Many women may find that as they near the end of their pregnancy, each day becomes more and more uncomfortable. The swollen feet, the frequent bathroom trips, the sleepless nights, and the anxiety about the birth are just a few of the things that made me desperate to search for ways to induce labor. Here is a list of things that may help to start your labor.
1. Having sex. I started to wonder if this was a myth made up by a man that realized that after the baby arrived, he would not be able to have sex with his wife for about six weeks. But here is why it could help to start labor. During sex, a woman’s body releases a hormone called oxytocin and this can cause the uterus to contract. Additionally, semen may help to soften the cervix. It sounds effective but I have yet to meet a woman who has told me that this worked for her.
2. Walking. This did work for me. When you walk, it could help to get your baby’s head into a better position for labor and could increase pressure on your cervix. At the end of my pregnancies, when I walked, it brought on contractions. It is, however, frustrating to walk for hours while at the hospital, stopping only to breathe through contractions as you wait for the magic moment.
3. Nipple stimulation. That’s right. I once read that you could bring on labor if you stimulated your nipples. I laughed out loud when I thought about how long a woman would have to sit around just stimulating. There is no way you could multi-task and hope to accomplish anything else with this method. I was also told to face the shower and allow the water to get as hot as I could stand it while it pulsated on my bare chest. I did try the shower suggestion but got out after about 30 seconds and raced to the kitchen for Gatorade.
4. Stretching of the uterine-opening membranes. If you have a doctor or midwife and the time to lie on your back so this can be performed, it may increase the chances of labor starting within 48 hours. I didn’t have time to stimulate my nipples and I certainly didn’t have time to stretch my uterine membranes.
5. Stripping membranes.