Ways to start off labour naturally – ridiculous old wives tales or valid methods ?

Posted on: February 16, 2008

As you approach the end of pregnancy you can bet that somebody somewhere will give you some kind of advice on how to kick start the impending birth. As an impatient and inquisitive mum to be I have looked into such things and the fact seems to stand that it’s baby that starts off the process, although know one knows how it is reckoned by the medical powers that be that the bubs in the belly releases a hormone that kicks it all off.

At this late stage in pregnancy is where there seems to be mass clashing of the general medical doods (yes, thats a technical term, I just decided) and slightly crazy, hormone fuelled impatient mums to be all hyped up on wanting their little bubs to finally arrive. It’s easy to see how a pregnant woman after pushing 40 weeks of being occupied by a little human being draining her of goodness and making her swell to biblical proportions can get a little fed up. For example, I didn’t think I had gotten that big until now when I woke up a few days ago and realized that I am a gargantuan beast and now I long for the day when I can finally ditch the maternity clothes and get back to my jeans. It is also perfectly natural (at least I tell myself this) that towards this late stage that your mind gets pretty preoccupied with baby thoughts, after all there’s the whole giving birth thing – I have to keep telling myself that yes it bloody hurts but that it’s not going to last forever and that the pains bringing me little Bean (though don’t try telling me this when I am demanding gas and air like a diva as I’m likely to tell you to bog off). Nights get filled with baby related dreams, this week so far in my dreams I have given birth, left my baby somewhere and forgotten where that somewhere is and been a soldier shooting Nazis ( though I don’t think thats a typical maternal type of dream!). And when I try to keep myself occupied doing stuff I get a lovely kick from Bean, yesterday afternoon I saw a small lump of what I took to be a foot sticking out at my left hand side. Basically my point is that most pregnant women, if they are honest get very fed up towards the 40 week mark.

Medical types however think with a clear head and let us know, to our disgust that there’s no actual medically proven way to help kick start labour and even if a woman says ” I tried eating a really hot curry and went into labour that night” they shoot her down in flames by saying it was probably just a coincidence and give such helpful sayings as “baby will come when baby’s ready”. In fairness every pregnant woman knows this secretly but is in denial !

Anyway I round off with a list of “natural ways to tip you into labour”that I have found out so far. As for whether any of them work is not for me to say or recommend but some of them are funny. I am of the opinion that these things have been devised to do more to keep pregnant mums busy rather than actually helping starting labour….

  • Sex – ah the old favourite, have sex, depending on the individual by this late stage you’re either lovin it or hating it. I did find some research that suggests that oral sex , ie. swallowing , gets more prostagladins into you as the guts absorbs it better, although you may prefer to keep this nugget of info to yourself else…
  • Castor Oil – yuck, tastes like poop , word on the street is that it can be mixed with orange juice and drank, though it does tend to settle into layers. Some people recommend whooping it up in a blender with ice cream and banana. Sounds lovely till you realize that the whole point to this is to make you make you have one big bowel clearout that may trigger off the uterus to contract. If it worked then ace, and some women swear by it, however I would be more concerned with an hour on the loo and some bad ring sting not being what you want imminently before labour…
  • Walking – yes we all walk but a long walk is given time and time again as a method. I can attest to this working for me on more than one occasion following a “sweep” but then again things may have started anyway. My tip is that if you’re going to channel an energy burst and go off mooching about for hours that you at least take a mobile with you !
  • Raspberry Leaf Tea – ahhh my nemesis. Views are divided on when’s the safest time to start taking this, 36 weeks is the safest bet. First and Second trimesters not a good time as it can make your uterus contract a bit. Medically it’s linked by a fair bit of research to giving you more effective contractions and a shorter second stage of labour so I have been taking it on and off for a couple of weeks now. I bought mine from Whittards in tea bag form but word on the street is that Holland and Barrat do a tablet form as it must be said the tea is an acquired taste. I drink the tea when cooled down cold with a smidge of blackcurrant squash in, but try not to look in the cup its like green bog water. Will it help labour? I’ll let you know !
  • Nipple Stimulation – sounds good, until you discover it’s not the kind of thing you can incorporate into a romantic moment with a loved one or any form of self gratification. Oh no my friend its 15 minutes each nipple over several hours in the hope of stimulating your body to release a hormone that may trigger labour. Initially sounds fun, then, lets face it would get a bit boring and I for one and not prepared to sit there for hours rolling my nipples like some kind of odd bod.
  • Eating fresh Pineapple – meant to help you release the enzyme bromelain that in turn softens the cervix. This means eating fresh pineapple only (not canned or juice as the enzymes get lost in the canning process apparently). But we’re not talking about a bit of pineapple, you would need to eat loads of fresh pineapple to get anywhere near the levels of enzymes needed. It’s more likely to act like castor oil and lead to not so fun times on the loo.
  • Eating Curry – again it seems if it makes you pooh it’s a goer!
  • Blowing up balloons – creating abdominal pressure to shove bubs down !

29 Responses to "Ways to start off labour naturally – ridiculous old wives tales or valid methods ?"

I think I wud be a lil wary of the whole castor oil thing- ewww!!

Pineapple sounds good and so does the raspberry leaf tea.

I have heard cinnamon tea also works well! 🙂

I am 34 weeks pregnant with my 3rd and have never really used anything to get it started ..it just kinda happened when it happened!

