Let’s talk about ways to go into labor. CAN you start labor on your own and what are some safe and effective ways to make you go into labor that you can try at home when your baby is full term?
You feel fat, you’re tired, your baby is like a parasite taking every ounce of energy you ever considered having…. Put a fork in you, you’re done. BUT, that sweet babe eating your life juices — they’re happy as a clam. They love your uterus. They want to live there forever! This post is going to give you some of the things I’ve seen work — how to go into labor.
But first, how do I know so much about going into labor?
Hi, I’m Hilary — some people know me as The Pregnancy Nurse (but I’m also the curly head here at Pulling Curls). I have 20 years of labor and delivery experience and I’ve seen SO many people wonder HOW TO GET THAT BABY OUT (including myself).
Did you know that the only step you have a bit of control in is your brain. If you’re feeling nervous or worried about labor you may be the one keeping your body from going into labor. So get prepared right here!
Note from an experienced L&D nurse: If I had a nickel for every time a friend begged me for ideas to start labor in natural ways ~ I’d have a lot of nickles…. and frankly, there is no perfect “system to make it happen”. And anyone who says they DO know is lying. Trying to find out how to go into labor is NOT a reason to call labor and delivery.
I DO know I’d never take castor oil or midwives brew (made from castor beans). I’ve seen the by-products and how LONG they continue and I’d steer clear of that one. Yuck.
Going Into Labor Disclaimers:
DISCLAIMER ALERT: **Please talk to your healthcare provider and make sure it is safe to try any of these ways before proceeding with caution. ALWAYS take your doctor’s advice over something you read on the internet. Be it here, or the 400 bajillion other sites on the internet.
*NONE of these things I mentioned to possibly help you go into labor should be attempted until you can see 40 weeks out your window. I’m talking at LEAST 39 weeks. You have to remember that ultrasound dating isn’t perfect. You don’t want to think you caused your baby to come early with lasting effects. PLEASE above all, pick a doctor you trust and whose advice you are willing to follow. If you don’t have that — you need to figure that part out and fast. Do not take ANY advice given here above the advice of your physician/midwife. You’re paying him/her a lot. Make them work for you.
What triggers Labor to Start?
Remember when you’re trying to go into labor there are three components that mostly have to agree:
- Your brain — your brain needs to say yup, let’s do this (that’s why you prepare so you don’t hold that part off)
- The Uterus — They aren’t sure but possibly it stretching to a certain point or chemical receptors somehow tell your body this baby is getting too big it needs to get out
- The Baby — The baby likely lets of hormones when it feels “ready” to be born (aka, lungs mature etc).
**Now, not always do these three things have anything to do with it, but those are the basics that put a person into labor.
A word of caution while trying to go into labor
Be SURE to do your kick counts. You want to make sure that baby is doing well. Especially as you get to the end of your pregnancy, and placental shelf life, you want to do them DAILY!
Ok, after ALL of that, let’s get down to the meat of it:
How to induce labor yourself
Will Sex Put You Into Labor?
My best idea is that the way you got INTO having a baby is the same way you MAY get out of it. You’ll probably have to be inventive for positioning and let’s just say it’s a great, sexy time. Or, at least it’s a shared experience that you and your partner will look back at and laugh. 🙂
Semen has similar hormones (prostaglandins) to induction drugs it is deposited right next to your cervix during said sexy time (FYI, there is a good chance you’ll need some of this). I have a whole post on how to go into labor TONIGHT that you might find helpful.
You’ll hear a lot of anecdotal evidence from friends about how sex put them into labor. I even have a friend who’s water (amniotic sac) broke during it (it did not end up being a sexy time, as you can imagine how that might scar your partner).
Plus, there’s pelvic rest for 6 weeks anyway — why not have a nice send-off?
There are studies that show having sexual intercourse several times leading up to your due date can increase your chance of going into labor naturally, so it could be an option. But, dates also had a similar effect!
Opening your pelvis for labor
I do think that sitting on a yoga ball (like this) and rotating your hips helps the baby find a great position to head on down to the birth canal. Most things that move your hips in new and special ways can help in that as well as help stretch them out so maybe you can have a freakin’ nap!
