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Methods to Induce Labor

What You Should Know About Inducing Labor

Are you pregnant and wondering how to jumpstart your labor? We’ve rounded up various natural and medical methods of inducing labor that Circle of Moms members have tried. Please note that you should always get an induction method approved by your doctor before giving it a go.

Keep reading.

Natural Ways to Induce Labor

If you want to naturally induce labor at home, Circle of Moms members have plenty of advice. One of the most common tips is to try stimulating your nipples. Carolyn R. explains: "Nipple stimulationcauses the same hormones to be released that they use in inductions, the same hormonal reaction caused by orgasm."

Speaking of orgasms, sex may also help induce labor naturally. Issa relays her midwife's advice: "Semen contains something that stimulates the cervix to soften and dilate." Specifically, it contains prostaglandins, which may also be given to you by a doctor trying to induce your labor.

What really worked for Issa, however, was physical activity. "I have four children," she says, "and with all four, walking around periodically all day long did the trick."

Herbal Ways to Induce Labor

In addition to the natural induction methods above, Circle of Moms members have shared several herbal methods for starting labor naturally.

One of the most widely recommended tips is to drink raspberry tea. Angela B. explains: "Red raspberry leaf teais an excellent herbal assist. It's a great ‘woman’ tea for many reasons, but especially good throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. For childbirth assist, I was told to brew a good strong quart of it (sweeten with honey if needed) and drink it to help move things along.”

Other moms, including Amy, relay that evening primrose oil caused their labor to begin: "My midwife said to take one [capsule] three times a day, then the next week two [capsules] three times a day, and then the third week three [capsule] three times a day until birth. I only made it to the two [capsules] three times a day before I gave birth."

Rachel H. also found the evening primrose capsules worked, but offered some words of caution: "Remember, primrose oil doesn't induce labor, it helps ripen the cervix. If your body isn't ready, it won't respond to the natural methods. I started the evening primrose oil at 40 weeks and five days, went into labor [at] 41 weeks exactly."

Pressure Points That Induce Labor

Massage or acupressure may be another way to get things moving along. Kristin W. shares: "Acupressure points in your ankles and the fleshy part between finger and thumb can help. (You know you've got the right spot when it feels like a period pain in your hand.)"

Similarly, Dawn G. recommends a foot massage: "There are certain spots in the feet and ankles(and hands) that may help things along, but I'd strongly advise you to see a massage therapist who is properly trained in this area."

Mia B., meanwhile, had acupuncture to help induce her first child: "It work[ed] within 30 hours, but some people take more than one treatment. It's also an awesome opportunity to have a rest while the acupuncture needles are in, it makes you feel so relaxed."

Controversial Induction Methods

You should always check with your doctor before trying to induce labor, but Circle of Moms members especially emphasize caution with castor oil.

“My midwives suggested castor oil numerous times, but I was afraid due to the bad stories about the washroom type side effects. Finally at 2.5 weeks overdue, they convinced me that castor oil would be better than a medical induction at the hospital. I did the three doses first thing in the morning, had some stomach upset throughout the day, my water broke that evening and I had him by 3 a.m., no problems all natural (except the lovely nitrous!).”

How Your Doctor May Help Induce Labor

Your doctor may also try to help induce labor. One of the common methods is stripping or sweeping the membranes. A Circle of Moms member who goes by "Little Miss Can't Be Wrong" explains: "You can have your membrane stripped at your next visit. It sounds worse than it is. They stick a finger up, and move it around past the cervix to get thing stimulated."

Another tactic could be to artificially rupture the membrane (AROM). As the American Pregnancy Association explains, breaking the amniotic sac increases the production of the hormone prostaglandin, which will speed up contractions.

Medical Procedures That Induce Labor

Tried everything and still aren’t in labor? You may just need to let nature take its course or take medication to induce labor. "I don't want to burst your bubble," says Circle of Moms member Kathryn N., "but I tried everything with my last two pregnancies to try and induce labor, and nothing worked other than having the doc break my water."

Circle of Moms members discuss two main types of medication that induce labor. The first are prostaglandins, hormones taken as a suppository in the vagina.

The second is oxytocin, a naturally produced hormone that stimulates contractions. Common brand names of oxytocin include Pitocin and Syntocinon. As Circle of Moms member Brenda D. shares: "Pitocin is the form of artificial hormone that induces labor. Cervadil is commonly used first, followed by the Pitocin."


The preceding information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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