The last trimester of pregnancy always seems to be the longest. Your back is achy and sore, everything under the sun seems to give you heartburn, you have to go to the bathroom every ten minutes, and your belly feels like it can’t possibly get any bigger! If you’ve been there or are currently there, chances are you’ve been daydreaming about when you’ll go into labor and have your sweet little one. If you’re getting restless and tired of waiting for baby, here are some of the best tried-and-true methods for jump-starting your labor at home!
Remember, all babies come on their own time, and it is best not to try to bring on labor any sooner than recommended by your doctor.
- Method #1: Exercise.
Pregnant mamas: Gravity is on your side here. Let nature do all the work while you also burn some calories and strengthen your body for labor. Walking for exercise throughout your pregnancy is a good, low-impact way to stay in shape and retain your muscles and stamina - you’ll need all the strength you can get when it comes time to push out your baby! If you are cleared by your doctor, walking at the end of your pregnancy can be an easy way help draw your baby down into your pelvis, preparing you for labor. The rhythm of moving your hips from side to side as you walk can help put more pressure on your cervix. Walking can also help your labor progress if you’ve already started having contractions. You can also try gently bouncing on a large inflatable exercise ball. You can alternate bouncing up and down, swaying your hips side to side, and rocking your hips in a circular motion. This can also help alleviate the back pain a lot of women experience at the end of pregnancy. The bottom line - movement matters!
- Method #2: Food.
Many women swear by certain foods kickstarting their labor! One popular trick is eating spicy foods - but watch out, spicy foods can also make heartburn much worse. Many restaurants throughout the country have gained fame by having items like the “Prego Pizza” or “The Inducer” on their menus, although the toppings vary from place to place. Although science has yet to back up these claims, some women believe that eating pineapple can help bring on labor due to its enzyme bromelain. Other believe that eating dates every day leading up to labor can help dilate the cervix. Eggplant is another food that is said to bring on labor contractions. While it’s hard to pinpoint one food that truly brings on labor in the majority of women, it can’t hurt to try some of these ideas if you’re getting anxious to meet your little one!
- Method #3: Stimulation.
Stimulation is another tried-and-true method that is said to bring on labor. Some people swear that having sex sent them into labor. There might actually be some truth to this, as sperm contains prostaglandins that thin and dilate the cervix. As long as you’re having a healthy pregnancy, there really is no harm in having sex, and it can help strengthen your bond between you and your partner before your lives are turned upside-down by a new baby! Another form of stimulation to induce labor is nipple stimulation. Massaging or twisting your nipples for a few hours every day can release the hormone oxytocin which can bring on contractions. Be careful not to hurt yourself, as your breasts may become very tender at the end of pregnancy as your body readies itself for breastfeeding your baby. Do not use a breast pump to stimulate your nipples, and always be aware of your body. Some doctors believe that too much nipple stimulation can bring about very strong, painful contractions that may actually make your labor worse. Always ask your doctor before using stimulation as a method to bring on labor.
- Method #4: Oils and teas.
Some women prefer the natural route by using herbs, oils, and teas to bring on labor. These can be controversial, so be sure to run it by your doctor before ingesting any herbal remedies at the end of your pregnancy. Some women use evening primrose oil to help soften and dilate the cervix at the end of pregnancy. Red raspberry leaf tea can also help bring on labor. No scientific studies have actually been conducted to find out the efficiency and safety of herbs and oils, though, and many can actually be dangerous for pregnant women. Be sure to always check with your doctor before consuming any teas or herbs during pregnancy.
- Method #4: Massage.
Certain types of massage and pressure can lead to the start of labor. Acupuncture can reduce stress and increase uterine activity by inserting thin needles into specific pressure points on the body. However, acupuncture doesn’t always induce labor, and it can be very costly. Get cleared by your doctor first before using acupuncture to start labor. Acupressure, similar to acupuncture, involves stimulating pressure points on the body with your fingers. Some of these pressure points include the skin between your thumb and index finger, and the inside of your leg a few inches above the ankle bone. Some women even swear that getting a pedicure can help stimulate labor, and this might be due to the pressure point massage often given during a pedicure. If anything, at least you’ll have pretty nails for when the baby is born!
Of course, you could try all of the above methods and find that none of them work for you! Babies have their own timelines for making their grand entrance into the world, and there really isn’t a whole lot women can do on their own to kickstart labor. The best thing you can do at the end of pregnancy is relax, put your feet up, drink plenty of fluids, and get your house ready for your new baby’s arrival. Always be sure to get cleared by your doctor before trying any of the above mentioned tricks for starting labor!
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez
|I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.|