Around 39 weeks of pregnancy, all your gestational bliss (or persistent discomfort) becomes totally intolerable as you eye your due date and obsess over meeting your newborn. The notion of natural induction becomes very appealing. For centuries, women have tried dozens of natural methods to get labor going. Here are a few that moms swear by.
Try having sex
When you're at or past your due date, sex may not sound like fun or even like a possibility. If intercourse is out of the question, try flying solo. For some women, the small contraction of an orgasm can help kick labor into gear. For more determined efforts, take your time and try having intercourse in a position that's comfortable for you and your partner. Keep in mind that it may take a few times to do the trick. Many couples enjoy sex throughout pregnancy, but it's okay if you don't want to or are too uncomfortable to try. As with any method of natural labor induction, check in with your doctor first, especially if your pregnancy is high-risk.
Find the right food
There are hundreds of myths about foods that induce labor. While there's no scientific evidence behind theories like eating eggplant Parmesan to induce labor, there's no harm in trying, as long as you're not upsetting your stomach. Some women swear by using castor oil, but this isn't something you should try without the supervision of a doctor or midwife. Becoming physically ill can lead to dehydration and exhaustion. Try eating spicy foods, but don't overdo it. If you have more of a sweet tooth, give fresh pineapple a try or eat spiced ginger cookies.
Walk it out
The easiest (and easily most boring) method of inducing labor is to walk. That's it. Just walk as much as you feel comfortable doing, keeping in mind that you shouldn't tire yourself out. This method probably won't encourage your water to break or push you right into active labor, but it helps your body with the earliest parts of labor. Try to use this time to relax and de-stress. Think about how your walking is helping your baby descend and your body prepare for childbirth. Try walking at the mall or at a big store, or have a friend walk with you around your neighborhood.
Visit an acupuncturist
In some parts of the world, acupuncture has been widely used to help induce labor in full-term pregnancies. If you're nervous about the idea of acupuncture, keep in mind that the needles used are hair-thin. You generally won't feel anything more than a gentle tapping sensation. Talk to acupuncturists in your area about treatments, including acupressure and massage that may help your labor begin. Keep in mind that the results won't be instantaneous. If anything, you'll get some relaxing, quiet time to yourself.
Keep your mind off waiting
Ultimately, waiting until it's time is the only surefire method of inducing labor without medical intervention. If popular methods don't appeal to you, try to spend the final days of your pregnancy doing things that distract you from waiting for labor to start.