Playing The Waiting Game

The nursery is decorated, the toys are all in place and you have neatly ironed a small mountain of dinky outfits -- now all you need is your baby. But while you eagerly await the onset of your labour, your little one seems to have other ideas. Your due date has been and gone and you're still as big as a house. So is there anything you can do to get things going? While the jury is still out on many DIY induction methods, we take a look at some of the most effective natural ways to induce labour.

pregnant woman stomachSex

No, this isn't just a myth invented by men -- sex might actually help to kick start your labour. Semen is a potent source of prostaglandins, which encourages the cervix to soften and open. Not only that, the hormone oxytocin, which is released by your body when you orgasm, may also encourage your labour to begin.

Don't worry if you are feeling too uncomfortable or exhausted to even entertain the idea of a night of passion, semen can also be collected in a diaphragm or condom and held against the cervix for a similar result.

Castor oil

Castor oil is a powerful laxative that triggers contractions by irritating the bowel and may induce labour in up to 57% of women. However, the diarrhoea and vomiting that are likely side effects make this induction method very unadvisable.


This traditional Chinese method involves inserting extremely fine needles into specific areas. The acupuncture needles are thought to stimulate energy within the body, and some studies have suggested this method may be an effective way of inducing labour. Always visit a train professional if you would like to try this technique.

Nipple stimulation

Nipple stimulation is an age-old method of natural induction. The oxytocin produced by nipple stimulation may cause labour to begin in women whose cervix has already begun to soften. To perform this technique, press your palm against your areola and move it in a firm, but gentle circular motion. Only massage one breast at a time, stimulating the nipple for 15 minutes and then moving on to the other breast. Repeat the process three times each day and stop as soon as contractions are three minutes apart or more than one minute in length.


Walking and movement can increase the amount of pressure placed on the cervix by the baby's head and can help to get it into the right position for labour. Bouncing on a birth ball may also encourage your baby to engage, which could help your labour to begin sooner.


The two most common remedies are Pulsatilla and Caulophyllum. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the use of homeopathy may encourage labour to begin for some women, although this has not yet been supported by research.

Important note – always consult your midwife or doctor before attempting any natural induction techniques. You should also wait until you have reached your due date before trying to induce your labour.

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Accupressure for labor induction

Tags: inducing labour labour natural induction methods

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