Camylla Battani / Unsplash

Inducing labor naturally is possible if you can’t wait anymore.

When you hit the nine-month mark, and your tiny human doesn’t seem to be coming to meet you any time soon, you may start thinking of natural ways to induce labor. The waiting game can be uncomfortable if you’re past your due date, and sometimes practicing patience doesn’t work.

“There are ways to get things moving naturally, though, and most of them are as easy as making a batch of pancakes.”

When you’re tired of waiting to meet the new love of your life, trying one or all of these might push things along.

Get busy

Having sex is one of the oldest tricks in the books, but it still holds up today. It’s not totally understood why it works, but it does. Theories suggest that when sex can release the chemical oxytocin, this speeds up stimulation of the uterus. Also, an orgasm can lead to contractions.

Some experts have also said that semen can help move things along because of its high prostaglandin content, which has been known to soften the cervix. Prostaglandins are also used in medical induction, so it’s worth a shot if you can’t wait any longer. Just don’t have sex if your water has already broken, as it heightens the risk for infection.

Move, move, move

Some evidence shows that exercising can help speed up the delivery of your little one because it raises blood flow and heart rate. It can be anything from a long walk to dancing around your living room to your favorite tunes. Whatever exercise you choose doesn’t matter as long as your getting it done.

Stock Snap / Pixabay

If anything, the exercise will release the happy endorphins you’ll need to help keep you calm and stress-free when labor does finally start so you can deliver your baby at your strongest.

Spice up your life

Everyone who’s ever had a baby has probably heard the old adage that spicy food speeds up the labor process. The spices in the food are said to help stimulate the stomach, which leads to further stimulation throughout the entire body (including your uterus).

Although no studies have proven the connection between spicy food and naturally-induced labor, the anecdotal evidence from everyone and their mother seems to prove adequate enough to at least give it a go. If you never eat spicy food, though, it’s not a good idea to introduce it into your diet that late in the game.

Hit up the massage parlor

It’s wild what a good rub down can do, but a labor induction massage is a thing for a reason. According to some licensed massage therapists, a good massage can help almost 70 percent of women that get them to go into labor when they’re past their due date.

It works by relaxing the muscles in your body and around your baby to put a rush on things. It’s supposed to work within 48 hours of the massage, but if it doesn’t, go back and try it again. The worst that could happen is that you get two stress-relieving massages right before you do the hardest thing you’ll ever do.

Use herbal remedies

If you want to induce labor naturally, herbal remedies are the perfect way to stay away from anything you think might harm more than help. Evening primrose oil is also supposed to help bring on labor because of its ability to soften the cervix.

There is also some evidence that suggests that castor oil can help because it causes the gastrointestinal tract to contract, as it acts as a laxative. Still, it can just create a serious case of stomach upset, so this method should only be explored with caution.

Stimulate your nipples

One of the most commonly-pushed theories to induce labor naturally is nipple stimulation. It works by stimulating the uterus and causing it to contract.

“The release of the chemical oxytocin also happens when you stimulate the nipples, which as explored with the sex method, has shown to help get things going.”

When you start with the stimulation, you’ll want to try to mimic the suckle of your baby as much as possible, but when labor does start, it’s best to leave the girls alone and let nature do the rest.

Explore anecdotal methods

When all else fails, you can start trying different ways to naturally induce labor that aren’t backed by science but are still completely safe for you and your baby. Blowing up balloons have been said to help build up pressure in the abdomen, or you could have a good cry. No one’s sure why that one might work, but some people swear by it.

You could also test the universe by wearing a pair of underwear that you don’t want to be ruined and wait for the irony to roll in or you could try bouncing up and down on your birth ball to help shake your baby into wanting to get out of there.

A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101: