DISCLOSURE: Please check with your medical provider before attempting any of these methods of Natural Ways to Induce Labor. Also, do not perform any of these methods of induction prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy.
I am currently 36 weeks pregnant and I am SO over it. This is my third pregnancy and just knowing the fact that I went three and seven days over my due date with my other two babies, I know I have a few more weeks to go.
It’s hard to think about. I am just so ready to meet my sweet baby girl.
I’ve tried almost every natural way to induce labor with my other two pregnancies but still ended up going over my due date. Although now that I am researching all these induction methods I realize that I was doing most of them wrong. Yikes.
I was scheduled to be induced with my first two kids but ended up going into spontaneous labor with both. Read on below to find out which methods ended up putting me into labor!
Around 37 weeks I will be attempting Natural ways to Induce Labor like Evening Primrose Oil, walking and the exercise ball. Towards 38 weeks I will be trying the membrane strip and at 39 & over I will be attempting (almost) all the other methods.
This post contains affiliate links. This means if you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my own. Read my full disclosure here.
Let’s dive into them, shall we?
1. EVENING PRIMROSE OIL
Evening primrose oil is extracted from the seeds of the Oenothera Biennis Plant. Historically, people have used it to treat wounds, sore throats and digestion problems. You can purchase it almost anywhere but I get mine here.
Many midwives (including mine) suggest to start taking EPO orally starting at 37 weeks of pregnancy. The idea is that EPO prepares the cervix for labor. While it probably won’t start contractions within a few hours it can help prepare you for upcoming labor. At 38 weeks my midwife had suggested to take 1 EPO vaginally along with 2 orally. I’m not sure if it did anything but it definitely didn’t put me into labor right away.
2. MIDWIVES BREW
Midwives Brew is a mixture of natural ingredients that are believed to help induce labor at home.
With an 85% success rate, Midwives Brew has been used by women for centuries and is trusted by many to induce labor within 24 hours.
From what I understand this drink is considered safe to take as long as it is taken when you are already full term in pregnancy; at least 39 or 40 weeks, but I would strongly advise you to inform your doctor before trying it. Side effects can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and painful contractions.
The Brew is best taken at room temperature or warm on an empty stomach. Many women agree it is more tolerable if you drink with a few ice cubes. Drink needs to be finished within 30 min for best effect.
I personally would only use this method if I was desperate. See the recipe below.
3. SEVEN MINUTE ACTIVATE LABOR WORKOUT VIDEO
This 7 minute Activating Labor video on YouTube has over 2 million views for a reason. If you are capable of doing the workout with an enormous belly then go for it! I might give it a try. But at the very least take a look at some of the comments, they are hilariously relatable. You might laugh so hard your contractions will start that way! But here are some comments with positive results:
“At 40 weeks 4 days pregnant, I did this video for the first time. 7 minutes later, my water broke. 4 hours later, my son was born! I think this video helped! Thank you!“
“So this really works. I’m 38.5 weeks pregnant and was supposed to get induced but I wanted to try to take matters into my own hands. I started these excercises yesterday and did two sets morning and night. Started contractions that night. Water broke at noon today. And I’m at the hospital as I’m typing this. Good luck mommas!!.;]”
“Adding my testimonial. My water broke 2 hours after this workout. Definitely don’t do this if you’re not 100% ready to welcome your baby 😂”
4. CASTOR OIL BY MOUTH
Midwives have suggested castor oil as one of the natural ways to induce labor. Since castor oil is a laxative the idea is it will stimulate the bowels thus stimulating the uterus to start contractions. However, there’s not much medical evidence to support claims that it will in fact start labor. It does however carry some risk like the side effect of diarrhea as well as causing the baby to poop inside. If you are desperate, can tolerate the taste and are willing to take the risk, then be my guest! Let me know if it works for you!
