29 Effective Home Remedies to Induce Labor Naturally

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Home Remedies to Induce Labor Naturally

The worries around pregnancy never end. At first, you are concerned with birth control and infertility, then with pregnancy itself only to find that you start worrying when you cross 38-40 weeks of pregnancy. You expect to start labor contractions but nothing is happening. Normally, when a woman passes her due date, it is considered an overdue pregnancy. Nonetheless, it is not really dangerous for the mother or child if the delivery is delayed by 5-10 days. However, it is a pregnancy warning sign when parturition is overdue by more than 2 weeks. If you are wondering how to induce labor at home or start labor contractions, then we’ve got you covered. Our home remedies to induce labor naturally are all the tips you need to know.

home-remedies-to-induce-labor-naturally

Points to Remember before using Natural Methods to Induce Labor

Seek advice from your doctor and take note of the following points before trying any of the natural ways to induce labor:

  • If the pregnancy is a high-risk pregnancy or if you have any notable medical condition, then avoid inducing labor naturally.
  • Keep your hospital bags packed and also keep your doctor informed before using any labor stimulator medications or herbs.
  • For partners, take extra care of a pregnant woman when inducing labor naturally. When her water breaks, take her to the hospital immediately and do not continue with the induction process.
  • Keep in close contact with a certified therapist or midwife if you are following any of the natural ways to induce labor at home.
  • If you fail to start contractions early, pause before repeating the process or trying out any other method.
  • Don’t try to induce labor before the 40 weeks’ gestation period has passed. Before this, the fetus is not completely matured and ready for birth  (12).

how to induce labor at homeHome Remedies to Induce Labor

1. Sex

sexThe process of labor induction begins with the ripening of the cervix. When this happens, the waters can break, dilation starts and labor begins.

The chances of cervical ripening increases when a full-term pregnant woman continues to have sex with her partner.

Sex triggers the release of oxytocin which is a key hormone that induces labor. The semen also contains prostaglandins that ripen the cervix and cause it to dilate (3).

Note

  • If you suffer from placenta previa or any other complications with your pregnancy, then you should avoid sex.
  • The chances of dilation are high when a pregnant woman has intercourse. If the waters break, go to hospital immediately.
  • If you suffer from vaginal bleeding, sex is not a recommended natural labor induction option.
  • Due to a lack of gathered evidence, sex as means to induce labor has not been medically proven either way (4).

2. Nipple Stimulation

nipple stimulationThis is the second most recommended way to induce labor. Similar to having sex, nipple stimulation also increases the release of oxytocin which can start labor contractions (5).

This is a simple yet very effective method which involves stimulating the nipples (areolas) in the same way a baby suckles while nursing.

If you want to know how to stimulate nipples to induce labor, it is very simple.

Massage around your nipples for at least 15 minutes and stimulate one nipple at a time. Repeat this process for about three times a day to increase the oxytocin release in your body (6, 7).

Note –  Take breaks between nipple stimulation exercises. Do not repeat this process for more than three times a day.

Use a fragrance-free moisturizer to massage around the nipple. Rubbing your nipples with bare fingers can become sore and painful after a while.

3. Castor Oil

castor oilYou can drink castor oil to induce labor contractions. Castor oil stimulates your gut and uterus to cause the first contraction (9).

Castor oil has been traditionally used as a remedy to induce labor. It is available in the form of capsules, juice, a solution used in colonic irrigation (10).

Note – Do not drink more than 60 ml of castor oil as it can cause diarrhea in pregnant women, leading to dehydration and loss of energy.

Castor oil can also lead to fetal bowel movements. There is not enough evidence pointing either way on the effectiveness and safety of castor oil.

In some studies, it has been found that this oil only causes nausea and diarrhea, not labor (11).

4. Acupuncture

AcupunctureAcupuncture is an ancient remedy to induce labor that has been used for thousands of years.

In this method, thin needles are inserted into the specific points of the body. This triggers the activity of uterus.

This method also reduces the pain involved in the natural parturition (13, 14).

Note – Consult your midwife or doctor before using the acupuncture labor induction method. Follow this method only when your due date is close, or when your due date has passed.

