When your due date comes and goes, it can be very frustrating (and that’s an understatement). Why is it that the last month of pregnancy seems to last the longest? You have the name, the hospital bag all packed, the birth plan – but no baby. So, we gathered a bunch of moms and asked for their tips on the fastest ways to induce labor at home.
All of the methods we discuss below are natural, but before you test them out you need to talk to your doctor or midwife about trying to bring on labor from home. Some methods are only safe for certain weeks of pregnancy and certain women.
I would also recommend taking the Mommy Labor Nurse Birth Course to get prepared for labor & delivery. I took one myself before giving birth to my fourth baby and found it so helpful! She’s got tons of tips about natural labor induction included as well.
Physical Activities to Induce Labor
When it came down to it, most of the moms I talked with said physical activity was their #1 recommendation for how to go into labor faster. Be careful not to overdo it, but these are definitely some of the most popular methods.
Let’s start off with a fun way that will hopefully make both you and your partner happy. Some say sexual intercourse is the fastest way to get things moving. Many pregnant women have a lot of success with this method making it one of the simplest and most effective ways to bring on labor.
Scientifically- semen stimulates the cervix and orgasm can cause contractions. There’s no hurt in trying, right?
Walking or Curb Walking
Walking works similarly to swimming and bouncing exercises- it encourages the baby to move deeper into the pelvis and bring on labor. Light aerobic exercise is highly recommended when nearing your due date to promote labor (although exercise is probably the last thing you want to do in the third trimester).
You can also try curb walking for an added boost to get the baby moving. Curb walking to induce labor has become really popular after several influencers used this method successfully! So how do you do it? You simply put one foot on the curb and the other on the street as you walk. I recommend having someone walking alongside you since you may feel a bit unbalanced doing this.
Nipple stimulation is another one of the fastest ways to induce labor at home and has been shown by numerous studies to work. Nipple Stimulation may bring on contractions by releasing oxytocin- which can kickstart labor.
If you bought yourself a breast pump it’s a great time to try it out!
A Foot or Body Massage
Did you know a foot massage can bring on labor? There are certain pressure points that can help bring on contractions. You can either go to an acupressure massage therapist or just have your significant other give you a massage. If it doesn’t bring on labor for you, at least you got a massage out of it!
Acupuncture is similar to an acupressure massage, but will be done with needles. This method should only be performed by a professional. Acupuncture has been said to bring on contractions and help ripen the cervix for labor. If you’re not terrified of needles, it’s worth a try!
Bouncing on an exercise ball
You have probably seen an expecting mama bouncing up and down on an exercise ball before! This is because it can help get the baby in the correct position and encourage the baby’s head to move down through the birth canal.
You can actually start doing this from the first semester on. Not only will it help induce labor, but it’s also a lot of fun and good exercise!
You will want to switch up your positions on the ball between Deep Wide Circles, Figure 8s, Bouncing, Child’s Pose, and Supported Squats.
Swimming is another good way to try bringing on labor faster. Staying active toward the end of your pregnancy will move your baby down toward the pelvis and encourage dilation. At the very least, a good swim will help ease joint and muscle pain from pregnancy!
Natural Foods & Herbs to Induce Labor at Home
Let’s go over some natural ways to induce labor that you can try out! We heard from many moms that these are some of the fastest ways to induce labor at home.
This odd concoction includes apricot juice, pure lemon verbena tea, castor oil, and almond butter and it is apparently VERY effective. Learn more about Midwives Brew here, including how to make it!
Evening Primrose Oil
Evening Primrose Oil is a highly recommended way to induce labor naturally by midwives. It has had proven success for many moms! It can be taken orally and bought at most local pharmacies.
Primrose oil works by thinning out the cervix – so if your body is ready for labor and just needs extra help with effacement, it should be successful.
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red Rasberry Leaf Tea is most effective when you drink it daily throughout the third trimester of your pregnancy- or at least starting in the third trimester.
Many moms swear by its success- even saying the tea made their labor faster and less painful! It’s worth a try!
Thyme tea is similar to the Red Raspberry Leaf Tea method. Some women claim that the Thyme in the tea can cause uterine contractions. It seems to be most effective when you drink it daily y- so add another tea to your shopping list!
This is a sweet and delicious method! Dates are a proven way to help with dilatation and effacement. Not only do they help with softening of the cervix, but they’re also extremely healthy for you and your baby- loaded with tons of calcium and potassium.
Photo Courtesy of Fresh N Lean
There is an old wives tail that spicy foods induce labor, and I did in fact go into labor with my first baby after eating a burrito with spicy salsa.
This method is unlikely to really help unless your body is seriously ready to go into labor, but regardless, it’s a good excuse to try some delicious spicy Thai or Indian Food.
Have you ever heard of using okra water for labor? It has long been said that okra water can induce labor and make labor easier. Neither claim is scientifically proven, but this ancient remedy has been the most recent craze around inducing labor.
Okra does have some nutritional value and is unlikely to cause any bad side effects, so this is another method that I think it worth a try!
Say Aloha to pineapple as it is said to induce labor. This method actually has some science behind it. During a study, doctors found that pineapple can cause uterine contractions as well as the ripening of the cervix.
You can try fresh or frozen pineapple and even pineapple juice!
Cohosh (specifically black cohosh)
Cohosh is an herb commonly used to promote effacement and contractions. This herb is usually found as a liquid supplement, and a few drops every day will supposedly bring on labor. Many midwives recommend cohosh for inducing labor naturally, but you should check with yours specifically before trying it out.
If you Google “How to induce labor?” castor oil is probably one of the most popular answers you will see. Midwives have used castor Oil for decades.
It has proved to be a very successful method to induce labor, but can have less than desirable side effects or even become dangerous. It can cause stress on the baby, so it’s important to talk with your midwife or doctor before using castor oil.
When to Visit the Doctor!
When you are nearing the end of your pregnancy, you can bring up membrane stripping with your healthcare provider. It is commonly performed to induce labor in mothers near or past their due date. The membrane sweep will loosen your amniotic sac from your uterus, which in some cases, starts labor.
If spontaneous labor does not occur, some doctors and midwives may medically induce around 39 weeks to 40 weeks. Others will have you wait until 42 weeks. If your doctor is not on board with these options, the methods above are great natural ways to get your body in gear for labor in the comfort of your own home if you’re past your due date and still waiting. Just make sure to run these methods by your caregiver before trying them out.
Doctors or midwives will commonly tell patients about the 4-1-1 indicator. When contractions are 4 minutes apart, 1 minute long, for at least 1 hour it’s a good time to call or head right into the birthing center.
If your water happens to break- it’s definitely a good time to head to the hospital or at least call your doctor if you’re unsure. Some women completely miss the contractions and can be in active labor when their water breaks.
Be sure to tour your birthing center or hospital and take a test drive, timing how long it takes you to get there. Preparation is key and knowing where to go beforehand will (sort of) help ease the stress of labor.
Make sure hospital bags are packed and that the car seat is installed. You got this mama!
*THIS POST IS FOR INFORMATION AND ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. SHOULD YOU NEED MEDICAL ATTENTION PLEASE SEEK YOUR OWN MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.
Have questions about inducing labor? Please leave a question in the comments.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How do you start contractions?
Here are some of the top methods for starting contractions:
Try Natural Teas
Eat Spicy Foods
What is the Quickest Way to Go Into Labor?
2. Nipple stimulation
5. Spicy foods
6. Red raspberry leaf tea
Can I break my waters myself?
No, your water should only be broken naturally or by your doctor (it is generally a safe procedure when performed by your physician). Never try to break your water at home.
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