5. CASTOR OIL BELLY RUB
HOW MY SECOND PREGNANCY LABOR STARTED:
This is it ladies and gentlemen, this is the induction method that put me into labor during my second pregnancy. I was 40 weeks + 2 days pregnant and I was scheduled to be induced the next day at 8 PM. That day I attempted to stay active all day long. Around 11:30-12 PM I did the castor oil belly rub and then promptly went to bed. I woke up at 1 AM with contractions and gave birth at 2:37 PM before my scheduled induction. Two of my sisters have also tried this method with positive results.
HOW TO DO THE BELLY RUB: The nice thing about this method is you are not consuming the castor oil. For best results find someone to help you and do this right before bed. What you will do is lay down on your back with your feet elevated. Rub a generous amount of castor oil all over your belly. Cover your belly with a wet warm-hot washcloth/towel. Have your partner or whoever is helping you hand you a new warm-hot towel as soon as yours cools down. Do this for a minimum for 20 minutes. Wash your belly off once you are done & then go to sleep (See #21 below for why it’s best to try this before bed).
Around 38 to 39 weeks of my first two pregnancies I ate an ungodly amount of pineapple. So much to the point of my mouth feeling raw. I read that eating pineapple can start labor. I should have done more research though because apparently it’s the pineapple CORE that contains the enzyme bromelain that starts labor. This enzyme is believed to help soften the cervix and trigger contractions. I don’t know of anyone personally who has had luck with this method. Apparently you would have to eat 7 or 8 pineapples (including the core) for it to actually work. I imagine eating that much pineapple may cause a few uncomfortable side effects like an upset stomach or never wanting to see another pineapple again.
7. EGGPLANT PARM
This one is an oddball. This is a recipe from Scalini’s, an Italian restaurant in Georgia whose eggplant parm is famous for sending hundreds of women into labour within 48 hours of eating it. What about it stimulates labor? The ingredients apparently can “indirectly produce contractions” by stimulating digestion. Interesting. Might be worth a try. If nothing happens at least you had a delicious meal.
The idea for this one is simple; gravity may help your baby drop father into the birth canal. The increased pressure could help your cervix dilate. I’ve seen women walking up and down stairs and even walking with one foot on a curb and one on the street. Basically any movement to get your hips to move around and help the baby descend.
9. EXERCISE BALL
Exercise ball, Yoga ball, Birthing ball, so many names. There’s a reason they have these bad boys at the hospital to help you with your labor. Research shows that using a birthing ball during labor will significantly reduce pain – I remember using the ball during labor but it didn’t do me too much good pain-relieving wise. This method is also proven to help speed up dilation of the cervix. It makes sense, you bounce on it and baby drops further into your pelvis causing dilation from pressure on the cervix.
10. SPICY FOOD
A very popular theory: Spicy foods bring on contractions by stimulating your stomach/digestion which in turn stimulates your uterus to start contractions. I haven’t known anyone personally who has had success with this method – just get a nasty case of heartburn. But it may be worth a try if you are desperate. I’ll be honest, I see myself trying this method in a few weeks. Bring on the antacids!
Oxytocin. The same hormone that gets the baby in will get the baby out. Not sure how much research there is supporting this theory but it can’t hurt to try (I think). The other theory is that the sperm contains substances called prostaglandins which help ripen the cervix.
12. NIPPLE STIMULATION
Ok, so this method is backed by scientific research. I’ve never tried it myself but hey, if I get desperate I might give it a shot. Massaging the nipples releases the hormone oxytocin which helps initiate labor. I’ve also heard of people using breast pumps as an alternative to massaging. You do whatever you can tolerate.
13. MEMBRANE STRIP
I’ve gotten the membrane strip during the 38th and 39th week of my second pregnancy. For me it was uncomfortable but not painful. My sister tried it also and she said “I almost died on the exam table.” Ouch.
Stripping the membranes involves your doctor or midwife sweeping their finger between the membranes of the amniotic sac in your uterus. This motion helps separate the sac & stimulates prostaglandins which helps start labor. Since no medicine/drugs are involved it is still considered a natural way to induce labor.
My midwife informed me while it may not start my labor, it can help avoid going too much over my due date. Another person stated it will cause you to give birth within four days of your due date.
