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Inducing Labor

Natural ways of inducing labor at home

Most babies are born between 37 and 40, but others need a little inducement to make their appearance. After 37 weeks, the fetus is fully developed and able to breathe on its own outside the womb, so it is safe to deliver. However, a fetus is not considered overdue until after 42 weeks. At this time, medical professionals may recommend inducing labor through one of several medical techniques.

While it's generally a good idea to let labor and delivery happen in its own time, or to wait for medical inducement if you're grossly overdue, there are some natural ways of inducing labor safely. Remember, however, that these techniques should only be considered after your due date has passed and only with the consent of your doctor, midwife, or medical professional.

Methods for Inducing Labor at Home

Some tried-and-true methods for inducing labor naturally within the home include:

  • having sexual intercourse
  • stimulating the nipples
  • eating spicy foods
  • marching up and down stairs
  • drinking certain teas
  • taking certain herbal or homeopathic remedies

Make sure any herbs, teas, or homeopathic remedies you take have been approved by your medical practitioner. Up until the umbilical cord is cut at birth, anything you ingest is transferred to the fetus, so you want to make sure that any inducement aids you use will be safe for both of you.

Other Methods for Naturally Inducing Labor

Labor can also be induced naturally through certain medical or paramedical procedures, such as:

  • massage
  • acupuncture
  • stretching or stripping the membranes
  • breaking the water sac (also called the bag of water or bag of waters)

These procedures should be performed only by a licensed professional with experience treating pregnant women. As with home labor inducement, get your doctor or midwife's approval before resorting to any of these methods for inducing labor.

If you are constructing a birth plan, be sure to consider the possibility of inducement and indicate your preferred option or options for both medical and natural inducement. Hopefully, your body will begin the birthing process on its own, but it's always best to be prepared so that you don't have to make a decision in the moment.

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