Best tips to induce labour naturally

So I was 39 weeks yesterday and ready to pop. Please let me pop soon…?!

The last few weeks are really tough and you spend your time watching and waiting for any little twinges, asking yourself if it means baby is coming. But if you want to move things along a bit, what can you do to meet the little one a little sooner?

OK, yes I know… nothing apart from “medical intervention” is really going to do the trick, but I thought it would be fun if I crowdsourced some natural ways to induce labour using my social feeds.

*Oh and feel like I should put in a little disclaimer here too – I am not in any way medically trained so always chat to your midwife before you try anything too unusual. Etc etc….

Now that’s over and done with, let’s look at what you lot recommended:

  1. Pineapple: Pineapples contain the enzyme bromeliad, which can soften your cervix. It can also stimulate your stomach too, which could also help get some contractions going. They say you need to eat loads of the yellow stuff though, so better get down to Sainsburys and stock up!
  2. Sex: Two words here, oxytocin and
  3. Curry: This is almost certainly an old wives tale, but I love a good cuzza so any excuse to get in the poppadums. My friend Kat also recommended a Five Guys cheeseburger and milkshake did the trick for her… ah well if I have to!
  4. Dates: Take a look at my earlier post on the benefits of dates. Six dates a day has been shown to make labour start sooner, make it shorter, and help with dilation. Dreamy.
  5. Raspberry leave tea: This tea may tone and strengthen the uterus in preparation for labour. It doesn’t taste bad either. However if you read about this on the web there are lots of pros and cons for this (especially if you have specific medical history), so do your research before having a cuppa.
  6. Go for walk, bounce on your birth ball, swim or just generally do exercise: Exerciseis anything that gets the heart rate up. It gets you up and about and gravity working its magic. Even if this method doesn’t work, it’s a great way to relieve stress and keep your body strong for the mammoth task ahead. Plus you need to burn of the calories of the curry and burger.
  7. Acupuncture: Acupuncture stimulates the release of oxytocin in the body. All well and good, but it’s not something you can do by yourself, so you would need to find a specialist who knows about prenatal acupuncture. Pick wisely.
  8. Acupressure: In addition to alleviating morning sickness, acupressure massages can also induce labour. Typically, there are acupressure points in the ankles and in the webbing between your thumb and forefinger that can cause muscle contractions, including in the uterus.
  9. Reflexology: Same story as above really. Good for relieving stress and helping with oxytocin. They say you need quite a few sessions though to ensure your body is used to reflexology, so don’t just book in one session at 41 weeks and hope it will do the trick, nothing is that simple unfortunately.
  10. Nipple stimulation/ colostrum expressing: This can cause your uterusto contract and may bring about labour apparently. Remember not to hand express colostrum before 36 weeks and don’t forget to pick it up from the freezer when you rush off to have the baby. Easier said than done.
  11. Basil: Basil is an emmenagogue, an herb that stimulates blood flow to the uterus and can stimulate menstruation. Throw some in your cooking or make a pesto. Yum!
  12. Walking: The bumping up and down can help the baby move into the birth canal. If walking doesn’t work, try walking up and down stairs (lots). If you can’t get that bumpy motion just by walking alone, get in the car and head off down a bumpy road (the road outside my house couldn’t be better for this if anyone needs a really bumpy road!)
  13. Zumba: Talking of bumping around, I love my Zumba 4 Bump every Saturday in Oxfordshire. Not only is it great fun and good to meet other mums to be, but wriggling the hips as much as we do has to have some impact, right? One of my friends, Naomi, also swears by salsa dancing on her birthing ball, again similar concept and can’t help but put a smile on your face (or your partner’s if they are watching you.)
  14. Housework: Unloading the dishwasher, cleaning the kitchen floor on all fours (particularly useful for my NCT friend who ended up giving birth in her sparkling clean kitchen), cleaning the skirting boards and hoovering are all recommendations to get things moving. Plus it means you will have a lovely clean house at the end of it, double whammy. My husband says he likes this tip the best… Wonder why?
  15. Clary Sage essential oil: My sister in law recommended this one, although it didn’t work for her. Clary sage oil is often touted as an effective method to induce labour naturally and enhance contractions once labour has started. They say you should add a few drops of clary sage oil to an unscented base massage oil – such as coconut oil, almond oil, baby oil, etc. Or you can put it directly into a room diffuser. Again careful with this one as you should only use it after 37 weeks.

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Thanks to everyone who give me the above tips. It’s always fun to crowdsource some words of wisdom. There are clearly things that people swear by, but perhaps they are just coincidence. As my friend Georgina said on Facebook, nothing worked for her, and she just had to wait till baby was good and ready to come out. They are stubborn little things these babies after all!

 

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