It can be quite frustrating for pregnant women to be ‘overdue’ during pregnancy. Yet it happens very regularly; especially with a first pregnancy. Although the baby will come when it’s time, there are a number of things a pregnant woman can do to (possibly) induce labor. Read all about it in this article!
The sense and nonsense of inducing labor
Only a small percentage of all pregnant women actually give birth on their due date. The vast majority give birth before or after that date; most after. In the final stages of pregnancy, waiting for the baby can be quite frustrating; especially when the leave has started and the days are filled with ‘waiting’. It is good to realize that a baby needs all the time to grow in the belly; a birth simply cannot be forced. Inducing labor yourself is therefore not really an option; it would be better to talk about ‘stimulating’ contractions. A pregnant woman whose cervix has not yet ripened has virtually no ability to induce contractions. The body is just not ready for it yet. And even if the cervix is ripe, there are many doubts about remedies/actions that can induce labor. The tips and ideas below should therefore not be taken too seriously.
Although some women really don’t want to think about it at the end of pregnancy (or it is simply no longer feasible from a practical point of view), having sex with the partner can induce contractions. It is common knowledge that there is a certain ‘substance’ in a man’s semen that can induce labor. The question is whether this ‘substance’ can do enough to induce contractions after one intercourse.
As a pregnant woman you can turn to the world of homeopathy to induce labor. For example, there are tablets (or drops) of VSM that could induce contractions. The name of the homeopathic remedy is Caulophyllum, and is intended to ripen the cervix. The tablets (or drops) can be taken from week 37. Their effectiveness has never been proven, but there is no harm in taking them. It can be difficult to get the drug from the pharmacy or drugstore, as most pharmacies or drugstores require it to be specially made (it is not in stock).
Raspberry leaf tea
This tea could help induce contractions, but is mainly intended for after childbirth. Recovery after childbirth could be accelerated by drinking raspberry leaf tea.
There are a number of ‘pressure points’ in the body that are in contact with the uterus. By stimulating these pressure points, contractions could be induced. For example, a pressure point is located at the heel of a pregnant woman. Other pressure points can be found around the breasts, nipples and arms. So a good massage can help.
Food and drink
Certain foods could induce contractions, such as pineapple. The ‘heart’ of pineapple contains a substance that can induce contraction. However, the substance could also cause a baby to poop into the amniotic fluid at birth. Spicy food could also trigger labor, mainly by ‘getting the intestines going’. Finally, drinking Bitter Lemon also seems to help.
Sufficient exercise is always useful at the end of pregnancy; whether it helps induce contractions or not. Sometimes pregnant women are inclined to lie in bed or sit on the couch a lot during their weeks of leave. A relaxing walk or bike ride can be very good. Sometimes it is even recommended to drive fast over bumps (by bicycle or car), but the effect of this is not entirely clear.
A remedy that was sometimes used ‘in the past’ to induce contractions is castor oil. Castor oil is terribly dirty to drink, but it puts the intestines into action almost immediately, allowing contractions to occur again. Castor oil is available at most drugstores. The effect of castor oil is usually not very pleasant; the intestines are working overtime and a pregnant woman can lie awake at night from the many rumblings; without result.