If there has ever been a more asked question on any motherhood forum or in my blog emails wrt pregnancy than this one, then I’ll eat my freakin’ hat. (And I really, really like my hat!) But honestly, this is a popular question, especially, and not surprisingly, from lots of first time moms. And I get it.
I really do. Either because these mums just can’t anymore…Or more applicably, when you’re staring down the barrel of a basically enforced medical induction, that you’re just hoping to avoid. And that’s because, no one in their right mind, and completely understandably so, would ever choose a medical induction willingly. Well, I think at least not if they actually understood that the natural way was far more pleasant, comparatively speaking, and just far less intense and just far better for mom and baby than the medical one.
But whatever your reasons may be, here you go, all the natural ways to induce labour neatly organized into one place:
NB!! Just very important to note, though, that unless there are any valid medical reasons, it’s recommended that any induction efforts only really ever be attempted from your due date onwards. In fact,even if your due date (which really is just a serious guesstimate, and NOTHING SOLID to bet on), does come and go with no sign of labour, a good way to test whether your body is actually ready for any sort of induction – both medical or natural- would be to find out yourBishop Score.
The Bishop Score will help determine whether your body is ripe for induction or not. As in, if your body (i.e baby) is not ready, it wouldn’t matter what all you tried till you’re blue in the face or ready to throw up from all the pineapples, nothing will happen. Only difference is, that in the case of medical induction, this would then often lead to a c-section, that would have more than likely now become unavoidable due to the effects of the drugs on baby.
So,mamas, one of the main takeaways here is that you have to understand that baby will come when baby is ready. No matter what. I know of women who’ve even given birth at 45weeks! So, hang tight!
So, if you’re ready to try them out, here are a few things that traditionally are supposed to work to help get things started:
1. Rasberry Leaf Tea
Now first up, this one actually isnt an “inducer” as such. It’s actually “uterine toner”. And can be used well before your due date to help strengthen your uterine muscles, and apparently help shorten the actual labour. However,for me, personally, this one works like a charm EVERY TIME! I’ve had three kids so far (with another on the way) and this made them come almost immediately. One cup usually does it for me, but that’s probably because my body and baby were just ready. In fact, with my third birth, I didnt even have ebfore labour started, but when things slowed down a bit, it did help to kick things back into gear. So, as a uterine toner, this won’t induce earlier than it’s supposed to, because it only works if baby is ready.
What is very important to note though is that it is NOT recommended for those who are at risk of preterm labour or miscarriage.
2. Egg plant:
I have three friends who both went into labour the very evening after eating an egg plant dish from Nitida for lunch. There is also a world famous recipe online (Scalinis) for inducing labour that contains a serious amount of egg plant.
Now, Im actually not really sure what it is about the egg plant that has this effect on the body, but countless women have reported this as what has worked for them.
3. Sex. Lots and lots of climatic sex.
Now, you’re either extremely happy about this, or you’re thinking, “but how?!” hahaha… That all depends on your personal situation. But it’s a known fact that sperm contains prostaglandins that will help softens the cervix.
Also, female climaxing helps stimulate the uterus and is known to help raise oxytocin levels in the body, which just so happens to be one of most important hormones involved in labour. It also helps you relax, and having the right state of mind, which then affects the state of your body, is vital for labour to occur.
So, listen to ol Marvin Gaye, and get it on!
4. Have a big laugh
Watching Great comedies that get you belly laughing also helps.This is because it helps release endorphins, which is yet another major hormone in the whole birthing scene. YOu want to labour to start, be sure that your stress hormones are non existent, and crank up your endorphins with a good laugh.
Physiologically speaking, humour is the best means of relaxation, as it produces endorphins in the body, which in turn block the introduction of catecholamines – which are hormones that are released due to stress. Basically, they are the antitheses of that natural induction you’re looking for, and want to be sure you keep them out of your system.
Mike and I have a go to movie that we first watched with Morgy’s birth…it had me rolling on my birth ball. Like, crying-laughing. It really helped keep the fun mood of the day, kept things going hormone wise, and I mean,really, who doesnt love a good laugh. Find your kind of comedy and enjoy!
