Normally it takes about 40 weeks of pregnancy for a baby to come to life. This period is different across people as it must depend on each pregnant woman’s condition. Studies showed that most women give birth within 14 days before or after their presumed due date. As the due date may be late, all the plans of the future mothers, such as when to go back to work or when to hold a baby shower may not work out as expected. In this case, many pregnant women try to speed things up by using home remedies to induce labor in a natural way. In this article, Effective Remedies will introduce some reliable ways to jump-start the labor contractions naturally at home so that you can effectively and safely welcome your baby on time.
The recipes we've focused on are traditional home remedies that can be used alongside usual medical treatment. Always consult your doctor about recurrent infections, and if symptoms are getting worse rather than better.
- 30+ Best Ways to Deal with Anemia in Babies, Adults, & During Pregnancy
- 22 Easy Ways That Work to Relieve Your Motion Sickness (Medically reviewed by Dr. Julian Nesbitt)
- 15 Natural Remedies For Morning Sickness For Expectant Mothers (Medically reviewed/fact checked by Perpetua Neo (DClinPsy, UCL; MPhil, Cambridge))
12 Simple-but-Effective Home Remedies To Induce Labor That Work
I. When To Induce Labor
It is common for overdue pregnancy happens, as a due date is just an estimation. Only in certain cases, your doctor will recommend you stimulate the uterine contractions for both your and your baby’s health. If you are in the following circumstance you should consider applying different stimulating method, including home remedies to induce labor:
- If it has been 2 weeks from your due date and there is no sign that the labor will start (post-term pregnancy)
- If the placenta has been peeling away from your uterus inner wall before delivery (placental abruption)
- If our water has broken already, but the labor hasn’t started, which is known that premature rupture of membranes
- If the growing pace of your baby is not as expected or the baby has stopped developing at all (fetal growth restriction)
- If you are suffering from high blood pressure or diabetes
- If you suffer from an infection in your uterus
- If you have trouble with medical conditions such as obesity or kidney disease
- If the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby is not enough (oligohydramnios)
II. Things To Remember
Although home remedies are natural, all types of labor induction may result in cesarean delivery and some other emergency interventions. Thus, there are points that you should consider and seek advice from your doctor before trying to induce labor by yourself at home.
- Inducing labor through all means is not recommended for high-risk pregnancy and mothers with significant medical condition.
- Prepare hospital bags and inform your doctor before applying any herbs for labor stimulation.
- Pregnant women should be in good condition and receive extra care while inducing labor. Once the water breaks, let stop the induction process and take the pregnant women to the hospital immediately.
- Have a certified therapist or someone with experience at home if you want to adopt any home remedies to induce labor to prepare for any potential cases.
- In case you want to repeat the process or switch to other methods, take some time for your body to get ready.
- Do not use any induce stimulating methods if your pregnancy is not over 40 weeks as, before this period, the fetus is not ready to get out and maybe at risk.
III. Home Remedies To Induce Labor
Labor begins when the cervix ripens, allowing water to break and dilation to start. Having sex is a good way to increase the chances of cervical ripening. Pregnant women can try having sex with their partners as sex motivates the releasing of oxytocin, resulting in labor inducing. Sperm also contains natural prostaglandins that help release oxytocin, soften and dilate the cervix.
Note: This method isn’t suitable for people who suffer from placenta previa or other complications with pregnancy. Especially, if vaginal bleeding happens, sex is not a good choice to induce labor. Once the water breaks, take the pregnant woman to the hospital immediately.
EffectiveRemedies Partner Solutions
Ask a Doctor Online and Get Answers in Minutes, Anytime!
Have medical questions? Keep asking questions to a Verified Expert until you get the answer you need.
2. Nipple Stimulation
Like having sex, nipple stimulation is very effective in jump-starting the contraction by emitting oxytocin. This process is similar to the way a baby sucks milk while nursing. Let massage your nipples one by one for 15 minutes and repeat the process no more than 3 times per day to induce labor naturally. You should also avoid using fragrance-free moisturizer as it can cause sore and painful feeling when massaging with bare fingers.
Since thousands of years ago, acupuncture has been used as a useful remedy to induce labor. It can not only trigger the movements of the uterus but also reduce the pain resulting from natural parturition. However, you had better consult your doctor before applying this home remedy. As the power of acupuncture is strong, the probability of labor-inducing caused by this remedy is very high. Therefore, you should only choose this method if your due date is close or has passed. Do not use it in case your pregnancy hasn’t been full term.
Acupressure can work well as acupuncture in stimulating the contractions and helping women get labor when they reach their due date. Practitioners found that this home remedy can ripen the cervix and start the labor. You will need help from trained acupressure professional for proper instruction. As it takes at least half a day (12 hours) to bring effects, make sure that you wait at least 24 hours before repeating the process. You had better seek recommendations from experts to get things done perfectly and avoid potential risk.
Physical activities are believed to be always the best choice for labor exercising. Walking is the first option to stimulate contractions. It is found that walking when you got the first contraction can shorten the interval period between contractions. Especially, in the last term of pregnancy, the baby’s head moves toward the cervix. If the pregnant woman walks 30 minutes every day, the baby’s head gets pressed hard and ripen the cervix, encouraging the baby to go through the cervix on time. Just remember not to spend too much energy on walking and get exhausted. Walk at a slow speed and save energy for the other stages of labor. You may try to walk up a steep hill to get the same effects.
