Resources for parents to get through the challenges.

  1. Home
  2. Pregnancy

10 Ways To Naturally Induce Labor

As your due date gets a little bit closer, you get more and more uncomfortable. Your belly is so big it feels as though it’s about to pop! Even worse is the Braxton Hicks that some of us have when labor gets closer. 

The weekend before I gave birth to my daughter was full of them. I spent hours in the maternity ward to be told that it just wasn’t time yet, even though I was having contractions.

They said it would be any time now, but not that day. I was miserable, and the nurses could tell.

Anyone having contractions for three days that don’t regulate without dilating would be. So, they gave me plenty of tips to try to help speed things along. 

How To Naturally Induce Your Labor At Home

These methods might not work for everyone. Whereas exercise is going to send someone into regular contractions, it will do nothing but make another woman break a sweat.

If one doesn’t work, keep going down the list to help you meet your little one sooner instead of later. 

1. Exercise

Walking is great exercise, and can help stimulate labor. First, gravity tends to work in your favor when you’re trying to stimulate labor.

Pregnant women

The weight of the baby pushing down when you are standing up can help move things along quicker. Some great exercises include walking upstairs and doing squats.

These can help you make sure that your little one is in the right position when it’s time for labor. They’ll also make the head bear down on the pelvis, helping to move labor along a little bit more quickly. 

2. Sex

Everyone has heard that sex can naturally induce labor, and they’re right! Having an orgasm makes your body release prostaglandins.

When a man has an orgasm too, his body will release the same thing in his sperm. If you both orgasm, you can help stimulate the body to have contractions. 

However, by the time you get to the ninth month, you’re pretty uncomfortable. It’s almost impossible for some of us to feel sexy. That’s doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.

Since your body is capable of producing prostaglandins on its own after an orgasm, masturbating is another way to make it happen. If you’re not supposed to have sex while pregnant, don’t make an exception this time without consulting your doctor first. 

3. Raspberry Leaf Tea

Raspberry leaf tea is delicious. You can drink it in the winter to enjoy a soothing, hot beverage. Iced raspberry leaf tea is refreshing in the summer.

It’s known for helping tone your uterus, which can bring on contractions. However, since it works primarily to strengthen the uterus, it might not be enough to bring on contractions all by itself. 

This is a great beverage to enjoy after having a baby. The uterus takes time to get back into shape after it’s been stretched by pregnancy. Raspberry leaf tea can help speed things along. 

4. Labor Induction Massage

This is a special type of massage that both relaxes your body and helps it signal that it’s time for labor to begin. Most women begin labor within two days of having a labor induction massage.

The massage works in a similar manner to acupuncture, but the massage therapist applies pressure to specific points on the body using their hands instead of needles.

This makes it a great solution for people that are interested in naturally inducing labor via methods like labor induction acupuncture, but are not a fan of needles. 

You should keep in mind that this is going to guarantee that you start labor soon. While it is effective for over half of the people that participate in labor induction massage, there are some people that do not go into labor soon afterward.

If you fall into the latter category, you can always schedule another one! 

When scheduling an appointment for a labor induction massage, make sure to read reviews for your massage therapist. There is a specific way to conduct this type of massage in order for it to be effective. 

5. Relax

According to this study, stress can prevent you from going into labor. If you do go into labor, it can stop labor. Eventually, your contractions can get weaker until you’re no longer in labor.

They might not regulate, preventing your body from starting labor. (Remember the above story about my three days in the hospital on and off? I was terrified.)

African american pregnant woman practicing yoga on mat

This could be from daily stresses like work and home stress. It could also be because you’re scared. Being scared is a common feeling, especially among first-time mothers.

However, you need to remind yourself that you have an amazing doctor. Your support team is equally wonderful. More than anything, you’ve got this. You’re going to do great. 

While you remind yourself of that, it’s important to relax. Send the kids to your mom’s house, and do whatever you find relaxing. If you’re at a loss for ideas, here are some great ways to relax: 

  • Taking a warm bath
  • Meditating
  • Using essential oils
  • Taking a nap
  • Curling up with a good book
  • Enjoying your favorite snack and television show

You want to do something that you enjoy that helps you relax. Take other advice into consideration, but no one knows you as well as you do. For example, if you find meditating stressful, as some of us do, it’s not going to help you relax. Instead, do what works well for your body. 

6. Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil capsules can make your cervix thinner. They help your body to prepare for labor. Once your body is ready for labor, it’s more likely to start labor sooner.

Because of this, some midwives suggest that their patients take evening primrose oil during the last two weeks of pregnancy. 