The possibility of labor induction with acupuncture is very high, so do not to try it, if your pregnancy is not full-term.

5. Dates

datesThe effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labor and delivery is well documented.

Recent research has revealed that eating dates during third trimester is one of the more effective natural ways to induce labor.

Women who consumed 6 dates a day for four weeks started contractions earlier compared to women who did not eat them.

Dates also make your contractions longer leading to higher cervical dilatation. As a result, the first phase of labor is shortened.

When women eat dates during third trimester, the chances of spontaneous labor are also very high (15).

Note – Do not eat too many dates as they may upset your stomach. In addition, eating date fruits may produce a higher amount of body heat, so drink a glass of boiled milk along with the dates.

It is not recommended that you eat dates in the first or second trimester without consulting your doctor.

6. Walking

walkingIf you want to know how to open uterus mouth for delivery naturally, then, as simple as it sounds, walking maybe for you.

Walking is also one among the natural ways to induce labor. If you want to know when to start walking to induce labor, the answer is as soon as you feel your first contraction.

Walking after your first contraction shortens the time interval between your contractions.

When a full-term pregnant woman walks, her baby’s head is pressed hard towards her cervix which helps ripen it. Walking also encourages the baby to pass through the cervix.

Try not to exhaust yourself by walking fast as it causes energy loss.

You need to save your energy for the other stages of labor, so stay energetic and hydrated (16, 17).

7. Pineapple

pineapplePineapple contains bromelain. Bromelain is an enzyme which is thought to soften the cervix and the neck of your womb, speeding up labor.

There is not a huge amount of direct research into the benefits of pineapple to induce labor, but lab experiments show promise.

In one lab study, pineapple extract was tested on donated strips of human uterine muscle as well as rat uterine muscle.

The researchers found that the pineapple extract induced strong uterine contractions in both the rat and human tissue. (19)

Also, there is plenty of evidence that bromelain reduces inflammation in pregnant women after childbirth, especially when breastfeeding. (20)

Note

  • Eating too much pineapple may cause diarrhea in pregnant women. Do not drink pineapple juice.
  • Avoid canned pineapple as it destroys the bromelain content in the fruit.

8. Climb Stairs

stairsThis method is not recommended for women with a high-risk pregnancy, but it is an effective method to start contractions for a normal pregnancy.

Climbing stairs helps position the baby correctly and also gives more pressure to your cervix to cause waters to break.

Try to climb stairs often when you are overdue, but ask your doctor before doing it. As said earlier, don’t exhaust yourself by climbing stairs. Listen to your body. (20).

9. Evening Primrose Oil

primrose oilEvening primrose oil or EPO is a great cervix ripening agent (21, 22).

However, the consumption of EPO tablets is recommended only after the 36th week of pregnancy to ensure contractions start on time.

When eating EPO tablets do not work out, insert 2 EPO tablets of 500 mg directly near your cervix before you go to bed.

There is a very strong chance that the cervix ripens and waters break when you get up in the morning. You need to have your midwife nearby when you use an EPO tablet for labor induction.

10. Spicy Foods

chillipepperIt is believed that eating spicy food can induce labor naturally.

It is thought that spicy food can cause contractions as spicy food increases the production of the hormone prostaglandin. This hormone is known to speed up labor.

Many women tend to avoid eating spicy food since there is a myth that eating spicy food can affect the hair growth of the baby.

Eating spicy food as the due date approaches can actually help in cervix ripening (24).

11. Acupressure

acupressureJust like acupuncture, acupressure can also increase the chances of natural contractions when you are close to your due date.

There is decent evidence that acupressure does work to induce labor. It assists with ripening the cervix for labor (25).

Seek out expert advice or take recommendations from your midwife for this treatment option.

Wait at least 24 hours between sessions before repeating the process as acupressure takes at least 12 hours to work.

12. Massage

head massageMassages not only induce labor but also keeps nausea and vomiting at bay when contractions happen.

Massages can relieve an expecting woman from stress and energy loss during labor. Take a massage from an expert masseuse in order to induce labor  (26, 27, 28).

13. Warm Bath

bathA warm bath can also induce labor (29). But the temperature of the water should not be very high.

Too high a temperature will cause the baby stress. You can also add 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil to the bath water to relieve stress.

