Ten activities that could induce labor

by Julie Snyder

Ten triggers

Inducing laborYour due date has come and gone. Your ready to serve an eviction notice to your small resident. What can you do that might get the message across? Try one of the natural methods to get labor started.

1. Take a hike

Every time you walk, you are using one of the natural ways to induce labor. Walking is a time-honored method of speeding labor. It uses the force of gravity to help the baby descend further into the pelvis and aid in ripening the cervix to prepare for the birth of the baby. With every step you take, you're one step closer to holding your baby.

2. Intercourse

If you feel up to, get sexy. Intercourse can get your body ready for labor. Semen contains prostglandins that soften the cervix.

3. Orgasm by any method

Orgasms cause contractions which is part of what feels good. Those contraction might just continue! Worth a try -- either alone or with a partner...whatever you're comfortable with.

4. Acupressure and massage

Pressure points in the shoulder well, the webbing between thumb and forefinger, the heel and small of back can help encourage labor. Find a massage therapist qualified to work with pregnant women. Many will know various points to massage to induce labor.

5. Visualization exercises

Many women swear that their baby's birth started with their minds. Try making a recording of yourself talking about the baby moving down, preparing to be born or just imagine it in your head.

6. Nipple stimulation

In late pregnancy your uterus becomes more sensitive to oxytocin. Stimulating your nipples releases the hormone and hopefully the result will be contractions and a baby. You can massage your own areola or ask your partner or toddler to suckle. As little as a few minutes stimulation can result in contractions.

7. Sitting on a birth ball

Spreading your legs as well as the moving up and down on the ball can help the baby move down.

8. Pelvic tilts

Doing pelvic tilts encourages your baby into a proper position. Kneel on all fours and swing your hips gentle back and forth. A midwife told our friend to try this. Her waters broke just a few minutes later. Coincidence? Maybe!

9. Relax

Since adrenaline interferes with labor, anything you can do to relax, de-stress, or otherwise take a break will help. Try some relaxing music and just lie back or even join a meditation class.

10. An "induce labor" meal

Here's a topic steeped in old wives tales and personal tales of heartburn, indigestion and stomach upset. While insufficient research supports that any foods effectively induce labor, moms swear by these:

  • Eggplant Parmesan: Both basil and oregano can stimulate uterine contractions
  • Spicy ginger cookies: Cinnamon and ginger might encourage labor
  • Pineapple: It's thought to act as a cervical ripening agent that stimulates prostaglandin production, although this has not been scientifically proven.
  • Spicy foods: Research now questions eating spicy foods that release capsasins because they can counter your body's natural endorphins and affect your natural ability to have a pain-free birth
  • Licorice: It contains glycyrrhizin, which might stimulate the production of prostaglandins