I don’t think walking puts you into labor, I don’t think stairs will or the trampoline. I think they’ll make you HURT. Hurting and labor are two VERY different things. Sad, but true.
What’s the difference between hurting and a contraction?
Contractions are from your uterus. They come and go. Often ligament or other pain is constant or is only relieved by positioning. Many of the ways to “put you into labor” really just make you hurt (like jumping jacks) they don’t actually get your baby out.
BTW we talk a TON about knowing if you’re having productive contractions in The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. I really aim to separate truth from fiction in that class! It’s easy to think that something you’re doing is helping (be it nipple stim, or curb walking) but in reality it’s really just making you hurt. And no one needs that!
A lot of time your uterus will get angry when you don’t drink enough water. It will make you contract.
I have a whole post that talks about what contractions feel like.
How to Stimulate Nipples to Induce Labor
Nipple stimulation will make you contract (it releases the hormone oxytocin, also called Pitocin, ~ you can read more about that here). But, if labor isn’t going to happen, this won’t push you past that bump. Either way, it gets the ol’ nip-nips prepped for the juice bar they’ll become later (it literally just is the exact way it sounds — you rub your nipples). Sounds fun, right?
And yes, stimulating your nipples normally DOES cause uterine contractions (through a release of oxytocin), but that doesn’t mean it’s going into active labor.
Similar to jumping jacks it may make you contract, but just not go into labor (at least you won’t pee on yourself while you’re doing them). 🙂
Oh, and while we’re here talking about LABOR have you packed your hospital bag:?
Foods that Induce Labor
I have yet to find any that do. Again, food might make you HURT, but hurting and labor are two very different things.
Spicy food: Mostly gives pregnant women heartburn (don’t forget these), and make it difficult to sleep (and again, hurting and contractions are 2 different things). I think it’s one of the old wives’ tales.
I have a post on if eggplant makes you go into labor.
Ways to Go Into Labor FAQ’s:
Pitocin. It is given at the hospital and needs to be monitored by trained medical personnel closely to make sure mom and baby are tolerating it well.
You create contractions that push the baby’s into the cervix to make it dilate. You can also do things that lower baby into the birth canal — like curb walking, rotating on a yoga ball, and doing exercises to open your pelvis.
Frankly, that baby and your body have to make an agreement that they’re done with each other.
The reality is that “natural methods” aren’t as good as the medical ways to induce you — which is why we use the medicine to do it. It’s not like a “home remedy” that has been proven over time.
If you truly want to induce labor (and you’re past 39 weeks), talk with your provider.
I also have a few other posts about what can put you into labor on The Pregnancy Nurse.
- Positions To Induce Labor: Best Positions To Dilate
- Can A Hot Bath Induce Labor At 39 Weeks?
- Can Prenatal Massage Induce Labor?
- How Can You Increase Oxytocin To Induce Labor?
- Can Coughing Induce Labor?
- Can Getting A Pedicure Induce Labor?
- Is Midwive’s Brew Safe? (that contains castor oil)
And of course, none of this is to even be CONSIDERED until LATE in your third trimester!
The reality is that a lot of these “old wives tales” have been tested on people a the end of pregnancy — and then (surprise) they go into labor in a few days. That’s because they’re due, not so much that the natural method really worked)
I will say I am a HUGE fan of going the full 40 (to at least your due date). However, the arrive trial (which I have a whole bonus video about in here) has shown that being induced at 39 weeks is likely just as safe as waiting for labor, if not possibly safer.
Understanding why you might want to induce labor or wait for natural labor can be a hard choice.
Frankly, a lot of labor can have some hard choices when you haven’t really thought about them in advance. The Online Prenatal Class for Couples aims to help couples navigate those choices prior to labor so they can easily make the choices when it happens. It truly is the EASY way to get prepared for labor.
Or, if you’re not quite ready for the full class, check out my free prenatal class — It’s your first step towards being your own birth boss.