Articles - 10 Ways to Induce Labour Naturally
Work with your body towards labour

10 Ways to Induce Labour Naturally


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Work with your body towards labour

If you're hoping to avoid a medical induction, then trying some of these natural methods can sometimes send your body into labour. Here are our best tips for gently giving your body a nudge!

1. Sex
Perhaps the most fun of induction methods (if you can actually find a position that works!). Prostaglandins in a man's semen help to ripen the cervix. In our experience, it is important for the mother to have a good time! We release oxytocin (the hormone that creates contractions) when we feel loved or have an orgasm – so if you can muster up some sexy vibes and have a great orgasm you may just get the ball rolling.

2. Acupressure
Acupressure is derived from acupuncture, but instead of using needles you can use your fingers to press on certain points in the body. This method works because pressing certain points on your body stimulates the uterus and causes it to contract. Moreover, it not only encourages delivery but also eases the process of giving birth.

3. Nipple stimulation
Nipple stimulation produces oxytocin and can produce some strong effects, so you can try stimulating your nipples (including your areola as a baby would when sucking) with your fingers, massaging one at a time. Massage the first nipple for five minutes and then wait to see what happens before massaging the other one. This can be a highly irritating technique if you have sensitive nipples, so perhaps do it yourself instead of getting your partner to help out – otherwise you might create the opposite of oxytocin!

4. Castor Oil
There are reports of castor oil being used to bring on labour as far back as the Ancient Egyptians. It is thought to act as a powerful laxative, which stimulates the digestive system as well as the uterus to start labour. We wouldn't recommend it as your first choice to induce labour as more often than not in may cause diarrhea and sometimes vomiting. Working with your body and labour is usually enough to focus on, dealing with the runs as well adds a whole lot more to contend with.

5. Massage
Induction Massage works on helping the body relax and stimulating certain points, similar to acupressure. Sarah Goldberg from Nurtured Birth in Melbourne, an experienced massage therapists who specialises in induction massage, says up to 85% of the women she massages go in to labour within 48 hours. Sarah says, “The main ingredient is to help the mothers feel relaxed and cared for, which helps stimulate oxytocin and ripen her body.” 

6. Acupuncture
Acupuncture has been around for thousands of years and is a well-known way to help get labour started. By targeting specific points in the body it can help to create balance to allow the hormones to work effectively and start stimulating the uterus. Acupuncture works best if you have had a few sessions leading up to your due date. Even if you have a fear of needles acupuncture can be incredibly relaxing and feel good.

7. Stretch and sweep
This is a procedure done by your caregiver and usually as a last resort. Your caregiver does an internal examination and the aim is to separate the membranes from the cervix, to help stimulate the uterus. It can be common to have some spotting or bleeding after and it can give you irregular contractions or what’s known as an “irritable uterus”. Again, this method is generally used as a last resort as it can feel invasive and you can introduce the possibility of infection.

8. Raspberry Leaf Tea
Raspberry leaf tea is an herbal remedy thought to tone the muscles of your uterus to help it to work better during labour. The idea is not so much to speed up your labour but to help it to progress at a nice, steady pace. It can take several weeks to build up in your body, so aim to drink it regularly throughout your pregnancy rather than a lot of it in one go to bring on labour. A word of warning – some women love the taste, but others think it taste like dishwater!

9. Relax / visualise / have a good cry
Labor and becoming a mother can be a scary prospect. Sometimes our fears can be so great that it stops our bodies going into labour. Relaxing as much as possible, creating positive visualisations and talking about any fears you have can relieve stress in your body and mind. If all else fails, have a big cry in the arms of someone you love. Let out all your fears, anxieties and worries. We all feel better after a good cry and letting go can be all that’s needed to let baby know you are ready.

10. Let go
Your baby will come when he or she is ready – sometimes no matter what you try or do, the little one is calling the shots. Often with natural inductions nothing will work if your body is not ripe, so patience, surrender and know that no one stayed pregnant forever.

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