How To Start Labor Contractions
Have you been googling “how to induce labor yourself?” If you’re anything like me, being 38 weeks means you can safely and gently start trying to figure out what triggers labor so you can get this party started!
After 3 babies (one being early, one being late and one being on her due date) I can safely say I’ve tried pretty much everything!
Being 38 weeks you might be searching for quick and easy ways to induce labor. 40 weeks and beyond- you may be searching for ways to go into labor TONIGHT.
This is point where I tell you I am NOT a medical professional. Please see my disclosure at the bottom of the page.
Is It Safe To Induce Labor At 37 Weeks?
A full term baby is said to be anywhere from 37-42 weeks. There is more information coming out that babies born between 37-38 weeks of pregnancy (whether born on their own or induced) face higher risks of health problems.
Wait. I know, it’s so hard by the end, especially if you’re super uncomfortable. But unless there is a medical reason, don’t start trying to induce labor unless you’re at least 39 weeks.
RELATED: What Does Labor Actually Feel Like??
Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
What Red Raspberry Leaf Tea does:
- Strengthens and tones the uterus.
- Promotes faster and healthier labor.
- Promotes quicker postpartum recovery.
- Might stimulate contractions.
- Rich in antioxidants and nutrients that are good for pregnant women.
I used RRLT in 2 of my pregnancies. I drank 1 cup per day in the first trimester, 2 cups per day in the second trimester and 3 cups per day in the third trimester. I literally took it to the hospital with me to give birth, it was my tonic and I loved it!
If you haven’t been drinking it and you’re at the end of your pregnancy- start with 1 cup to try to stimulate contractions.
For me, PERSONALLY- I truly believe red raspberry leaf tea helped shorten my labors, strengthen my uterus and shorten the time I had to push. I would never go through another pregnancy or labor without it!
With my son, my labor was under 6 hours and I pushed for 3 minutes.
YES, 3 minutes.
With my daughter, my labor was under 4 hours and I pushed for 5 minutes.
That being said, there still are not enough studies to definitely say that RRLT will either bring on labor or help shorten your labor, these are just my personal experiences.
Stimulating your nipples can cause your body to respond by releasing oxytocin which can get labor going. The video below explains how to do it correctly and not over do it!
Eat Spicy Foods
They say that eating spicy foods can irritate your intestines which may cause cramping and lead to contractions.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of evidence to support this but if you love spicy food then what the heck! Give it a try!
RELATED: Signs That Labor Is 24-48 Hours Away
Clary Sage can stimulate
the release of oxytocin which is why women also use it DURING labor. It helps to intensify contractions and promotes calming.
Clary sage is honestly one of my favorite ways to try and kick start labor. This is because I love the smell and it’s super non invasive- you just add a couple drops of clary sage to a carrier oil (like almond or grapeseed), mix them together and then rub on your belly once or twice a day.
You can also just drop a couple drops onto a cotton ball and inhale. This is the brand I know and love!
Exercises To Induce Labor
Squats, lunges and walking can all be effective in helping to coax your baby out. I once went into labor after a floor cleaning session! I was furiously mopping the floor when suddenly I realized I had stopped and was doubled over the mop having a contraction. So get active!
The video below is an actual 10 minute labor inducing work out which might be more helpful if you’d like some direction!
Birthing balls can be a great way to give your baby a nudge.
According to Healthline-
Not only can a birthing ball encourage the opening of your pelvic muscles to make room for baby, they can also help to relieve the aches and pain that come along with pregnancy.
They can also relieve anxiety and reduce the pain of labor.
This birthing ball has over 4000 positive reviews on Amazon and is under $20!
This study shows that membrane sweeping WORKS.
But, does it work every time?
No, not every time.
With my second baby I had 2 membrane sweepings and my son was still 9 days overdue. With my third baby, I had my membranes swept on the morning of her due date. My doctor looked me right in the eye and said “this baby is nowhere close to coming out, don’t hold your breath!”
So, I didn’t hold my breath and went about my day. I went into labor at 2:30pm later that day and had my daughter at 6:27!
If you’re truly ready and very safely past 38 weeks, try asking for membrane sweep. It’s kind of uncomfortable but I was always fine with it because I wanted those babies OUT!
