Many consider the advice that taking a warm bath can cause a woman to go into labor an old wives' tale. However, there is some truth in it. Simply put, taking a warm bath can help a woman induce labor, but not in the way most would assume. The calmer a woman is, the easier it is for labor to begin. Therefore, if she is tense but does something to calm herself down, the chances of labor beginning are greatly increased. As most women find warm baths relaxing, this can be a good technique to try. However, simply taking a warm bath is not a guaranteed way to get labor to begin.
If a woman decides to attempt to induce labor by taking a warm bath, it is extremely important that she pay close attention to the temperature of the water. If the water is too hot it can cause her body temperature to rise, which in turn would be bad for the baby especially so late in the pregnancy. A high internal body temperature can stunt the last minute development processes the baby is going through just before delivery. It is for these reasons that warm baths are generally advised against by doctors because the chance for mistakes to occur is high.
In addition to taking a (carefully monitored) warm bath there are a number of recommended ways to calm a woman down enough for labor to begin. These can include immersing the room in pleasant scents, like incense. Burning sage can induce similar relaxing effects. Some doctors will recommend things like acupuncture and professional massages due to their focus on specific areas of a woman's body. The result of these techniques is to help a woman relax, which can definitely be beneficial.