Top 10 Ways to Speed Up Labor After Your Mucus Plug Falls Out
Well, you’re near the end of your pregnancy and whoo hoo! Your mucus plug fell out. Who knew we’d be celebrating mucus so happily? Anything that means baby is coming is cause for celebration- say pregnant women everywhere. Lol.
This list is for you if you are safely past 39 weeks and your mucus plug has fallen out. Although many women deliver before 39 weeks, it’s wise to let nature take its course until then.
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Let’s get right into it- the top ways to make labor come faster after losing your mucus plug:
1. Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
What Red Raspberry Leaf Tea can do:
- Strengthen and tone the uterus.
- Promote a faster and healthier labor.
- Promote a quicker postpartum recovery.
- May stimulate contractions.
- Give a boost of 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.
2. Eat a Whole Pineapple
What they really mean is- eat 7 or 8 WHOLE pineapples to get the effects of bromelain (which can bring on labor.) But don’t do that. You’ll get an upset stomach and maybe other unpleasant side effects.
Enjoy some pineapple and maybe it will help bring on labor, but don’t eat too much just to start it.
3. Stimulate Your Nipples
Beware- this is one way to induce labor that actually works.
This study shows that 50% of women who tried nipple stimulation went into labor the next day. 37.5% of the women went into labor by 2 and by day 3, 33% had gone into labor. It works! So use carefully!
Here’s how to do it properly:
4. Eat Dates
Eating 6 dates per day in the 4 weeks leading up to childbirth can shorten the latent phase of labor, increase cervical dilation and lessens your chance of having an emergency c-section.
In this study, they found that women who consumed dates 4 weeks prior to delivery had a much shorter latent phase of labor (510 min) compared to non-date eaters who had a longer latent phase of labor (906 min).
Grab some really juicy and fresh dates to munch on as a healthy snack and to bring on labor!
5. Do Some Labor Inducing Exercises
Squats, lunges and birthing balls- oh my! These are the trifecta of bringing on labor. I remember waking up early in the last couple of weeks before my son was born and lunging across the living room or doing tons of squats. If you’re wondering “How long should I do squats to induce labor?” the answer is however long you’re comfortable!
If you haven’t done a single squat till now- don’t do a 100. Start with 10 and build up from there.
Here’s a 10 minute labor inducing workout:
6. Try Clary Sage Oil
Clary Sage oil should only be used past 39 weeks and with caution. Always talk to your doctor before trying things in pregnancy.
Clary Sage can be used to start uterine contractions. Mix a couple of drops into a carrier oil and massage onto your belly. Alternatively, drop a couple of drops onto a cotton ball and inhale deeply.
This study shows that Clary Sage can boost the presence of oxytocin aka the labor hormone!
7. Have Sex
Yes, it’s true that sperm contains labor inducing hormones called prostaglandins. Although the studies on whether or not this brings on labor are limited, there’s nothing wrong with giving it a try.
Having an orgasm can also start uterine contractions.
8. Use a Birthing Ball
There are specific exercises you can do with your birthing ball to encourage labor to start naturally:
- Bounce on the birthing ball for a few minutes at a time.
- Sit on the birthing ball and sway your hips in a circle while keeping contact with the ball the whole time.
- Hold the birthing ball straight out in front of you and then as you squat, raise it above your head. Repeat as many times that works for you.
9. Try Acupressure
There are certain pressure points on the body that can be utilised to induce labor or reduce pain during labor:
Located on the inner leg, 4 finger widths above the ankle and behind the shin bone. Press firmly with your thumb and massage in a circular motion.
This one is best to have your partner help you.
Located in the center of your two butt dimples and straight up from the top of your butt crack. Measure your forefinger from the tip to the middle knuckly. Place the knuckly on the top of the butt crack and apply pressure just to the sides of where the tip of the finger rests. You’re searching for hollows that are firm but have no bone. Apply pressure firmly with your thumbs.
Located in the fleshy part of your hand between the thumb and forefinger. Lightly press all your fingers and thumb together. The LI4 point is the fleshy part that bulges out a bit between your thumb and finger. Open your hand and apply pressure to that part.
10. AVOID Herbs to Try to Induce Labor
There are herbs mentioned to try to induce labor at home but these should be used with caution. Always speak to your healthcare provider before taking herbs– especially during pregnancy.
