As we discussed earlier, due dates are largely meaningless, so a lot of moms find themselves reaching their long-anticipated due date with no baby in sight! Some are able to let baby come on his or her own terms, but others might have personal or medical reasons for wanting to hurry the process on a bit. What are a few safe ways you can try to jumpstart labor?

First of all, it is important we say this: speak with your healthcare provider before trying anything. They’ll be able to help you determine the risks vs benefits of each one of these. We know the excitement of impending labor can be overwhelming and nearly impossible to bear, but your health and baby’s health are of the utmost importance. We suggest discussing these methods around the 37th or 38th week of your pregnancy so your provider can give you a timeline of when things are safe (or not safe!) to try, that way, you’ll both be on the same page!

  1. Exercise. Going for a walk is always a good idea, if you can manage it! Drink plenty of fluids and rest when your body tells you to. For some added benefit, walk along a curb with one foot on the curb and one foot off so your pelvis gets a little rockin’ action.
  2. Sex. The oxytocin release is thought to play a role in jumpstarting uterine contractions and the semen left behind acts as a cervical ripener.
  3. Nipple stimulation. Breastfeeding after birth can help contract your uterus back into its original size; stimulating the nipples before birth may have the same effect for some. Manual stimulation is fine, or try your breast pump if you have one. If you get any colostrum, don’t throw it away! That’s great stuff!
  4. Acupuncture and acupressure. The oxytocin release may help in this case as well, and if nothing else you may experience some pain release.
  5. Spicy foods. Some swear by this method which may work by irritating the GI tract; others are left with heartburn and nothing else. If you have been tolerating spicy foods well throughout pregnancy, go for it!
  6. Pineapple. Evidence of pineapple helping induce labor is mostly just anecdotal, but if you think pineapple is delicious, have some! You’ll get a healthy dose of Vitamin A.
  7. Castor oil. There is some evidence for the efficacy of ingesting castor oil, but this is definitely one to talk to your provider about as it can increase the intensity of contractions.
  8. Raspberry leaf tea. This herbal infusion can help tone your uterine muscles to help smooth labor, but your provider may suggest to drink this tea over the last weeks of your pregnancy and gradually increase the number of cups you drink per day as your due date nears, rather than suddenly starting to drink it at the end of your pregnancy.
  9. Massage. Well trained masseurs excel at spiking your oxytocin and some are even well versed in pressure points. Find a licensed professional who regularly does prenatal massages.
  10. Membrane stripping. Not an at-home method, certainly, but worth discussing with your doctor or midwife!

Did we mention how you should discuss your plan with your medical provider? Good luck! And remember: no one has been pregnant forever! 😉

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