14. Balsamic Vinegar

balsamic vinegarThere are a lot of myths surrounding herbs and remedies to induce labor.

Balsamic vinegar is probably one of them. While there is some anecdotal evidence that it works, there is no direct evidence or research.

However, we include as balsamic vinegar as a natural remedy to trigger labor as it is so popular.

Besides which, the vinegar is absolutely delicious

Add balsamic to your salad.

15. Bananas

bananaBananas are a rich source of potassium in your diet.

It has long been known that potassium can stimulate muscle contractions.

Eating a potassium rich diet can help induce natural labor (30, 31).

Note:

  • Do not overeat bananas.
  • Avoid consuming potassium supplements as they can be noxious if taken incorrectly.

16. Dancing

dancingAs with stair climbing, dancing can help position the baby correctly and also gives more pressure to your cervix to cause waters to break.

Dancing is also a great way to induce labor, but, without stating the obvious, be careful.

Ensure that you just move your body but do not strain yourself  (32).

17. Swimming

swimmingSwimming is another exercise that increases the chances of early muscle contraction.

Again, the gentle body motions that you go through while swimming help position the baby, putting pressure on the cervix.

Try swimming to naturally induce labor once your due date is passed.

18. Squats

squatsSquats are the final exercise for those who want to know how to open uterus mouth for delivery naturally.

Squats will help move the baby to the down position and fix his/her head, ready for labor (33).

19. Wine

wineThere is plenty of internet-based stories about the ability of a daily glass of wine to help induce labor. There is, however, no research linking the two.

We include it as a home remedy to induce labor simply for completeness. Alcohol is known muscle relaxant so in our opinion, wine could indeed have the opposite effect on labor induction. i.e reducing your chances.

Herbs to Induce Labor

Before you use any herbs to induce labor, keep in mind that FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does not regulate the herbalist sector.

Therefore, the purity and potency of herbs that are purchased from different companies may vary considerably.

These herbs may also comprise of chemicals or preservatives. Intake of high doses of drugs may have an adverse effect on your health.

If you are already taking medications, some herbs may counteract their effects. Thus, you are recommended to seek advice from your midwife or physician before you use any herbal remedy.

20. Raspberry Leaf

raspberry leavesRaspberry leaf acts as a uterine tonic to stimulate labor. Tea of this herb softens the cervix and helps in natural labor

Studies suggest that raspberry leaf does shorten labour with no identified side effects for women or their babies.

Research also indicates that women who take raspberry leaf are less likely to receive an artificial rupture, require a caesarean section, or forceps or vacuum birth. (35).

21. Basil

basilBasil is an ’emmenagogue’ herb. Emmenagogue herbs are used to improve blood flow in the uterus. They can also help with menstruation.

Basil also increases blood circulation which is very important for healthy pregnancy (36).

Basil is also used in some cultures to induce labor and late periods.

Add more basil in your food, and also drink basil tea twice as a method to bring on contractions.

22. Licorice

Licorice rootLicorice contains prostaglandin which plays a vital role in inducing labor (37, 38).

In one study, it was shown that exposure to the active compounds present in licorice did not significantly affect birth weight or maternal blood pressure.

However, the study also showed that licorice consumption was associated with lower gestational age and pregnancy term. (39)

23. Motherwort

motherwortMotherwort prevents false labor or irregular contractions. The herb is a soothing uterine tonic and helps the body prepare for labor, making childbirth easier.

It also alleviates false labor pains and prevents miscarriages.

It can be taken in the form of pill or tea to onset labor.

24. Fenugreek

fenugreekFenugreek has a long history when concerned with labor induction. It has been used as herb to start contractions as far back as Roman times.

Research published in the 2003 “Alternative Medicine Review.” found that fenugreek causes uterine stimulation in animal tests.

Fenugreek encourages uterine contractions and proves beneficial to induce childbirth.

Tea to Induce Labor

There are plenty of types of tea to induce labor. Drinking cumin tea, ginger tea, thyme tea, cotton root tea can all help start early labor contractions.

Always check with your midwife or doctor before using any herbal tea. Your doctor will suggest when you should begin and how often to drink the herbal tea.

