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.
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).
If you’re really looking to go into labor, your first step is getting prepared. Let’s get your brain ready to have this baby, so when your body gets it together it can start!
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.
How to go into labor:
**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 it.
Special 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
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 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?
Of course, it is likely to do something for your mucus plug.
Did you know that YOU might be one of the reasons you’re not going into labor? If you’re scared or nervous about going to the hospital, taking a prenatal class can help you relax into labor more.
Opening your pelvis for labor
I do think that sitting on a yoga ball 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, I hope you’ll join me to get prepared for your hospital birth!
A lot of time your uterus will get angry when you don’t drink enough water. It will make you contract.
Those contractions can be very painful, but they are not labor. So — to make sure that you are pain-free (and only having TRUE LABOR contractions), make sure you stay hydrated!
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.
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
Frankly, that baby and your body have to make an agreement that they’re done with each other. Sadly, I think my 5-year-old is still bitter about that agreement — but it was made, and she was born. 12 days late.
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.
I also have a few other posts about what can put you into labor on The Pregnancy Nurse. Including, if you can go into labor when you’re sleeping, if coughing can induce labor, if a warm bath can help put you into labor, and if prenatal massage can induce labor. And of course, none of this is to even be CONSIDERED until LATE in your third trimester!
I will say I am a HUGE fan of going the full 40 (to at least your due date). I doubt we understand what an early induction can cause later in life. I’m not willing to risk it, and ACOG is in agreement.
If you liked this post, and are looking for more information on pregnancy/postpartum, check out ALL my pregnancy posts! If you’re looking for information on induction, Pregnant Chicken has a great post on it, written by yours truly. 🙂 Also, if you’re planning on a medical induction — The Pregnancy Nurse has a ton of information on inductions.
I have a whole page all about answering the question “am I in labor?” — you don’t want to miss that!
You might already be in labor and not even know it! 🙂
I’ve also got a When Will I Go into Labor Quiz that you might find fun to take!
BUT let’s make sure you get the WHOLE truth in The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. Remember it can be done in just a few hours and comes at 3 price points to help on any budget!
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.
Maribel Carbajal says
In your opinion what’s the best way to induce for labor?
Hilary Erickson says
It really depends on your unique situation.