5. Nipple stimulation.
Much like climaxing, this one helps release that love-drug, oxytocin, which as previously mentioned, is key in the whole birthing process. You want to be sure to keep your oxytocin levels up. So have some fun, and have your partner gently stimulate them. But please note, gentleman, you are not..I repeat…you are NOT tuning a freakin’ radio. WOrk with your woman, and develop some smooth operator techniques that work well for her. Enjoy!
6. A delicious,strong curry:
Eating a bunch of pineapples is also said to stimulate the uterus enough to start labour. Apparently, pineapples contain a type of proteolytic enzyme, called bromelain, that helps soften the cervix and induce labor. Just make sure you eat fresh pineapples to induce labor as they contain useful amounts of bromelain. For more information, have a look see over here.
Just be sure to do a bit more reading up on this one though, as there is a serious amount of pineapples you have to consume for the proper effect, but there have been a few reports about it also causing miscarriage. So be sure of this option.
8. Visit your chiropractor
And not just any one.Be sure it’s a chiro who’s well versed in this aspect, otherwise it may just turn out to be a useless and expensive exercise that leaves you even more frustrated.
The main idea behind the chiro is that, by opening and balancing your pelvis through a chiropractor adjustment, your baby can settle into a great, deep position and stimulate your body to start labor. But, like I said, be sure to use a professionally and highly recommended chiro for this one that is well known for their abilities in this arena.
There has been reports that points to acupuncture being potentially beneficial in inducing labor, but there isn’t a lot of reliable studies on the topic. However, it’s known that acupuncture and acupressure have been used for many years to stimulate labor and many women swear by it.
Once more, I’d only recommend that you use someone you trust, that is highly qualified and experienced in this area of the practice. I for one, know that I would never want to take any unnecessary chances with my babies.
10. Emotional release
Now, if you havent yet picked up, your state of mind also has huge impact on the effecacy of these techniques. If your stress levels are high, this could very well be the reason for why nothings happening. And what you must bear in mind is how the human brain works – it only sees the world in black and white. That is, safe or dangerous. And we as humans, exactly like any other animal that goes into labour, are genetically designed to ensure,by all means, that our off spring life is preserved. This would then include either halting labour, or even refusing to start labour at all until we are deemed to be in a safe zone.
So much like how an animal would stall or hold off labour if it’s in danger – like say if it’s being hunted, so do our bodies work. But since the brain only works in “black or white”, this could mean that any situation that causes these stress hormones would be catalogued as “being in danger”. (Yes, your brain produces the same hormones for a stressful situation like a financial worries over how to afford a new baby, as it would for you being hunted by some stalker…Not even kidding!)
So if you have anything that’s bothering you – anything at all- this could also very well be the very factor that keeps your labour from starting up.
I know with Morgan-Lee I had to find a gynae and midwife to help me deliver baby, for I had just fired my old one. Only once I had secured them, and finally finished the nursery, did labour kick in. (That is, two days after meeting my gynae, and about an hour after finishing the nursery,). Similarly with Parker, only once I felt I ticked all the boxes in the nursery did she come later that evening. And with Coco, only once I had secured all the homebirth supplies did she come.
So, either a) try to finalize your to-do list, so that you can feel better about things, or b) have that difficult discussion with your partner about that “thing” that may be bothering you, or c) go do an emotional release with a professional in this field. (I’d highly recommend Kim Young who is an amazing hypnotherapist, and highly experienced in this particular field).
Warning: Please, whatever you do, just do NOT ever use the severely outdated, and actually quite dangerous technique of using castor oil! There are grave dangers and risks involved for baby by using this method – and definitely a topic I will cover another time. But just know that it would be ill advised to use it.
And there you go.I hope you’ll have fun trying them out, mama. In fact, why not make a day of it? Go on an epic date – it may be your last one for a little while after baby comes!;) So maybe have hubby whip up some eggplant dish with a strong curry, watch a couple of comedies, have pineapple for dessert. Then round with some foreplay and nipple action, and some mind blowing sex!
Even if labour doesnt start after that, you’d have had a great time…and can do it all over again!;)
But just remember,mama, nature has perfect timing, mama!