Updated: Nov 11, 2020
The closer you get to your due date (or the further you go past it), the more excited you’ll be to get the labor process going and meet your baby! While there is nothing you can do that will 100% without a doubt guarantee you’ll go into labor soon, there are some things you can try to get your body going in the right direction. They’re at least worth a try!
You should always check with your care provider before trying any of these potential labor-inducing methods. (See my full disclaimer here.) Once you get the okay, and are at least 37 weeks pregnant, it’s time to give baby’s eviction notice!
Here are 10 simple things you can do to potentially induce your labor naturally.
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#1. Eat Pineapple
Pineapple is so delicious, so why not eat some at the end of your pregnancy? Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which may help soften the cervix and even trigger contractions. While there currently isn’t valid research to back this up, there are many mamas out there who will tell you this did the trick for them! Don’t overdo it, but just include some pineapple in your diet when you’re feeling it and see what happens.
#2. Eat Dates
Unlike pineapple, dates have some research behind them that says they’re beneficial for you in late pregnancy! Studies have shown that pregnant women who ate 6 dates per day for 4 weeks prior to giving birth had a shorter first stage of labor, greater cervical dilation, and tended to not have their water break prematurely.
96% of these women who had eaten dates went into labor on their own, as opposed to only 76% of a group of women who had not eaten any dates at the end of pregnancy. So dates probably won’t put you into labor today, but they certainly have lots of potential benefits for you and your upcoming labor, whenever it does come!
(Check out the research at https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/dates-during-pregnancy#easier-labor.)
#3. Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red raspberry leaf tea isn’t just your generic raspberry-flavored tea. It actually doesn’t taste like raspberry at all, since it’s made from the leaves of the plant. I had trouble finding it at my local grocery stores, so I ordered a few boxes from Amazon. Earth Mama is my favorite!
Red raspberry leaf tea is an herbal tea packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. In addition to all this good stuff, it has been shown to strengthen the walls of the uterus, possibly shorten labor, and prevent excessive bleeding after birth.
Some women claim that red raspberry leaf tea helped bring on their contractions once it was time for labor to start. While this is difficult to actually prove, red raspberry leaf tea still has plenty of benefits that make it worth drinking! It’s safe to have 1-3 cups a day at the end of your pregnancy - once cleared by your doctor or midwife, of coarse!
(Check out more info on this tea here at https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/red-raspberry-leaf-tea#side-effects-and-dosage)
If you're looking for a yummy iced version of red raspberry leaf tea, check out how I make mine in this related post:
#4. Bounce on an Exercise Ball
If you’re pregnant right now, get yourself an exercise ball! I love bouncing on the cute and affordable one below. It comes in different sizes, so make sure you select the size that's right for your height!
And that’s all you have to do - just sit on it and bounce. Bouncing on a ball can help your baby to descend further and get engaged into the pelvis if they haven’t done so yet. You can bounce while you watch your favorite show or some cute pregnancy films - like the ones listed in this post:
Many women claim that bouncing for a while - upwards of 1 to 2 hours at a time - has put them into labor! Just remember, your body will be ready when it’s ready, so don’t try forcing it too hard.
#5. Do Figure-8 Movements on an Exercise Ball
Once you’ve got your exercise ball, you might as well put it to use in a couple ways. Other than just bouncing, you can also move your hips in a figure-8 motion while sitting on the ball. This can help your baby to get into a better position for birth.
If you’re wondering how to do this motion, as well as other helpful exercise ball movements you can do to prepare for labor, you’ll find a helpful how-to video created by a certified birth doula in my post:
Squatting used to be a common position for our ancestors, but it isn’t so much for most of us today. Try getting into a squatting position at least a few times a day, leaning against a wall for support as needed. Holding your squat for a few seconds to a minute (whatever you’re capable of) can help your baby move down into a position more favorable for birth, as well as open your pelvis. Thanks to gravity, the added pressure of your baby’s head can help you to dilate more, getting you closer and closer to going into labor.
#7. Clean Your Windows
This is a strange one, but some women swear by it! If you’re at the end of your pregnancy, the circular motion of washing your windows can supposedly bring on labor. And if it doesn't, at least you'll have clean windows! Either way, it’s a win.
#8. Clean Your Baseboards
If cleaning your windows doesn’t put you into labor, try cleaning your baseboards. Your nesting instincts may even prompt you to do this in preparation for a little one coming into your home soon. Since you’ll be on your hands and knees while doing this, and the hand and knees position can sometimes help your baby get into a better birthing position, it makes sense that this may bring on labor for some women. Maybe you’ll be one of them!
Walking is good for you throughout your pregnancy. The more active you are, the more prepared you’ll likely be for the physically demanding task of giving birth. Walking at the end of your pregnancy can help draw your baby down further into your pelvis. If you’ve already started feeling contractions, walking can help your labor to progress as a result of your hips swaying, combined with the help of gravity.
In all your efforts to bring on labor soon, don’t forget to relax. Take a bath, read a book, take a nap, and just rest. Once your little baby arrives, you’ll be so overjoyed but also so exhausted!
Try to enjoy the end of your pregnancy, as difficult as that may seem at times. Take time to appreciate having your little one squirming inside of you, because once he or she is out, you’ll probably find that you miss pregnancy.
In the end, labor will come when it’s time, when your baby is ready and your body is ready. Trust your baby. Trust your body. It may seem like that day will never come, but whether you try all of these methods or not, the day will come.
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