Natural Labor Induction
The following natural labor induction techniques are much less risky than drug induced labor. Use the techniques early in the day when you are well rested.
Before attempting to induce labor, even using natural induction methods, you should remember than any induction technique is still an intervention and should be used with caution. Discuss any techniques you intend to use with your practitioner before using. The following natural induction techniques are less dangerous than drug induced labor, but it is best not to use any of them unless you have already reached your due date. Use the techniques early in the day when you are well rested. Another thing to keep in mind is that many of these techniques will not work unless your body and the baby are ready for labor. The same cannot be said with medically-induced labor.
Here are some common and some not-so-common ways to induce labor naturally:
1. Walking. Stay active. This can help the baby engage and can encourage contractions to start.
2. Bumpy Car Ride. If the baby is not already in position, this can help.
3. Sexual Intercourse. Semen on the cervix and having an orgasm can both stimulate labor.
4. Nipple Stimulation. This is one of the safest forms of induction because it uses the mother's natural oxytocin. Apply warm compresses to your breasts and alternately stimulate each breast manually or using a breast pump for 15 minutes each until contractions begin.
5. Relax. Anxiety alone can delay the onset of labor.
6. Visualization. Get quiet and relaxed, and imagine your uterus contracting as well as the process of labor.
7. Acupressure. The three main acupressure points for encouraging labor are: the roof of your mouth just behind the ridge behind the teeth, four fingerwidths above the inner ankle, between the thumb and forefinger.
8. Pineapple. If it doesn't give you heartburn, eating lots of pineapple is reputed to begin labor.
9. Spicy Food. Again, only use this if it won't give you heartburn.
10. Cumin Tea. This is used by midwives in Latino cultures. Traditionally, a raw cube of potato is added to the tea, but the reason for this is not known.
11. Natural Prostaglandins. Borage oil, evening primrose oil, flax seed oil, and black current oil all ripen and soften the cervix and increase the flexibility of the pelvic ligaments. You can take the capsules orally or put one or two in the vagina to melt. Use directly on the cervix only if the amniotic sac is still intact. These will not start labor. They only prepare the cervix.
12. Herbs. Black and blue cohosh are common herbs for inducing labor, but these should not be used if a woman is anemic or has a history of postpartum bleeding.
Combinations of false unicorn, black haw, and wild yam can be useful. Goldenseal is an herb that should be used with extreme caution for starting labor. You should only use this if you are two weeks past your due date and want to avoid synthetic drugs. Goldenseal can be EXTREMELY effective and the full effects of it are not known.