What are Some Ways to Induce Labor?

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  • Written By: Jessica Hobby
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2019
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It would be ideal if no woman that went through pregnancy didn’t have to worry about inducing labor, however this is not the case. Different ways to induce labor are performed either naturally or with physician intervention. Even the women that claim that they love being pregnant are ready for birth to take place and hope for labor to begin once their baby has reached a safe age for delivery, usually at 38 weeks. These women look for natural ways to help the birthing process commence, while some women will need their practitioner to aid them. Physician intervention typically occurs when some aspect of the mother’s or child’s health is at risk.

For impatient, irritable women who just want their pregnancy over with so they can meet their new little bundle of joy, there are a several natural ways to induce labor. Even though a doctor does not have to perform or even be present when natural labor induction techniques are attempted, it is recommended to always discuss these methods with a physician prior to giving them a try and natural induction techniques should not be attempted prior to the 40th week of pregnancy. One of the most common ways to start labor is by walking. Walking enlists the help of gravity to move the baby into birthing position, possibly causing enough pressure to induce contractions and the added exercise is just a benefit.


Another one of the most popular ways to induce labor naturally is by having sexual intercourse with your partner. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of women that are 40 weeks pregnant do not enjoy sex because it is awkward and uncomfortable. Regardless, it may cause successful induction because a male’s semen contains prostaglandins that may cause contractions in pregnant women.

A less pleasant way to speed up the labor process may be achieved by ingesting castor oil. A small dose of one to four ounces (30 to 120mL) will cause intestines to spasm. These spasms can cause the uterus to cramp which may lead to contractions. To lessen the horrid taste of castor oil, it can be mixed with fruit juice or water. Some women also claim that eating their favorite spicy food was the magic trick that induced labor for them, but this technique is only for the brave because it could cause severe indigestion and induce vomiting instead of instead of labor.

In the event that a pregnant woman becomes overdue by one to two weeks, her practitioner will most likely induce labor. Doctors may choose to induce labor prior to 41 weeks if the baby has gotten too big, if the mother has gotten preeclampsia, if there are problems with the placenta or amniotic fluid, if the mother develops an acute or chronic illness that will put her life or the baby’s life in danger, or if the water has broken and labor hasn’t begun on its own. The first step of physician induced labor starts with placing a small pill or amount of gel containing prostaglandins in the cervix, often referred to as “gelling the cervix.”

If gelling the cervix doesn’t work, one of the other possible ways to make labor start requires stripping or rupturing the membranes. Stripping the membranes is done when the doctor manually separates the amniotic sac from the uterus which releases prostaglandin and can help cause productive contractions. Rupturing the membranes, commonly referred to as “breaking the water,” is done when the doctor inserts a hook into the pregnant woman’s vagina and ruptures the amniotic sac. In cases where none of the aforementioned ways to induce labor work, a physician will intravenously administer a synthetic form of oxytocin, called pitocin, as a final step to induce labor prior to considering a caesarian section.


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Post 3

@ElizaBennett - I felt exactly the same way as week 41 approached. I started researching ways to induce labor at home. The best advice I got, though, came from my mom. She said not to even try! She said just relax, get as much sleep as I could, take a hot bath, go for a walk only if I felt like it. So I just chilled. I went out for one last nice dinner with my husband, hung out on the couch with the cat, that kind of thing. When I did go into labor, I was pretty tired from it being so hard to sleep, but I'm sure I was better prepared than if I had been torturing myself with five-mile walks and castor oil.

Post 2

As @icecream17 suggested, walking and sex won't do any harm. (My midwife said there aren't any really effective ways to induce labor on your own unless the baby is about to come anyway.) But I tried castor oil and it was SO not worth it! I wound up spending half the day on the toilet. I wished I had just said yes when the midwife suggested stripping my membranes! I was so uncomfortable, I was ready to try anything, I guess.

Post 1

I know from my experience, walking and participating in sexual intercourse are safe ways to induce labor.

They also make the actual labor experience easier. Women that have been active throughout their pregnancies tend to have shorter deliveries.

Other proven ways to induce labor involves the drug pitocin. Pitocin is an IV drip drug that is administered to a women to soften the cervix and move the labor along. The contractions tend to get stronger but the labor process is shorter. These are really guaranteed ways to induce labor.

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