Waiting for Baby part II: Encouraging Labor Naturally

In part one of this post I discussed whether you (and baby) are ready for baby to come into the world.

In part two, I’d like to offer some helpful ideas about how to gently encourage labor to start, if you are both ready. There is no guarantee they will work, but it doesn’t hurt to try!

labor induction

Pamper yourself
Stressing about when the baby is going to come – or that your doctor is threatening induction in a weeks’ time – is counterproductive. Now is the time to do something to relax. Perhaps have a soothing bath, plan a romantic evening with your partner, have a massage or reflexology session, or spend some time outdoors in nature. Do whatever it takes to feed your soul.

Take time out
As hard as it is, try not to focus too much on waiting. We are so used to having things happen on a schedule that it is hard to just let go and wait. Plan something fun for tomorrow. Go to your favorite restaurant (hopefully baby will have moved down a little to make more room in your stomach!), see a movie, or go shopping – do anything that you love to do and takes your mind off the waiting.

Get your partner involved
Having a romantic evening with your partner will produce oxytocin in bucket loads. If you feel like it, making love and having an orgasm can encourage uterine contractions. And semen contains prostaglandin which helps soften the cervix.

Try supplements and foods
Throughout history, pregnant women have used a variety of foods and herbs to begin and prepare for labor. Bromelain is found in pineapple, which can help soften the cervix. To induce labor, women have used balsamic vinegar, eggplant, various spicy foods and herbs like evening primrose. Drinking red raspberry leaf tea during late pregnancy is reported to tone the uterus and shorten the second (pushing) stage of labor. These methods, while not proven to work, are reported to be helpful by many women. You should consult with your care provider before using any herbal supplements to make sure they are safe for your use.

Go out for a walk
Walking is a great way to encourage labor to start. It encourages baby’s head to find its place in the pelvis, increases pressure on the cervix to start softening, and dilation.

Consult a professional
Hands-on stimulation using reflexology, acupuncture or acupressure can also be helpful.  Consult a homeopath as to what remedies can help, too.

As a maternity reflexologist I have had many successful sessions to help clients who are ready to go into labor. Frequently I find the relaxing effects of a session to be the most beneficial. Adding specific trigger points and stimulating relevant reflexes can also encourage labor to start, sometimes within a few hours.

I’d like to share the story of one of my clients – pregnant with her first baby and nearly two weeks past her due date – which illustrates the need to be ready, both emotionally and mentally for birth (detailed in part one). My client enjoyed her session and felt very relaxed, and then at the end said that she had never liked her obstetrician and felt this had been holding her back. Just by finally voicing this, she was able to accept it and let it go. She went into labor that night.

So enjoy these final few days of pregnancy, you will be holding your gorgeous new baby before you know it!