Has your due date come and gone?  Are you big, bloated and ready to get that baby out of the womb and into your arms?

While there is no one surefire way to get contractions started, there are some simple and natural ways to induce labor you can try to help coax your little one out into the world.

Keep in mind, these techniques are only recommended once the bun is fully cooked and ready to come out of the oven. So be sure to get the green light from your doctor or midwife first.

You may not know this, but your “due date” is really just a guess. Only 5% of babies are actually born on their due date.

Many pregnancies go past that date and it’s perfectly normal.

But as you reach 42 weeks, your doctor may want to perform a medical labor induction. 

Know that there are other, gentler alternatives! Such as these natural ways to induce labor, which can be quite effective.

Note: Even though the tips and tricks shared in this article came from a certified midwife, it is important that you speak with your healthcare practitioner before you try any of these methods.

This is especially true if your pregnancy has been complicated or is considered high-risk.

Once you get the all-clear and your baby is ready to be born, give some of these 9 natural ways to induce labor a try.

Hopefully you’ll be meeting your beautiful baby very soon!

natural ways to induce labor
Getty Images

 

9 Natural Ways To Induce Labor

 

1. Walking

The simple act of walking during pregnancy may help draw the baby down into your pelvis (thanks to gravity and the swaying of your hips). In fact, this is one of the few ways that most doctors agree on for starting labor.

The pressure of the baby on your pelvis may then prime your cervix for labor, or it may help labor progress if you’ve already felt some contractions.

Related: What Is A Birth Plan? Do I Really Need One?

Just don’t walk too much and tire yourself out before the big day. You’ll need all the energy you can get for pushing!

 

2. Do Something Fun

Think about what might promote the release of oxytocin, the hormone that helps kick contractions into high gear, and do it!

Oxytocin is also known as the love hormone, so focus on activities that make you happy. Cuddle with your partner, pets, kids…or all three! Do a Netflix binge-watching session of your favorite happy movies.

Whatever it takes to get that feel-good hormone flowing.

 

3. Sex

What made baby possible in the first place may be the thing that helps get him out. While it may seem challenging to pull off a romp in the sack when you’re 40 weeks pregnant, you may want to give sex a try.

Related: Is It Safe To Have Sex When Pregnant?

Sex sparks up your oxytocin flow and sperm contains prostaglandins; fatty acids that help soften and dilate your cervix, ripening it for delivery.

Combine that with a uterine-contracting orgasm and you may be one step closer to meeting your baby.

 

4. Nipple Stimulation

Wait….what? Yup. Nipple stimulation is an oxytocin-producing trick that can help kickstart labor.

Pinch each nipple between your thumb and index finger just until it hurts for three to five minutes, then rest for at least 15 minutes.

If you’ve got youngsters at home, a breast pump or a breastfeeding toddler can have the same effect.

If you feel a contraction, stop and let nature do its thing.

 

5. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Red raspberry leaf tea helps strengthen the uterus and pelvic wall when consumed during pregnancy.

This can lead to a (hopefully) shorter labor, because each contraction is more productive. One research study found it shortens the pushing stage of labor.

Because of its stimulating effects, most midwives don’t recommend drinking red raspberry leaf tea until around the 34 week mark.

Related: What’s A Doula? Do I Need One?

Once you’re around 40 weeks and ready to give birth, you’ll want to increase your dose of this tea to help kickstart labor. A quart of double brew red raspberry leaf tea a day will usually do the trick.

To make a double brew dose, bring 1 quart of filtered water to a boil. Add in 1 cup of loose red raspberry leaf and let it simmer for 20-30 minutes. Drink throughout day for natural labor induction.

 

6. Eat Dates

Eating dates the last few weeks of your pregnancy can help speed the process along. Plus, they’re delicious!

Studies show that eating dates during pregnancy helped women have higher cervical dilation, intact membranes, and more spontaneous labors when it came time to deliver. In addition, the use of oxytocin for date eaters was significantly lower as was the average length of first stage labor.

The study concludes, “Date consumption during the last 4 weeks before labor significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour, and produced more favorable, but non-significant, deliveries.”

Grab some dates and start snacking!

 

7. Castor oil

What’s the deal with this vegetable oil? This is an old-school labor induction tool (just ask your grandma, she knows).

Castor oil is basically a laxative. Women have been passing down this tradition for generations because if you take a shot of it, it can stimulate your bowels by causing spasms in the intestines and, in turn, irritate your uterus and cause it to start contracting.

The downside: If you’re not already showing signs of labor, taking castor oil can give you a bad case of diarrhea (something you probably want to avoid this close to childbirth).

Bottom line: Consider the consequences of castor oil carefully and talk with your practitioner before you take a spoonful. If you and your birth team do decide to try this method, drink at least 16 ounces of coconut water to support hydration and electrolyte levels.

Also, castor oil tastes nasty…so mix a tablespoon into a glass of orange juice or something to mask the flavor.

 

8. Acupuncture*:

Acupuncture, the art of inserting thin needles into specific pressure points on the body, can stimulate uterine activity and nudge the baby into action.

Related: What Should I Pack To Take With Me To The Hospital?

Many experts and mamas-to-be swear this technique is a natural way to induce labor.

 

9. Acupressure*:  

Similar to acupuncture, this is another age-old practice that entails putting pressure on specific points on the body to stimulate uterine activity, except that instead of using needles, you can use fingertips, including your own or your partner’s..which can be kind of fun.

Two pressure points that may induce labor naturally, the webbing between your thumb and index finger, and the inside of your leg about four finger-widths above the ankle bone. You can try these two spots at home.

**Before your poke or press, be sure to talk with your practitioner confirm you and your baby are ready for labor.

 

Finally, remember that when you go into labor and give birth isn’t always within your sphere of control. Sometimes the Universe has other plans.

So try to relax, and not stress too much. Your baby will make an appearance when he or she is ready.

You can use some of these natural ways to induce labor to try and help the process along…but in the end, whatever day your child officially enters the world will be a joyful one.

 

SHARE these natural ways to induce labor on Facebook and Pinterest by clicking the buttons below.