Evening Primrose Oil
Even though evening primrose oil is often mentioned in relation to labor induction, there is not enough evidence to conclude that evening primrose oil does in fact help to start labor. I’m going to leave a link to this study because they mention that taking evening primrose oil can actually do more harm than good.
Black Cohosh has been used for controlling menopause symptoms and relaxing or stimulating the uterus.
This herb can be downright dangerous- do not use at home. Talk to your doctor if you’re thinking of trying it. This study showed the possibility of Severe Hyponatremia (dangerously low sodium levels.)
How dilated are you when you lose your mucus plug?
This really depends on the woman and pregnancy. Your cervix may dilate up to 3cm when the mucus plug falls out or it may be less.
I lost my mucus plug during my second pregnancy the evening before I went into labor. I wish I knew how dilated I was but I’m not sure. All I DO know is that I lost it around 6pm and my water broke around 2am. My son was born at 9:30am that morning.
How long after losing mucus plug did you go into labor?
With my second pregnancy, it was exactly 8 hours from the time I lost my mucus plug to the time I went into labor.
With my third pregnancy, I lost my mucus plug early, around 35 weeks. I was worried I was going to have an early baby but after doing some research, I learned that your body can actually regenerate the mucus plug if it comes out too early.
The point being- it could be hours to weeks before you go into labor after losing your mucus plug.
Should I walk after losing mucus plug?
As long as you’re past 37 weeks, there isn’t much you need to change in your day to day life before baby arrives. Walking, sex and taking baths are all still fine because your cervix keeps producing mucus after the mucus plug falls out.
If you lose your mucus plug before 37 weeks, give your healthcare provider a call and let them know. They may want to do an examination just to make sure things are going smoothly.
What can you eat to dilate your cervix faster?
- Spicy food
- Eggplant parm
- Raspberry leaf tea
How long can you be 3cm dilated?
The early phase of labor lasts until you’re 3-4cm dilated. For first time moms, this can last 6-10 hours! If you’d given birth before, expect it to last 2-5 hours.
How do you know if membrane sweep worked?
The signs that a membrane sweep has worked are exactly like regular labor signs:
- Water breaking
- Loss of mucus plug
- Bloody show
- Weight loss
- Extreme fatigue
- Loose stools
- Back pain
- Cervix ripening
Sometimes it’s obvious after a membrane sweep that- yep- things are happening! And other times there are no clear signs that labor is going to begin.
I got a membrane sweep during my last two pregnancies. My son was a week overdue when I went into labor but I’m unsure of when I got the membrane sweep before that. It could have been days or about a week.
With my daughter, I got a membrane sweep on her exact due date. My doctor told me she was nowhere near ready to come out but I went into labor without warning around 2pm that day! I was fine and then suddenly having serious contractions. She was born 4 hours after the first contraction.
What does it look like when your mucus plug comes out?
It can look different for everyone but the two I noticed looked like (sorry, this is gross) big globs of snot in my underwear. The second had streaks of brownish tinged blood.
If you google “what does the mucus plug look like?” you can see some mucus plug pictures to get an idea of what they look like. They’re intense- you’ve been warned.
Can cervix dilate without losing mucus plug?
No, once your cervix starts dilating you will lose your mucus plug. Whether that’s at 1, 2 or 3cm dilated is anybody’s guess. Every pregnancy and body is different. You might lost your mucus plug in bits and pieces, making it hard to know if you’ve lost it or not.
How many times can you lose your mucus plug?
You may not lose your mucus plug all at once. It may happen gradually, making you less likely to notice.
Surprisingly, you can lose your mucus plug more than once. Your cervix will reproduce one if you lose it too early. I lost my mucus plug at 35 weeks with my third baby! It was shocking and I was worried until I read that it’s normal and will regenerate.
It can be a sign of pre-term labor though. Listen to your body and ALWAYS call your doctor if you’re unsure of anything.
Can your mucus plug fall out in the toilet?
Yep! It sure can. You’re more likely to notice it when wiping or in your underwear. It can certainly fall into the toilet as well, in which case, you may not notice it.
What exercise can I do to open my cervix?
The most effective exercise to open your cervix is to simply walk. Baby’s head will push down while walking because of gravity and encourage your cervix to dilate (if you’re close enough to labor and delivery.)