Using Acupressure To Induce Labor
People have been using acupressure to induce labor for a long time. Unfortunately, when I dug a bit deeper, I did find a study saying that it really doesn’t do anything.
That still doesn’t mean you can’t give it a go! I certainly tried.
This video shows you where to press-
Evening Primrose To Induce Labor
Although you may be willing to try anything to meet your baby, proceed with caution when reaching for evening primrose oil, blue cohosh or castor oil. There have been studies that say ingesting any of those may actually do harm rather than good.
On the other side, there are some sources that think evening primrose oil is better than blue cohosh and castor oil because it releases prostaglandins but this is still to be taken with caution.
If you are really dead set on trying these herbs- get the green light from your doctor first!
Are you stressed out? Who isn’t at the end of a pregnancy. By reducing stress and relaxing, you’re letting your body know that it’s okay for the baby to make their debut.
So take a long, warm magnesium bath to relieve your aches and pains and calm down. And while you’re in there sip on a cup of this magical Pregnancy Sleep Tea– it’s got real coconut flakes and lavender.
Eat A Whole Pineapple
This one is kind of funny- everyone says a whole pineapple but the experts say that it would actually have to be more like SEVEN whole pineapples to get the effects of the bromelain to induce labor.
Don’t eat 7 pineapples- you’ll get a seriously upset stomach. Why don’t you try juicing them? I still wouldn’t drink the juice of 7 but maybe 2 or 3?
Dates can also be beneficial to labor.
In a study done in 2011, they found that eating 6 dates a day in the 3rd trimester of pregnancy led to a shorter first stage of labor, greater cervical dilation and a lesser chance of needing a c-section compared to those that didn’t eat dates.
So why not make a delicious pineapple and date smoothie? They were one of my go to snacks at the end of my last pregnancy. Get some big, fat, juicy medjool dates and treat yo’self!
Have SEX? At the END of PREGNANCY? If that’s your reaction- me too. Oy vey.
But hey, if it’ll get the baby out I’m game to try!
The prostaglandins in semen help to ripen the cervix and get it ready for labor. They actually use synthetic prostaglandins to induce labor so I think they’re on to something there.
It might be a combination of the prostaglandins, orgasm and tightening of the uterine muscles that can stimulate labor.
Try it and try to enjoy it- sex after baby is a whole other ball game.
Proven Ways To Induce Labor At Home
- Have sex but make sure he ejaculates inside the vagina- the semen is what contains the prostaglandins which can bring on labor. Tilt your hips up to let gravity help the prostaglandins get to your cervix!
- Go for a walk but not so long that you’re exhausted.
- Stimulate your nipples.
Take All Of This With A Grain Of Salt
Your body will not go into labor unless it is ready. As much as I want to tell you that one or all of these things can 100% cause you to go into labor…
These things may have caused me to go into labor or it was something that I happened to do right before I would have gone into labor anyway.
When googling “how to induce labor,” and wanting to try everything, it’s so easy to find things that you will take as the absolute truth because you are desperate.
Slow down, try things because they are fun and don’t do the nasty ones if you don’t want to.
Try To Enjoy The Last Little While
The last few weeks are hell. You’re tired, you’re huge, you’re just DONE.
Obsessing is not fun, especially if you have other children to contend with. I was so bad for this, I just couldn’t let it go and wait. I tried everything I could with each pregnancy to just HAVE THIS BABY ALREADY.
And looking back now, this attitude is so sad. You may never be pregnant again. Yes, it’s so good for it be over and meet your baby but looking back now-
I miss being pregnant.
There is a magical side to it that you only have for 9 months. And even though the last few weeks feel like eternity, they’re not. Enjoy the squirms and hiccups and the feeling of that beautiful connection before you meet your lovely baby.
If you haven’t taken a prenatal class- there’s STILL time!
Hilary has been an OB nurse since 2001. She’s full of knowledge, super down to Earth and funny. You can take her online prenatal class from the comfort of your home.
I WISH I had taken a better prenatal class than what was offered at the hospital. They didn’t tell me about skin to skin or delayed cord clamping or natural birth techniques. You can grab your prenatal class here. (use the code PC10 for 10% off :))
Did anything specific work to bring on labor for you? Let me know in the comments ❤