Causing Contractions at Home: How Can I Get Labor Started?

When you're ready to have your baby, you may think this day will never come. Just be patient, and ask your caregiver about these methods for inducing labor at home. Image by Melodi2

When you’re ready to have your baby, you may think this day will never come. Just be patient, and ask your caregiver about these methods for inducing labor at home. Image by Melodi2

The due date your doctor gave you was last week. Your friends and family call every day to see if you’ve had the baby yet. You are tired of waiting, and so uncomfortable you can barely walk. It’s hard to sleep because you toss and turn so much. Your doctor says you can go to the hospital to have your labor induced next week, but you’ve heard there are risks… do home remedies to start labor really work? The answer is yes, and no.

Triggering Labor is Easy If Your Time is Close!

However, if your body is not ready to give birth, traditional methods will not be able to make it do so.
Wise women (and moms who have had a baby or two already) know that in the last few days and weeks of pregnancy, many subtle changes take place that aid delivery: That uncomfortable pressure you feel? It’s ripening your cervix, and helping to jostle baby into position, especially while you are walking around. Your hips and other joints are softening in preparation for the main event. This is a good time to practice visualization, and daydream about normal birth. Women have been encouraging their babies to come since ancient times, you are not alone.

Use Caution When Trying to Start Labor

Begin in the morning after a good night’s sleep, and stop early in the evening so you can rest.  Don’t try more than one remedy at a time, and be careful: Herbs can have unpredictable effects, so don’t take any secret herbal remedies without your caregiver’s approval. Stop immediately if contractions are painful or last more than sixty seconds. Walk if it feels good to do so. Don’t assume too quickly that labor has begun in earnest; many women make the mistake of heading to the hospital, only to have the effects wear off after they get there. Do take your time; it may take a few hours or a few days for these gentle methods to work. And always seek the advice of your doctor or midwife before you try to get your labor started.

Prostaglandins Ripen Your Cervix

The mouth of the womb is called the cervix. It normally feels firm, like the end of your nose. Near the end of pregnancy, however, the cervix starts to soften; at birth it opens much like a turtleneck sweater. Prostaglandins found in semen naturally ripen the cervix, which is why expectant parents who are ready for Baby to be born are encouraged to have lots of sex. Making love also helps a woman feel supported emotionally.

Plant sources of prostaglandins include evening primrose oil, or EPO, and black cohosh. With your caregiver’s approval, you can open EPO gelcaps, and use the oil intravaginally, or just take a gelcap by mouth. Start with 500 mg twice a day. Or, you can take 3 drops of black cohosh herbal tincture, which has long been known to help thin the cervix, and 10 drops of blue cohosh tincture in a cup of hot tea. Herbalists recommend one cup an hour – don’t exceed eight doses per day. Blue cohosh encourages contractions and the two herbs work best together. If you are inclined toward homeopathic remedies, blue cohosh also goes by the name “caulophyllum.”

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