If your due date is history, you may be longing to induce labor at home. Being pregnant beyond the 36 weeks is no fun and can be an extremely tiring and painful experience. However, if your OB/GYN feels it is okay to wait, then you must certainly heed that advice. Wait for a couple of days and the labor will definitely start. That said, there are some proven ways induce labor and hundreds of expecting moms have tried them. Be warned that, while most of these methods are safe, they can also be a bit uncomfortable, and in some cases, downright unpleasant. Let us take a look at some safe ways to induce labor at 37 weeks.
1. Castor oil
This is grandma’s remedy to dilate the cervix and cause contractions. Take the foul tasting oil with some orange juice and/or ginger ale. The oil irritates the uterus and bowels causing contractions. Be careful with this method- it could cause diarrhea.
2. Consume chocolate, spice and everything nice
This method of inducing labor works for some but for many women, it only gives acidity and heartburn. Drinking coffee, eating chocolate and spicy food is supposed to cause contractions thanks to the laxative effect of these foods. Use this remedy to induce labor with extreme caution.
3. Walk extra long distances
To induce labor yourself, try walking extra long distances. Make sure you are able to arrive home safely should this method work. If nothing, the fresh air and exercise will do you a world of good.
4. Have sex
Orgasms cause the uterus to contract and semen contains prostaglandin which softens and dilates the cervix. Note that this remedy may or may not work if the baby is not ready to arrive. Not to mention, it can be extremely uncomfortable especially if you are in your 36th week of pregnancy or beyond.
5. Nipple stimulation
You can stimulate nipples to induce labor. This method tricks the body into releasing oxytocin-a hormone which produces uterine contractions. So stimulate the nipples daily for 15 to 20 minutes. Rub, roll, pull, tug and tease your nipples. You can use your partner’s/spouse’s help in this method. Avoid this method of inducing labor if you have high BP, diabetes etc.
6. Coffee trick
This is a slightly dangerous and highly uncomfortable method of inducing labor-so use it with caution. Fill up a bowl with freshly ground coffee grounds and boiling water. Pour this over a Sitz bath and lower your bottom over this mixture. Do not directly sit into the mixture. Let the coffee vapors steam the nether region so that labor starts.
Many herbs have been used traditionally to induce labor at home. These include blue cohosh, cotton root bark, partridge berry, black cohosh, cramp bark etc. Because little to no research has been conducted on these herbs to induce labor, their use by those without training in herbal medicine is not recommended.
8. Acupressure points
Patients can also massage other acupressure points to induce labor at home. These points include:
- Midway along the top of the trapezius muscles if one were to draw a line from the acromion to C7
- Motion sickness point at the angle between 1st and 2nd
- In the semi circle around distal medial and lateral malleoli
- Little toe
Massage these points for at least 2-3 minutes each.
9. Foods that induce labor
Many spicy foods like curry, burritos, Indian food etc are recommended to help jump start labor. As stated above, use caution as these foods can cause heartburn or acidity. Pineapples and papayas can also induce labor. Red raspberry tea, garlic, cumin and licorice are certain foods that can induce labor.
10. Evening primrose oil capsules
Take 500 mg of evening primrose oil capsules. Talk to your doctor before using this home remedy to start labor pains. Evening primrose oil softens the cervix and set contractions. You can also use the oil in the vagina. As stated above, use this method under medical supervision only.
If your labor has not started in the 36th week, call your doctor. In the meantime, you can safely try above remedies but make sure to exercise caution when using any of these methods.