By the end of pregnancy, you might be willing to do anything to kick-start labor. But the fact is, that baby’s coming when that baby’s ready and no one—not even your OB—knows exactly how or why labor begins (even if your BFF swears it was Thai food!). Still, it’s fun to hear the old wives’ tricks for evicting your reluctant tenant … even if there’s no real proof they work. Here are some of the most-talked-about ways to induce labor at home.
P.S. No matter how desperate you are, talk to your doc before you try ANY at-home trick to start labor!
This one has the most cred when it comes to starting labor. Some midwives and docs recommend having sex to jump start things, as sperm contains prostaglandins, which can ripen the cervix. Plus, women release contraction-starting oxytocin when they orgasm. Sure sex may be tricky with a big ol’ belly, but chances are your man won’t pass up the chance to, um, pitch in. (And no, you can’t hurt the baby!) Who knows: Maybe the same thing that got you into this mess might get you out of it!
Take a Long Walk
Some midwives say that a long, brisk walk can naturally induce labor. Plus, walking is great exercise and can help relieve pregnancy stress. (Oh, who are we kidding? You just want to have that baby already!) So grab your walking shoes (or whatever shoes you can fit on your feet these days) and hit the road. With any luck, it could be your last stroller-free walk for a long time.
Do Nipple Stimulation
Some people believe pumping or rubbing the hooey out of your nipples can bring on labor, especially if done for several hours straight. And while hours of nipple rubbing may not sound like a great way to spend an evening to you, your partner might disagree. Especially if you plan on breastfeeding, because your milk-making knockers may be off-limits to him once the baby comes!
Drink Castor Oil
This may not be the most glamorous way to bring on labor, but many old-school docs and midwives swear downing 1-4 ounces of castor oil (in OJ or milk, ’cause it tastes nasty!) can bring on contractions or speed things up if you’re in early labor. Castor oil gets things moving in your intestines (yes, you will poop your brains out if you try this!), which can cause your uterus to cramp and could possibly cause labor. Pooping your way into labor may not be one for the baby book, but if it does work, at least you won’t have anything left in you to deposit on the delivery table!
Eat Spicy Food
Although some people swear it was that super-spicy jalapeno-laden burrito that sent them into labor, science is super skeptical of this one. You can try it, but you may just end up with a serious case of heartburn and if you do go into labor, be forewarned that you could end up puking it all right back up. And we guarantee your burrito won’t taste as good the second time around.
Acupressure is an ancient Chinese technique that claims pushing on certain “pressure points” promotes circulation in the body and cures all kinds of ailments. Devotees of the practice claim it can also bring on labor by stimulating the blood flow to the uterus which they say helps move the baby down in the pelvis and stimulates contractions and dilation. And hey, even if it doesn’t work, it’s a great excuse for a much-deserved foot massage!
Talk to the Baby
This one may seem wayyyyy out there, but some people believe that if you tell your kid to come on out, he’ll listen and do just that! In fact, some scientists believe that it’s the baby that sends a signal to the body to get labor going, so maybe there’s something to this theory. Regardless, there’s no harm in chatting to your belly even if it doesn’t work. If it does work, it may be the ONLY time in his life that your kid actually listens to you and does what you say!