Keep in mind that this can be harmful if you have certain conditions. Because of that, it’s important to make sure that you consult your provider before taking evening primrose oil in any form to keep you and your baby safe. 

7. Castor Oil

Castor oil has been a method that has been used by people to induce labor for a long time. Now, it has become a source of controversy.

Medical journals claim that there is little or no evidence to support the theory that downing some castor oil will send you into labor.

However, there are often not as many studies for alternative medicine. One small study on the effects of castor oil did find that over half of the women in the study went into labor within 24 hours of drinking castor oil. 

Castor oil works because it is commonly used as a mild laxative. This causes contractions in the bowels. Then, those contractions slowly turn into uterine contractions. Soon, you find yourself in labor. 

To use this method, don’t drink too much castor oil at the same time. If you consume too much, you’ll get sick. Instead, take one tablespoon of castor oil at a time.

If you don’t go into labor after the first one, take another tablespoon in four hours. Keep in mind that it’s also a laxative, so get ready to head to the bathroom if you’ve been mildly constipated. 

As with other methods, make sure to consult your doctor first. Herbal remedies are amazing, but there are situations that can make them unsafe. 

8. Acupressure

Acupressure is what is used during labor induction massages. Your massage therapist will push on these points to help start contractions.

Close-up Of Gynaecologist's Hand Examining Pregnant Woman

If you can’t find a person that specializes in labor induction massage, finding a professional that is familiar with acupressure is another great idea. 

When all else fails, you can do it yourself! The two pressure points that are thought to induce labor are on the back of your ankle and in between your thumb and pointer finger.

Applying gentle pressure to these areas while massaging them might be enough to stimulate labor. 

9. Spicy Food

Eating spicy food works to start labor just like castor oil is. The only downside is that you might have those contractions, but they might not result in you going into labor.

However, after you’re so uncomfortable, it just feels like it might be worth it. If you are prone to getting heartburn, keep that in mind. Take whatever otc medication your provider recommends, and pick up some spicy tacos for dinner. 

10. Pineapple and Papaya

Pineapple and papaya both have something called bromelain in them. This is used to make things softer in recipes, such as meat. It’s also believed that it can make your cervix softer to help your body start labor.

As with most home remedies, there is little evidence to support this. However, there’s nothing wrong with giving it a shot. 

Consider Trying Several Different Methods To Induce Labor

When you’re ready to go into labor as soon as possible, it can be frustrating to try one method that doesn’t work after another method. This is why it’s a great idea to try several different ones. One of them is bound to get those contractions started!

Combine Castor Oil With Pineapple Juice

Pineapple juice has the same things that most pineapples do. It does have bromelain in it, just like pineapple and papaya do.

To use this method, consider putting one tablespoon of castor oil in a cup of pineapple juice. Not only is this easy to drink, but it also makes the castor oil easier to take. 

Gentle Exercise Once A Day

There’s nothing wrong with gentle exercise. Start going for a walk a day when it gets closer to your due date. Standing up to do housework or finish prepping the nursery can also suffice.

When you can, get moving. However, it’s important not to overdo things. You don’t want to be physically exhausted when you go into labor. You’re going to need your energy when the time comes. 

Have Sex Whenever

There’s no hard and fast rule of life that states you have to wait until bedtime to get nasty. Instead, have some fun when the mood hits, or when you have the energy. If your boyfriend or husband is at work, do it yourself. 

Stay Relaxed

When you’re trying to figure out ways to induce your own labor, it can be stressful. However, you’re also supposed to stay relaxed. The key is to make sure that you practice relaxation techniques throughout the day.

As soon as stress hits, run some bath water or take a break to take deep breaths. It doesn’t matter how effective castor oil is if you’re so stressed that your contractions stop themselves. Stress alone can make all of your efforts useless.

I’m sorry, I know that was a bit harsh, but you need to know how important this one is. Find your inner peace, and make sure that you stay there while you’re preparing to go into labor. This is also a great way to practice for labor. 

Acupressure Is Relaxing

Giving yourself a massage is a great way to relax. Use this as a relaxation technique while making sure to massage those key points that can be used to induce labor.

It will help you encourage your body to start your contractions while ensuring that you’re relaxed enough to continue with labor. 

In Conclusion

Finding a natural way to start your own labor is a great way to get things going when you’re ready to meet your little one.

Spicy food, herbal remedies, sex, massage, and other methods can help encourage your body to start having contractions.

However, it’s important to discuss them with your provider or midwife before trying them to make sure that they are safe for both you and your baby. Certain conditions can make some of these methods dangerous.