There are sound reasons to want to go into labor on your own, rather than scheduling a hospital induction. Most notably is the very real fact that inducing labor blocks some of the key biochemical reactions that take place when women go into labor naturally, including the production of natural levels of oxytocin - the hormone responsible for bonding and pain-reduction/healing after your baby is born. This can have undesirable consequences - such as really hard contractions - that are hard on you and your baby.
Historically, evidence showed women with medically induced labors were more likely to experience C-sections, and while these numbers may be less than originally calculated, the current C-section rate with induction (around 17% to 22%), is still markedly higher than the World Health Organization’s recommended 10% to 15%.
Try These Natural Labor Induction Techniques
If there is real medical evidence supporting the medical induction of your labor, you should do whatever is necessary to facilitate the health and safety of you and your baby. If, however, all seems well and you prefer to let things gear up on your own, the following techniques can help.
S-E-X: it’s time to get frisky with your partner
The same spasmodic pelvic contractions you experience during orgasm can help to stimulate uterine contractions that kick into gear when you go into labor. Get frisky with your partner and enjoy the fact that these sexy sessions are all about you!
That being said, sperm contain a hormone called prostaglandin that also works to thin and ripen the cervix for labor. So make sure he achieves a complete “happy ending,” too!
Use evening primrose
Evening primrose is an herb that can ripen or thin the cervix, causing it to dilate. Many midwives and some holistically-focused OBs use this directly on the cervix during labor if women aren’t dilating on their own.
Speak to your doctor about whether taking evening primrose capsules - or inserting the capsules into your vagina - is okay. Some studies show it increases risks for women with placenta previa. Always get the clear from your physician or midwife before trying any new supplement or herbal remedy.
Focus on the nipples
If you opt for the S-E-X option, tell your partner to focus on your nipples. Nipple stimulation is linked directly to uterine stimulation and contractions - one of the reasons why breastfeeding helps to tone and re-shape your uterus, pelvis and abdominals after your baby is born.
Nipple stimulation has long been used at the recommendation of doulas and midwives to help women contract when labor seems stalled in the middle, and many women anecdotally swear nipple stimulation kicked their labor into action.
You may not feel like moving much, but being upright and walking helps gravity take its course and keeps your baby moving further into the pelvis and birth canal. Some increased pressure via walking may be just what it takes to prime your cervix for labor - just make sure not to wear yourself out since you’ll need to conserve energy for the delivery ahead.
Schedule a prenatal (labor inducing) massage
The great news for you is that massage raises oxytocin levels, and this could potentially inspire your body to go into labor. Some massage therapists specializing in prenatal or pregnancy massages swear they have the touch. Ask around and see if any licensed massage therapists in your area are known for their knack for inducing full-term labors. Often, these massage therapists access particular acupressure points that stimulate the uterus. Plus, if you like his/her touch - you now have a direct line to a professional who can facilitate your self-care, relieving new aches and pains, once baby has arrived.
Acupuncture and/or acupressure
Just as a masseuse may hit the right trigger points to stimulate oxytocin production and uterine contractions, acupuncture and acupressure are also anecdotally cited as natural labor inducers. Unfortunately, studies have conflicting findings, so there are no guarantees.
I wish you all the best using one or more of the above techniques for naturally inducing your post-term pregnancy into action. My name is Marcela Limon and I’m a professional, Bay Area maternity and newborn photographer. I wish you and your baby a very safe and successful labor and delivery - regardless of how its induced. Feel free to contact me if you need to schedule newborn photos and I’ll do my best to get you in the books.