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Natural Labor Inducers

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Labor Inducing Techniques

Learn about some of the more popular labor inducering techniques.

Toward the end of pregnancy, nothing is more uncomfortable than well...being pregnant. Most women experience a host of symptoms including excessive fatigue, swelling and sometimes increased leg cramps and sleep problems when they near the end of pregnancy.

Almost everyone starts to think of ways you could naturally encourage or induce your body to go into labor toward the end of pregnancy. Realistically speaking, no labor inducing technique will work unless your baby is ready to come out. That means your baby has to be ripe for the picking.

Here are some of the more popular labor inducers tried by women:

  • Walking -While walking won't necessarily start labor, it can encourage labor to progress if you've started early contractions. Walking is often also good for encouraging a head down baby to settle into your pelvis. This will help dilate and efface your cervix.

  • Intimacy - This is my favorite natural method of labor induction during pregnancy. Men's semen contains prostaglandins, which are necessary to help ripen your cervix. Your cervix must thin and dilate for you to have your baby. I think this is a beneficial form of natural induction that also helps relieve stress for both mom and daddy.

  • Evening Primrose Oil - EPO contains the precursors to prostaglandins, substances your body needs to produce prostaglandins to help ripen your cervix. Some midwives rub evening primrose oil directly on the cervix during the last weeks of pregnancy to help the cervix thin and dilate. Keep in mind that placing anything in the vagina during pregnancy may increase your risk of infection and is not recommended.

  • Castor Oil - I do not recommend you try castor oil, though you will likely read much about it. Castor oil is nothing more than a laxative. It stimulates your bowels, which may irritate your uterus causing contractions. If you are not already dilated and effaced somewhat however, chances are you will just end up sitting on the toilet for hours after taking castor oil.

  • Spicy foods - These have the same effect as castor oil, but are a more gentle way of stimulating your bowels. You may get serious heartburn however, from eating spicy foods so try them at your own risk!

  • Blue and Black Cohosh -These are herbal remedies that when used together may help induce labor or help strengthen contractions. You should never use them however without consulting a qualified herbal or health care professional. There are some studies suggesting blue cohosh may damage your baby's heart or lead to uncontrollable hemorrhaging in the mother. A better bet is to stay away from these potentially dangerous herbs.

  • Aromatherapy -Certain essential oils including clary sage may help promote or encourage labor contractions in women. Try adding a few drops to your shower.

  • Acupuncture and Massage - There are many trigger points in the body that can help inspire labor. Seek the help of a qualified masseuse or acupuncturist during pregnancy for help with these.

Many women go into labor just by relaxing. Sometimes pent up stress and anxiety are all that are necessary to prevent labor. You may find a relaxing massage is all you need to go into labor simply because it allows your body to relax enough to encourage delivery!