If you’re sussing out natural ways to bring on labour, you’re not alone. Pretty much every pregnant mumma has been there. When you’re nearing the end (or even past your due date) and desperately ready to meet your baby, those last days and weeks are hard going.
As I write this, I’m 39 weeks pregnant with my third baby and facing an induction tomorrow due to my blood pressure. Trust me, natural ways to bring on labour has been top of my Google search list for a good week!
How to Bring on Labour Naturally
A lot of midwives and doctors swear by sex to help promote cervical ripening and bring on labour. As the saying goes… the same thing that got baby in there gets them out!
Sex acts in two ways to promote labour. Firstly it can trigger the release of oxytocin which can help bring on labour, and secondly, an orgasm can stimulate the uterus into action (if it’s ready to go).
Either way, it’s certainly not going to do any harm. So unless you’ve been advised to avoid intercourse, go get some action and see if it generates any other action of the baby kind.
Click here if you need some inspiration on pregnancy-friendly sex positions.
2. Nipple Stimulation
Not up for sex? I sympathise! Another option is breast and nipple stimulation.
It doesn’t need to be sexual, you can even do it yourself in the bath or shower. Nipple stimulation is one natural way to bring on labour that actually has some solid research behind it.
Don’t go crazy, just gentle massage of the breasts and nipples for up to an hour a day. Use some natural oil to make it more comfortable. It generally recommended not to try this technique before 39 weeks pregnant as it can bring on premature contractions.
3. Evening Primrose Oil
Evening Primrose oil has been used for centuries by midwives to try and naturally induce labour. It is believed to be useful in ripening the cervix (softening, opening etc). I have used it in two pregnancies and did find my cervix was more favourable for labour, so who knows, it might work!
You can either take the capsules orally (1-2 a day) or insert them like a pessary. Check with your midwife or doctor before giving it a try though.
4. Caster Oil
Taking a tablespoon of caster oil has been recommended by many people as a way to bring on labour if you are close to ready. It actually works by stimulating the bowels (you’ll be visiting the toilet pretty frequently) and it is thought that this can trigger the uterus into action.
Be warned though, it is know to cause diarrhoea, cramping and nausea pretty frequently. Personally I wasn’t up for those kinds of side effects late in pregnancy so have never given it a try but I know lots of people swear by it.
Acupuncture is becoming a more widely known and accepted natural medicine for all kinds of illnesses and ailments. It has long been used in traditional Asian medicine to help bring on labour as well as ease pain during labour.
It is believed there are specific points on the body that when stimulated, can trigger labour if your body is ready. I tried acupuncture with my first son when I was nearly a week overdue. I did go into labour the next day but who knows if that was a coincidence or not. It was painless and straight forward so it might be worth a try if your due date has come and gone.
While there isn’t a lot of evidence that a long walk or climbing stairs really will bring on labour, it’s certainly not going to do you any harm. Some fresh air and a bit of a distraction is sometimes all you need in those last few weeks. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, you don’t want to go into labour already exhausted!
You might also like this pregnancy exercise routine.
7. Book Essential Appointments
When all else fails, book in some essential appointments. Like all things with babies, labour seems to come at the most inconvenient time. I remember cancelling my hairdressing appointment for the following day mid contractions with my second son. If you want baby out, plan some things that require them to stay in!
In the end, babies seem to come when they decide, regardless of whether we encourage them to fast-track their plans. If you’ve tried all these tricks and your bub is still staying put, try not to panic. Inductions don’t have to be the horror experiences many mums fear.
Check out these positive induction stories to set your mind at ease. It won’t be long and you’ll be holding that little bub in your arms and these last days will all be a distant memory.
Have you tried any natural ways to bring on labour? Did they work?
More about child birth:
- What It Feels Like to Have a C-Section
- What It Feels Like to Have a Vaginal Birth
- What Contractions Really Feel Like