7 Natural Ways to Induce Labor

To induce labor naturally, you can take one-hour morning and afternoon walks and increase your sexual relations (optimally without a condom). These methods can help to soften the cervix and increased the pressure of the baby on the pelvic. 

Labor usually starts on its own within 37 and 42 weeks of gestation. These methods to induce labor should not be tried prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy, or if the mother has a health compçlication, like placenta previa or thrombophilia. 

Some natural ways to induce labor include: 

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1. Have sex

Having sex without a condom during pregnancy can prepare the cervic for labor. Sex leaves the cervix thinner and softer, due to the prostaglandins that are naturally found in semen. This substance is very similar to the prostaglandins produced by women. 

Sex is only contraindicated after the water breaks, as there is an increased risk for infection. Once the water breaks, women are advised to utilize the other methods below to speed labor up.  

2. Take a long walk

Walking for over an hour in the morning and in the afternoon with a quick pace can also induce labor. It allows the baby to position him or herself in the pelvic region due to gravity and hip swinging. The pressure of the baby on the uterus increases oxytocin production, which stimulates uterine contractions. 

This technique is very effective at the start of labor, when the mother starts to feel weak and irregular contractions. 

3. Seek acupuncture treatment

Acupuncture can stimulate uterine activity when needles are inserted at specific points of the body. It is important to speak with your doctor first before engaging in acupuncture, and to seek a licensed professional with experience in pregnancy to prevent complications. 

4. Apply primrose oil on the cervix 

Primrose oil helps the cervix to become thinner in preparation for labor. However, it should only be used if approved by the OB, who will indicate the correct dose needed. 

Check out the other uses for primrose oil and the possible side effects associated with it.

5. Take castor oil

Castor oil is a laxative, and the intestinal spasms it cause can stimulate uterine contractions. If the pregnant woman is not showing any signs of labor, taking castor oil can cause severe diarrhea and dehydration. For this reason, castor oil should be used as directed by a doctor. 

Learn about other health benefits of castor oil and how to use it. 

6. Take raspberry leaf tea 

Raspberry leaf tea helps to strengthen the uterus in preparation for labor. It promotes labor to progress at a steady rhythm and can decrease pain. 

7. Take jasmine tea

Tea prepared with jasmine leaves or flowers can be used to induce labor if taken 2 to 3 times per day. This medicinal plant is also known for its essential oil, which can be used at the beginning of labor for massaging the lower back to reduce pain. 

Other ways to induce labor

Other ways of inducing labor, such as spicy foods, cinnamon tea or nipple stimulation are not scientifically proven. There are no studies available to ensure safety in the mother and baby’s health, and some can even cause complications like dehydration, heartburn, diarrhea or vomiting. 

There are other ways to accelerate labor that the OB can prescribe, such as IV oxytocin to stimulate uterine contractions or breaking the membrane to further labor along. These methods are generally only used after 40 weeks of pregnancy. 

Signs of labor 

Signs of labor include increased heart rate and uterine contractions, accompanied by pain, rupture of the membranes and mucus plug loss. Losing a mucus plus is characterized by the elimination of a gelatinous secretion through the vagina. 

Mothers are advised to monitor these signs and to proceed to a hospital if signs of active labor are present.