Most moms will agree that the last weeks of pregnancy can be the worst. You’re uncomfortable, you’re ‘over it’ with pregnancy, and you just want to meet your little person already!
Your baby will not come until he or she is ready, which is good because your little bundle of fun should bake as long as possible. However, at around 39 weeks most moms will try just about anything to get things moving along. While there is no sure-fire way to induce labor the natural way, these tips and tricks are thought to help jumpstart the labor process. Many of these are considered old wives’ tales and may not actually work, but they are fun to try and help pass the time during those seemingly endless last pregnancy days.
So, the day before I went into labor I tried all of these things… Coincidence?! At 39 weeks 4 days we had our bouncing baby.
A good excuse to pamper yourself! I actually told the pedicurist that my intention was to jumpstart labor with a nice foot massage and whatever he could do would be much appreciated. He laughed at me a little but then got down to business. Whether you are trying to start the labor process, flip a breach baby, or just trying to relieve some stress, stimulating certain pressure points on the foot can benefit any pregnant woman.
So the rumor is that spicy food can irritate the intestines, causing uterine contractions, and thereby triggering labor. Seems like a stretch… but it served as a perfect excuse for me to basically down an entire spicy Chipotle burrito in one bite. Yum!
I worked out like crazy during my pregnancy, and kept going strong right up until the day I went into labor. That morning I performed 100 weighted squats and walked a mile on the treadmill. Worked like a charm! Walking helps the body relax and alleviate anxiety, which is known to prepare the body for labor. Squatting works alongside gravity to push your baby downwards, thereby helping induce labor naturally. And climbing stairs is a great way to open up the pelvic region so baby can drop right into the birth canal. Whatever your exercise of choice may be, the important thing is to just get moving!
Raspberry Leaf Tea
Raspberry leaf is thought to tone the muscles of your uterus so they work more efficiently. Drinking this magical tea has been known to help labor move along more smoothly and progress at a nice and steady pace. It is therefore safe to start taking weeks before you go into labor. At around 37 weeks, I started drinking about 2-3 cups per day, mostly because I actually liked the taste.
When you experience an orgasm your uterus actually contracts. Not exactly like the contractions that will occur during labor (because let’s face it, no one would ever want to have sex again!) but your body releases oxytocin during an orgasm which instead causes joyous contractions. Pitocin, the synthetic form of oxytocin, is often used in most hospitals to induce labor. Ipso facto, having regular orgasms should in theory jumpstart labor… Hey it’s worth a shot, right? Also, sperm contain prostaglandins which can help soften and dilate the cervix. So it’s a win-win!
Nipple stimulation is also known to help induce natural oxytocin. So, try to incorporate the nipples in your daily bump and grind! OR if you are bored and looking for a fun solo activity… You can whip out the breast pump and give it a good trial run (which is great practice if you have never used one before) or you can just tinker with your nips while watching the boob tube. Another positive that comes from giving your nipples more attention, is that they become tougher, which is incredibly helpful for breastfeeding down the road.
The thought being, you will bounce your baby deeper into the birth canal which should hopefully induce labor. Again, seems kind of far fetched, but those exercise balls are pretty fun and they are surprisingly comfortable to sit on because they help alleviate pelvic pressure. If you don’t have an exercise ball handy, then you can also take a nice bouncy car ride on a slightly bumpy road. However, I would definitely advise investing in an exercise ball because it is also nice to have in the hospital during labor (again- to help with all that pelvic pressure)!
Many tropical fruits including pineapple, kiwi, mango and papaya contain enzymes that may cause mild contractions – especially pineapple which is rich in Bromelain, which some studies suggest can help to soften and ripen the cervix. However, this is only the case with fresh pineapples, so no canned fruits allowed! But you would have to basically eat your body weight in pineapple for this to really have any effect. Another food many women swear by is eggplant parmesan. In fact, there is an old-fasioned Italian restaurant in Cobb County, GA called Scalini’s which is world famous for their Labor-Inducing Eggplant Parmesan. Nearly 300 baby pictures decorate the restaurant walls as proof! Click here for the recipe.
Dancing is another fun activity that can be quite effective in pushing that bouncing baby out into the world. Any kind of dancing will do, but specifically hula and belly dancing are said to stimulate the uterus. So get up and move ladies. If you need some motivation, you can watch this amazing pregnant woman below dance to ‘Thriller’ in hopes of inducing labor.
Bake Some Cookies
These spicy gingersnap Labor-Inducing Cookies should help do the trick. They contain just the right amount of oomph to get baby moving down there. And they are super yummy! Just bake, gobble up, then lay back and wait for the magic to begin.
Good Luck Mommies!