I want to preface my post by saying, I definitely don’t encourage anyone to try and induce labor before baby is ready. When we first got pregnant, it was not my intent to try and have the baby before our due date, or before he was ready. Unfortunately, however, due to my age, there are concerns about carrying the baby beyond 39 weeks. Desperate to avoid a medical induction, I have been trying to find anything and everything to get this baby out, naturally.
So, I have been searching for the internet, looking for natural induction techniques. Here is what I have tried, and what I have found:
Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
I have been drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea since the beginning of my third trimester, gradually increasing from one cup of tea a day, to much, much more. At this point, I have been drinking Mama Natural’s labor day tea for days. After drinking this very strong brew, I haven’t seen any results in terms of inducing labor, but I heard the benefits include an easier, shorter labor. Plus, I really like the taste of the tea (the less strong version), so drinking the tea can’t hurt!
This natural induction technique must be done by your care provider, and they will only be able to perform a membrane sweep if you are dilated, and at least 38 weeks pregnant. They use their gloved finger to gently separate the amniotic sac from the cervix. This also can stimulate the production of prostaglandins, which soften the cervix. Normally, if this works, it can kick-start labor within 24 hours. Four days later…nothing.
Rumor has it that pineapple contains bromelain which can contribute to cervical ripening, and could potentially induce labor. One article I found suggested that you would need to eat the equivalent of seven ripe pineapples to induce labor, and it would also bring on diarrhea. I ate just one pineapple, and its core, with no real results. The pineapple was, however, delicious.
Another recommended natural induction strategy is to use your breast pump. Simulating nursing releases oxytocin, and can kick start contractions. The recommendation I read was to pump on each side for 10-15 minutes, alternating for an hour. It is recommended that you stop pumping if you begin to feel crampy. After a few sessions…nothing.
I have been eating spicy food throughout my pregnancy. But, the theory is that spicy food can stimulate uterine contractions. A spicy, jalapeno covered hamburger did nothing to kickstart my labor. Nor did the spicy jalapeno cheddar kielbasa sandwich with spicy barbeque sauce. But, they were delicious!
Clary Sage Essential Oil
Okay, so I think this is the one natural induction technique that worked…kind of. And here is where my journey becomes a sort of cautionary tale. I read about the effectiveness of Clary Sage oil to help bring contractions on. Many women and practitioners recommend rubbing it on your ankles, on your belly, and even placing some drops on a warm towel and sleeping with it near your face. My host of my favorite podcast (The Birth Hour) recently gave birth, and had success with diffusing the oil, as her water broke 30 minutes after she began diffusing. So, I thought I’d give it a try. After I began diffusing the oil, my contractions started. And, now three days later, they have not stopped, nor have they progressed. I have been experiencing false labor ever since.
Other Natural Induction Techniques I Have Tried
- Bouncing on an exercise ball
Natural Induction Techniques I will Not Be Trying
- Pouring a pot of coffee in the toilet, and sitting on the toilet.
- Castor oil or cod liver oil
- Eating dates
- Acupuncture/acupressure/chiropractic adjustments (honestly this is because there are no practitioners near me).
Be cautious when using natural induction techniques before your due date. If your body isn’t ready for labor, it can really backfire on you, and make your final days of pregnancy super uncomfortable (I will be sure to update you on what happens from here).