The first time my midwife did my membrane sweep my mucus plug came out the next day. But no labor. I will still be attempting the membrane sweep induction method this time around. Most likely at 38, 39 and 40 weeks.
14. PRENATAL MASSAGE
Prenatal massages can help naturally induce labor if the therapist is focusing on reflex and certain acupressure points. I’ve heard some massage therapists decline to give pregnant women massages in fear they may put them into labor too early. I would definitely give this one a try. If anything at least you’ll come out nice and relaxed.
I wouldn’t recommend to try this one on your own (hah!). However, licensed acupuncturists can attempt it by placing thin needles at specific points in the body to induce labor. I’m unsure of how well this works as I have never tried it. My thought process is the less needles the better, especially if you are already planning on getting the epidural.
16. WARM BATH
Warm water has been found to promote relaxation, we all know that. Relaxation may enhance your oxytocin levels which helps labor progress. It’s worth a try. The more relaxation the better!
The idea behind this is pretty much the same as walking. By dancing you are helping the baby descend into the pelvis causing dilation because of the pressure on the cervix. Easy enough. If that doesn’t work, perhaps if you are dancing aggressively enough it may break your water. Look it up on YouTube, it’s pretty cool.
HOW MY FIRST PREGNANCY LABOR STARTED:
I would say this is how I put myself into labor during my first pregnancy. I wasn’t dancing or exercising at the moment though.. but let me tell you what happened. It was 11 or so at night and I was sitting up in bed getting ready to go to sleep. I leaned over (twisting my body at the waist) to put my phone on charge on my nightstand when I felt something POP right around my belly button. All of the sudden I felt something leak out of me. I waddled to the bathroom, sat on the toilet and listened to the water trickle out of me. I knew 100% my water had broken. Sure enough, my contractions followed about an hour later. I went to the birthing center around 8 AM where they confirmed it was in fact amniotic fluid.
Maybe it wasn’t exercise per say but it was that twisting/leaning motion that did it for me!
18. FOOT MASSAGES & PRESSURE POINTS
Another natural way to induce labor is a foot massage. There is a point located on the foot called the Kunlun point. You can find it in the depression between the ankle and the Achilles tendon. If you apply light pressure to it and massage the point for a few minutes it can promote labor and ease labor pain. This is so easy you can do it yourself at anytime. I may give it a shot closer to 39 weeks.
Even before I was ever pregnant I kept seeing this natural way to induce labor on Pinterest. Something about eating dates can help not go over your due date. Upon further research, it is found that eating dates in late pregnancy may increase cervical ripening which reduces the need for a medical induction.
20. LABOR COOKIES
Cookies! Who doesn’t love cookies? Probably one of the more enjoyable natural ways to induce labor. The recipe for these cookies is a mix of several ingredients that are believed to start labor (Cinnamon, Ginger and Cayenne Pepper). See recipe below & enjoy!
My first and second pregnancies had labors that started at night. Apparently it’s not uncommon for contractions to start at evening to nighttime. This is because of a surge of the melatonin hormone (the relaxing and sleeping hormone). This hormone interacts with oxytocin to promote contractions. Melatonin doesn’t just help trigger labour but also helps our uterine muscles to work better during the final stages of birth. This is one of the reasons why it is advised to labor in dim lighting and a relaxed setting.
22. BUMPY CAR RIDE OR SWING
The idea behind a bumpy car ride or swinging on a swing is the same thing. It may help the baby drop further into your pelvis. Long story short, baby comes out faster.
Most of these methods come with risks so be sure to consult with your doctor before trying any of them.
Also head over to my Amazon Storefront to see my recommended Baby Products, Pregnancy Must-Haves, Baby Girl Items, Baby Boy Items, Etc.
Know of a natural way to induce labor that I have not mentioned? Share below in the comments! I’m obsessed with everything pregnancy, labor and delivery related so I would love to hear your story!
Also if any of these methods work for you please let me know!!
Follow me on Pinterest! I’m very active on there!