Having a prolonged pregnancy can be very uncomfortable. But if you have seen your due date come and go, you may consider some methods of inducing labor. Be aware that not all of these methods are approved or proven, and make sure to discuss any plan to induce labor with your doctor. While it was common to induce in the past, most doctors today believe in letting nature take its course.
Preparing your home and your environment for a baby is a natural step in the pregnancy process. It can help you prepare mentally for the baby's arrival, which can make you more relaxed and ready to go into labor. Try setting up the baby's room, washing and folding baby clothes and supplies or cleaning the house.
Intercourse is a great (and fun) way to induce labor. If you are in a normal, low-risk pregnancy, normal sexual activity is encouraged. Semen has prostaglandins in it that softens the cervix, and having an orgasm will cause the uterus to conract. Both of these actions might induce labor.
Walking or Rocking
If your baby is late in arriving, or you feel you've started and stopping going into labor, sometimes walking or rocking back and forth can stimulate labor. It might just be that the baby has not fallen into a position where is head is placing enough pressure on the cervix to cause labor. Walking also helps relieve the pain of contractions.
One to 4 oz. of castor oil mixed with orange juice (to hide the taste) is an old technique many physicians swear by. The castor oil can cause spasms in the intestines, which surround the uterus. Keep in mind that castor oil causes diarrhea, which can be unpleasant by itself, let alone while in labor.
While it has not been proven, many women and doctors believe that eating spicy foods can induce labor. Keep in mind that going into a labor on a full stomach can be very uncomfortable.
Stimulate the Nipples
Pinching or stimulating your nipples is another way to induce labor. Stimulation of the nipples releases the hormone oxytocin into the uterus. Reactions to this method can be very intense and can result in strong contractions, so don't use this method unless advised by a doctor. Regular nipple stimulation through breastfeeding after birth also helps your uterus return to its normal size.
Blue and Black Cohosh
Taking blue or black cohosh can be a particularly effective way to assist in inducing labor, especially if you are already feeling mild or irregular contractions. But these herbs are incredibly strong and should not be used unless you are advised by your practitioner. Blue cohosh is believed to make uterine contractions stronger, while black cohosh may regulate the contractions, according to Dr.Spock.com.
Evening Primrose Oil
Taking a supplement of evening primrose oil five times a day starting at the 38-week mark is a great way to prepare your cervix for labor. Some women even insert a capsule right up against the cervix.
Accupressure and Acupuncture
There are many forms of acupressure and acupuncture that can help induce labor. When performed by a licensed professional who is familiar working with pregnant women, acupressure in certain spots can cause contractions of the uterus.
Doctors can induce labor in several ways. One method is called stripping the membrane, in which the doctors wipes the bottom of the cervix to detach the membrane from the uterine wall, releasing hormones that Induce labor. Your doctor may also break your water, give you the hormone prostaglandin, or give you the hormone oxytocin.