancy seems too much to bear you could try gentle yoga exercises. Make sure you get advice from your G.P first and before starting any exercise during pregnancy.

A professional instructor will be able to advise you about safe positions. The benefits of yoga to body and mind are plenty and it can also help alleviate back ache.

Exercise balls and birthing balls are great for relieving back ache, they are similar except that a birthing ball has the added feature of slowly deflating without a bang if punctured

5 Sex

During pregnancy you have the best excuse for sex that is all about you,your needs and pleasure, so go ahead and make demands. Most women are feeling massive and uncomfortable by the end of their pregnancy and it is the last thing on their minds but if you can find the time to get your sexy on, you will definately reap the benefits.

Your partner should be doing their best to support you and respect your attitude towards sex during pregnancy. If you haven’t felt like sex for a while then most partners will welcome you initiating it.

You and your partner may be worried about hurting the baby but this is not possible as your uterus is protectedby the amniotic sac and your partners penis cannot penetrate further than your vagina. Semen contains prostaglandins which can help to ripen the cervix ready for labour.

ŸLesbian mums to be can still benefit from sex to encourage their baby along because orgasms are also said to help. They produce oxytocin the labour inducing hormone mentioned previously, so the more pleasure for you the better.

ŸMy midwife advised me that having sex doggy style could help bring on the birth - as if I could manage it any other way. There are other positions that you could apply and your partner will have fun navigating your body while they do so.

ŸSpooning is really good because all the weight of your abdomen is supported and your partner doesn’t need to worry about balancing their weight on top of you.

4 Nipple stimulation

I can understand the theory behind spicy food, exercise and sex as all being methods of causing movement of one kind or another but I admit that the comedy value of nipple tweaking proved too distracting for me to understand it’s value.

Because some people have nipples so pert it’s as if they could tune into live radio, I had images of pregnant women tuning into their babies via the nipple telegraph telling them to get a move on.

Nipple stimulation to help induce your baby might sound like a crazy idea summoning up even more ridiculous scenarios than the one that sprung to my mind but there is something in it. Mimicking the action of a suckling baby produces oxytocin the hormone mentioned above that is responsible for contractions during labour. 

It could be worth a shot given the evidence, although with leaking boobs that are already uber sensitive, the idea of someone tweaking you for any period of time in that area will more than likely make you want to do more than tweak them back. Of course you could do it yourself as you know how sensitive your body is right now and how far to go.

  • ŸStart with one nipple at a time and using your thumb and forefinger gently roll the nipple and pull it forward until erect.
  • ŸContinue for a minute then rest for a few minutes before repeating with the other nipple.
  • ŸA breast pump will do the same thing or indeed another child if you have one going spare.

Taking a bath will help relax you and if there are any leakages then it doesn’t matter. Setting up a comfortable environment is the key and if it doesn’t work then you could try it along with sex and a curry for the ultimate triple whammy. If baby doesn’t move after all your efforts then the likelyhood is that they will arrive, typically when you start to think they never will.

3 Acupressure

This therapy uses fingers instead of needles and uses the same principles of acupuncture Gentle massage is applied to pressure points on the body such as the webbing between your forefinger and thumb and your achilles heel.

It is believed that applying pressure to these two points can bring on contractions. Why not ask your partner for a full body massage and incorporate some accupressure at the same time. If it does bring on labour at least you will be nice and relaxed at the time.

It is also believed that having a warm bath can soften the cervix and prepare the body for labour. Taking a bath before enjoying a massage and stimulation of your pressure points can only help to help you unwind and not stress about the arrival of your baby.

Anything that helps reduce the anxiety of an expectant mum and has the vaguest chance of helping her labour to start is worth a shot. 

2 Homeopathy

Although homeopathic remedies are thought to be safe to take it is important to consult your G.P before taking anything orally. Homeopathy is said to be safer than taking tinctures such as black cohosh, motherwort and false unicorn.

Herbs like pulsatilla , caulophyllum and cimicifuga can be taken at regular intervals after the due date although homeopathic professionals focus more on the benefits of these herbs during pregnancy rather than the onset of labour. Caulophyllum can be taken three times daily for up to two days after the due date.

There are no theories as to why these remedies might help move things along, only that they could. The emphasis is on the mother and reducing her stress levels which it is believed can affect her physically.

The remedies may not have any effect on your baby but they are reported to help relax and sooth expectant mothers. Whilst the benefit of homeopathy is not proven, anything which helps to soothe and relax even if as a placebo effect can only be a positive. It is an hollistic therapy like homeopathy and it’s benefits to body and mind are not supported by any medical evidence but that is not the point.

Hollistic treatments should work alongside general medicine and any decent reiki practitioner or Homeopath will tell you that. Reiki can be extremely effective in helping people with aches and pains who wouldn’t be able to endure a massage. If at the end of your pregnancy you are aching and sore but don’t think you can stand a massage then maybe a reiki treatment would suit you better.

The practitioner will place their hands over different areas of your body to align your chakras, and the effect for most people is a comforting warmth which can’t be explained but is undoubtedly effective.

1 Meditation and visualization

In western culture there is little time for quality rest and relaxation other than when we book a holiday. Our time off is designated and although when we go home after work we have down time, usually that is spent with other distractions such as children or housework.

In other cultures meditation is incorporated into their day and is believed to create a happier and therefore more productive workforce. Positive visualisation together with meditation can have a powerful effect on your body.

The idea is to practice when you are in a relaxed state, focusing on what concerns you and how you will rectify this. If after 40 weeks a woman is visualising her concerns over when her baby will come and imagines he or she getting into position to start the process, then her body might respond to this reinforcement

In order to maximize the effects of visualisation it is recommended that you meditate first. Meditation is a great way to maximize relaxation for pregnant women. G.P s are beginning to acknowledge that womens intinct regards their own own bodies is often right so any practice which helps attune body and mind is extremely beneficial to everyone involved in the care of a pregnant woman.

It is easy to forget to listen to your body as a busy mum and meditation can be a powerful way to ease anxiety and help to think more clearly and positively.Allowing yourself the time to do this is really important and the key is not to do it where you can be easily distracted. Set aside time to concentrate on you and your baby. However the most important person in your family is you and your health and wellbeing are paramount. Meditation will leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed which is going to help you to worry less about when the inevitable will happen. Try to bear in mind that you will not be pregnant forever and when the time is right your body will tell baby it’s time to move out. 

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