How to Induce Labor Naturally: A Doula's Guide to Natural Induction
37...38...39...weeks keep passing and your baby is still hanging out? We’ve heard it said before that the first part of pregnancy goes so quickly and the last month lasts a year. It totally feels that way. Between a baby that has grown to nearing the size of a watermelon to your shifting center of gravity and ligaments stretching and loosening, there is often a lot of anticipation and discomfort that comes with the final days of pregnancy.
As doulas, we’re often asked about natural induction techniques.
Now, while anything involving induction is clearly some sort of augmentation of normal labor, there are some home remedies that have been suggested to begin or help labor progress. Bear in mind, each person is different and not every technique will work for every person. Some of them are kind of funny and some of them have an origin of scientific evidence. No matter which you choose, always be sure to check in with your doctor and pay close attention to how you’re feeling.
1. Pineapple Juice/Spicy Foods
One of the widest known (and easiest techniques is eating or drinking something to help bring on labor. Pineapple juice is a very common suggestion (and a pretty delicious one). It’s said that the enzymes it contains can help jump-start labor. Honestly, this one is probably worth a shot. If nothing else, it’s a nice, fruity pick-me-up.
Another edible option is spicy food. Wives tales tell us spicy food can help naturally induce labor. The two main theories why this may work are that the spicy foods may stimulate the digestive tract, bringing on contractions. Another is it may stimulate Prostaglandin, one of the things known to help soften the cervix. Regardless, this is a great excuse to grab yourself some Indian food or chips and salsa.
2. Chiro Care
This is a big one! While Chiropractors don’t claim to be able to start labor, Chiropractic care has been known to help get baby into a good position in the pelvis. In order for your cervix to dilate, thin, and efface, baby’s head must be against it. It’s not too far-fetched to think that getting baby positioned properly may help bring on labor. The other main benefit of Chiropractic care is increased comfort throughout pregnancy. Make sure you seek out a Webster Certified Chiropractor, which is one that works specifically with expectant parents.
There is both scientific and anecdotal evidence to back this one up. Anecdotally, there are some pressure points that may help bring on contractions. This is why people often have to be careful when getting pedicures and often seek out acupuncture or acupressure to bring baby out. Scientifically, touch stimulates the production of Oxytocin in our brains. This hormone (also called the “love hormone”) is responsible for the progression of labor. When you get a massage, you’re spending an hour or so stimulating Oxytocin in your brain.
This is also a great opportunity to help your partner connect with you through the process (and spoil you a little bit).
Ah, yes. Sex. We’ve often heard it said that you get baby out the same way you got baby in. Frankly, there’s some truth to that. Semen contains Prostaglandin, the same hormone found in Cervidil which is often used to help induce labor in the hospital. The gel is placed against the cervix in hopes of helping it soften. The DIY version of this is to...well...get it on. In addition, sex and, more specifically, orgasms produce a lot of Oxytocin in our brains. The combo of Prostaglandin and Oxytocin may just be exactly what you need to send you into labor. And, honestly, it’s a fun way to pass the time even if it doesn’t.
Natural Induction of Labor is a highly searched term on Google and a frequently asked question from our clients. We’re often walking people through exactly how they can serve their baby an eviction notice. The last month or so of pregnancy can often drag on so sometimes even just giving these methods a try can help you get through.
Have you tried a Natural Induction? What methods have you heard of? Let us know in the comments!