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.
While some doctors and midwives may medically induce after 39 weeks, others will have you wait until 42 weeks. Either way, there are some 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.
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. 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 induction included as well.
Below! are the fastest ways to induce labor at home! We will also go over some of the methods we don’t recommend, because the last thing you want is nasty side effects while you’re already in an uncomfortable stage of pregnancy.
Physical Activities to Induce Labor
When it came down to it, our moms said over and over that one of the fastest ways to induce labor at home is physical activity. Now, don’t overdo it, but these are definitely some of the most popular methods.
Let’s start off with a fun way that will make your partner happy. Some say sex is the fastest way to induce labor at home. 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?
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- making it a great way to induce labor at home.
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 for you to try to induce labor. Staying active towards the end of your pregnancy will move your baby down towards the pelvis and encourage dilation. At the very least, a good swim will help ease the pain on joints and muscles from pregnancy!
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. To do this, you put one foot on the curb and the other on the street as you walk.
Natural Foods & Herbs to Induce Labor at Home
Let’s go over some natural ingredients 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 to 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- so add another tea to the shopping list!
This is a sweet and delicious way to induce labor at home! 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.
Spicy Foods are said to induce labor, although it’s probably unlikely to help unless your body is seriously ready to go into labor. It’s a good excuse to try some delicious spicy Thai or Indian Food.
Say Aloha to pineapple as it is said to induce labor. This method actually has some science behind it. During a study, doctors have 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.
Castor Oil has been used to induce labor for decades. It has proved to be a very successful method to induce labor, but can be 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!
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!
Have questions about inducing labor? Please leave a question in the comments or ask questions in our Rookie Moms Facebook Group. It’s a great way to connect with other moms, share tips and get advice.
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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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