25. Cumin Tea

cumin teaAdd 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds in a cup of boiling water. As cumin is bitter in taste, add a small chunk of raw potato to reduce the bitterness.

Strain the tea and drink it. This herbal remedy will help contract the uterus.

26. Ginger Tea

ginger teaGinger is a traditionally used herbal medicine (40). Drink ginger tea to encourage labor.

You can also consume spicy ginger cookies.

27. Thyme Tea

thyme teaThyme is a popularly used herbal medicine among pregnant women (41).

Steep fresh thyme leaves in boiling water to prepare tea. Drink it to induce labor pain.

28. Cotton Root Tea

cotton root teaCotton Root tea induces labor and increases contractions during parturition.

It also boosts up the production of milk in the nursing moms.

29. Cinnamon Stick Tea

cinnamon teaCinnamon stick tea is given to a pregnant woman close to her due date.

Cinnamon stick tea can ripen the cervix faster to cause early water breakage.

Note- We take great pride in ensuring that all our home remedies are carefully researched. However,  we still strongly recommend that you to take advice from your doctor or midwife before consuming/applying these home remedies.

14 COMMENTS

    • As well you should be, leave the medical decision to the professionals. Your labor will start once the baby’s lungs are fully developed. Don’t do anything unless your doctor recommends it.

    • The castor oil will only make you poop your brains out, the ginger can cause bleeding. Try a dose of patience. relax and enjoy the time you have left to take care of your baby the easy way.

  1. Don’t do anything to induce labor without consulting your doctor first. Ginger is not recommended, repeat NOT recommended for pregnant women, it can increase the risk of bleeding. There is no indication that it will induce labor so before you are foolish enough to try and fool mother nature consult with your doctor first. Maybe a good dose of patience would be the best remedy instead.

    • This page was written for women who are trying to induce labor naturally and were already given the advice to consult their caregivers before attempting any of them. Posting replies to every woman telling them that they are stupid or foolish for considering natural induction is unnecessary and instead makes you look foolish. If you have only negativity to spread around, you should keep your opinions to yourself. I suggest perhaps starting a blog or joining a forum if you want to share your negative thoughts because this isn’t the right place for that.

    • This upsets me these women are probably like me coming here because 41 weeks or more is actually dangerous for both mom and baby and when your doctor says unless you can get labor started on your own they won’t do anything it scares you. The negativity you throw around doesn’t help the women any except by causing stress which to all the pregnant women out there stress isn’t good on any of us so I advise in the future you restrain being negative to women seeking help.

  2. OK so I dilate really slow naturally but I am at a four after almost a week my contractions are 2 mins apart strong and consistent but they keep sending me home because I am not progressing fast enough both my other 2 they gave me pitocin I don’t want to be induced any ideas to speed up dilation sex has helped but my husband just started a new job today and won’t be home until late

    • 1 word. Orgasm. If you bring yourself to orgasm it’ll cause contractions. Actually how I got mine started. Also on the raspberry leaf. I found making a strong cup of the tea with 4 tea bags and bouncing up and down has helped. Just got my 20 minutes apart contractions to move to 10 minutes apart. Hooray. Also I know this is late but maybe others will see this and it’ll help them.

  3. I used fennel and black cohash, this seemed to do the trick, also a ride down a bumpy road is is one of the oldest tricks in the book, that works! But I have a girlfriend who is 40 weeks has tried just about all he natural ways to induce labor, sex, walking, stairs, squats, we even stacked wood yesterday! But to no avail little miss is still snug as a bug 🙂
    The last few weeks are the truest test of the mothers patients. Blessed be and never fear, just think and use your head 🙂

  4. You should wait until your doctor tells you it’s okay. At that point they will provide you a list of things you can try. Ask my doctor did. Other than that your risking your baby life an or development .

  5. 41 weeks and my doctor won’t induce me because even though they know the baby is fully developed they still want me to spend even more money on even more tests that aren’t even going to say anything that the others haven’t. I’ve got the okay from my midwife however that if I can make myself go into labor or dilate at least a certain amount that they’ll have to induce me so I’m trying the remedies that my mom did and they helped her have a safe and natural delivery as had she waited any more my siblings would’ve died.

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