Besides walking, you can try dancing if you are good at it or swimming as these activities help stimulate the muscles contraction. Squats are also effective in moving the baby into the right position and fixing his/ her head for easier and earlier laboring
6. Climbing Stairs
This exercise is recommended for women to practice during normal pregnancy but not for those with a high-risk pregnancy. It helps the baby to be in the right position and put more pressure on the cervix, leading to quicker water breakage. Thus, when you are overdue, you should climb stairs more frequently after getting the permission of your doctor. Just don’t waste all your energy and make yourself exhausted.
Massaging is one of these activities recommended for inducing labor at home. It relaxes your muscles and shows your body that it is time to start the labor. It also reduces the possibilities of nausea and vomiting happening during contractions. If you get massaged by an expert masseuse, you can get stress relief and avoid energy loss during getting labor. This method may require 2 or 3 times of practising before offering the labor stimulating.
A study has found that women who eat date fruit at later stages of pregnancy experienced early contractions than those who didn’t. Therefore, the date fruit is one of the suggested natural ways to induce labor. It also keeps the contraction longer, resulting in higher cervical dilatation and a shorter first phase of labor. Eating six dated per day at the third trimester will increase the chances of starting labor. There are three things you should remember when choosing date fruit. First, control the date fruit consumption to avoid upsetting your stomach. Second, the amount of heat may be higher due to eating date fruit, so you can get yourself a glass of milk to reduce the heat. Lastly, if you are considering using date fruits in the first or second trimester, you need your doctor's permission.
9. Castor Oil
Castor oil is an essential oil extracted from the castor bean. According to a study in 2018, castor oil has been linked to a higher probability of labor initiation within 24 hours. It is a safe home remedy for labor induction. You can use castor oil in the form of juice, capsules, or a solution. 60 ml of castor oil is the suggested amount to avoid severe diarrhea during pregnancy, which leads to extreme dehydration and the loss of energy. Fetal bowel movements may appear as one of the side effects.
10. Evening Primrose Oil
Another great cervix ripening agent you can try at home to induce labor is Evening primrose oil (EPS). This oil contains a chemical that can be converted to prostaglandins, the same element found in semen. You can try to take EPO tablets twice a day if you are over the 36th week of pregnancy. In case eating EPO cannot offer the expected effect, you can try to rub it directly to your cervix or insert the capsules inside before sleeping. The moist environment and warm temperature can melt the EPO capsules easily into a gel. The recommended amount is 2 tables, equaling 500 mg of EPO. As the gel can leak, remember to wear a pad before going to bed.
One thing you should know before considering herbs as home remedies to induce labor. The purity of herbs sold in different companies may vary a lot due to the preservatives and chemicals they contain. The high consumption of herbs, therefore, may cause unexpected or even adverse effects for your condition. Moreover, if you are taking medications, herbal remedies can result in side effects. For that reason, you had better consult your midwife or physician before choosing to use any herbal remedy. The following herbs are recommended for you to induce labor.
- Raspberry Leaf
The consumption of raspberry leaf may help women to shorten labor time without any identified side effects. Therefore, this herb is often used to stimulate the uterus and prevent the possibility of post-date pregnancies. You can use it to make tea at home because it is safe for both mother and baby. Once again, you need to ask your health care before using this remedy.
12. Herbal Tea
A lot of herbal teas can be used to induce labor, including ginger tea, cotton root tea, cumin tea, thyme tea, and dry ginger tea. You can have a look at these following options to have more options. Your doctor can help you to choose the most suitable herbal tea and when or how to use it.
- Cumin Tea
Although there is not enough specific data, herbalists, midwives in Latino culture have used cumin tea for pregnant women who had no sign of contraction at the end of the term for years ago. Cumin tea was found to start contractions quickly in several conditions. This tea also helps users deal with insomnia and treat other sleep disorders. To make this tea, you just need to put one tablespoon of cumin seeds in a cup of hot water, strain to get the tea and enjoy it to contract the uterus.
- Cotton Root Tea
Cotton root tea has a milder action to induce labor as it can increase early contractions during parturition. It is highly suggested for women to ease the pain happening in labor. Consuming cotton root tea also stimulates the production of milk in nursing women.
IV. When To Wait
As mentioned before, not all women get labor after 40 weeks of pregnancy. If your doctor does not recommend you induce labor, you should consider waiting for a shorter time for the following benefits:
- Women who get labor without inducing can recover more quickly than those who do. Therefore, you and your baby can get home sooner if you let the contractions start on their own.
- Infants who in the womb for a full-term pregnancy period have more time to develop their brain and build their strength and muscle. They also can breathe better and be fed easier.
Inducing labor always contains risk, no matter which method you choose. Some health problems that may happen as the result of jump-starting labor include:
- Failed induction. The percentage of pregnant women succeeding in labor using inducing method is 75%, which indicates that 25 out of 100 women starting with unopened cervix might need a C-section.
- Low heart rate. The prostaglandin used to induce labor might lead to excessive or abnormal contractions, which reduces your baby's oxygen supply and makes your baby's heart rate lower than normal.
- Some methods used to stimulate labor and induce labor might make you and your baby vulnerable to infection.
- Uterine rupture. The risk of uterine rupture is not high, but it is considered life-threatening once it happens. You will need an emergency C-section to avoid complicated health complications. In some serious cases, your doctor might have to remove your uterus.
- Bleeding after delivery. Your uterine muscles, under the influences of labor-inducing, might not be able to contract properly after labor, leading to serious uncontrolled bleeding after delivery.
Inducing labor is not an easy decision to make. It can affect both you and your baby in many ways and leave long-term consequences. The result varies across women, and it is hard to predict or control in advance. You should only make your decision after throughout considering and consulting your doctor.. If you have any more ideas on home remedies to induce labor, please share it with us.
All content provided are for informational & educational purposes. We recommend you consult a healthcare professional to determine which method is appropriate for you.