Castor oil is not a good idea. It might work, I don’t know, I took it after I was already in labor at my doula’s suggestion in order to keep labor going strong, but I don’t think any help it did was worth it. It was very unpleasant. Very.

i tried taking castor oil and if you ask me its a waste of time it never brought on labour just made me sit on the loo all ight. not very atrractive ey

i tried castor oil with my 2nd pregnancy and i had contractions for 7 hours and it all stopped and then my daughter held on for another 10 days and i tried it in my last pregnancy and nothing happened so i think its a waste of time, i tried rasperry leaf tea, curry, sex, walking jumping on my daughters trampoline and nothing happened so now im a week off baby no.4 and ive come to the conclusion that the baby will come when its ready!!!!!

You might be interested to know that raspberry leaf tea does not induce labour but merely tones the uterine muscles which may shorten the second stage of labour( the pushing the baby out part) once labour has actually begun.

i tryed raspberry tea and the next day i gave birth now i am pregnent again i will deffo use it again.

i am 38 weeks and been getting niggles for last 2 weeks, midwife thinks slow labour so reccommened raspberry leaf tea, ive drank about 20 cups of the stuff over the last few days, tried curry, sex, walking, jumping all with no joy at all, although i dont want to admit it i think it is down to the baby being ready, my body totally feels ready but baby must not be, i was in slow labour for 2 weeks with my first and tried all the old wives tales then and sure enough he didnt come till he wanted to, just hope it doesnt last much longer lol

didnt try caster oil, have an intolerence to chocolate though has the same effect so at least i get a little joy out of making myself go lol, but had no luck with that either, looks like im just going to have to wait a bit longer

With my first i had the hot curry then i had sex,
then sure enough i went into labour the next day.
Im pregnant again and did the same thing last night
and im gettin contractions again so fingers crossed
it wont be long…… So try curry and sex lol x

well i`m 39 plus six days and i`ve tryed everything has anyone got any ideas.

I’m almost 37 weeks and i’ve had a ruff pregnancy ! needless to say i’m ready to give some of these ideas a try.(no castor oil though) i walked at the fair for like 4 hrs. last night and all i got was braxton hicks and tired? I guess sex is the next option but its been painful for the last month or so I dont know if thats a good idea or not? my Dr. said last friday I’m 70% thinned but my due date insnt untill the 6th of august but im litterally not able to get around some days the pressure on my vagina and back pain plus i’ve developed gestational diabities. I just wish the baby was ready! If any one has any suggestions it would be great>

heey im 38 weeks and 4 days and my midwife told me to side step up and down the stairs as it moves the babys head side to side and gradually down into the cervix, since doing that the babys head has engaged and i have been gettin quite strong contractions hope this helps 🙂

How can swallowing semen cause labour? this is rubbish and obviously thought up by a man. Anyone with even basic knowledge of biology would know that its a hormone, and hormones are made of proteins which get broken down in the gut.

Amen to that! Stomach’s digestive acids will break it down instantly!

Reading this made me laugh so much… we all try stuff to start our labour off and nothing ever works. sad thing is ive done them all and it didnt help with my first.. now pregnant with my second and im only 28 weeks and already fed up haha!!

We are so impatient lol!

Good luck everybody… at least it killed some time reading this haha x

hiya everyone 🙂 im 38 weeks today and i was going to try the tea leaf is it any good ? x

reaspberry tea will not work been using it for days now and nothings happened

I was due yesterday and im getting really fed up now!
Ive tried bouncing on my gym ball and going for long walks. I have also tried eating curry. Only thing left is to have sex!!

Will let you know if it works or not!!
Good luck every1 x

im 37wks plus 6days now, startin 2 feel pretty fed up, baby is so low dwn already and gettin real bad back and it actually hurts 2 walk around. was considerin tryin da rasberry tea but seems although all des fings will only work if baby is ready.
oh well will keep up da long walks and keep busy wid my 15month old and im sure she will arrive soon, lol

I’m 37 weeks and took castor oil as my midwife told me everything was ready and i was just to play the waiting game. I’d already had my show and was just sitting around waiting for an appearance. the castor oil had no effect on me at all. not even bowel movements.
I drank mine with orange juice, which i didn’t find too bad until i tried to eat after and nearly threw up.
Wouldn’t really recommend mixing it with anything.

Well i tried the castor oil had me in the bathroom all nite.im 39wks and waiting still guess imma try sex lol

Am 37+6 and really fed up. babys head has been on brim for past 4-5weeks so am guessing his head has got to be enganged by now i have mw on thursday so will know for sure then.ive tried al kinds took dog for a nice long walk on sunday for a good 3 hours and got no where ive tried curries and just ended up havin heartburn instead i also tried sex as much as i find it uncomfortable and still nothing 😦 i tried raspberry leaf tea and after first cup i got 2 very strong contractions and thought this is it 😀 and then they stopped again.Could really do with some more idea’s plzzzzzzzzzz,both my other 2 where both born early with my youngest being the earlies @36weeks

I am due today… my midwife told me to cut the top of evening primrose capsule and squeeze the oil up as close to the neck of my womb as possible… Hoping this works…

im 40+ wks and ive tried them all nothing works baby will come when ready n thats it

Loving all ideas, my first was set of early by an over zealous pelvic examination, I had already begun dilating and was stuck at 3 cm for two and a half weeks. My mum and husband were in the room with me as the doctor felt around and made her announcements on my progress. As she was withdrawing her hand, one of the two( I don’t recall) asked her again how dilated I was and the hand went back in rather sharply. I was contacting from that point on and had my son the following day, twelve days ahead of his due date.

im 38 weeks and my baby is really engaged and im really feed up now what can i take to bring on labour.

I am 41+2 and going spare – my midwife won’t do a sweep because baby is bobbing around having a party now I am to be induced on New Years eve – I’ve tried so much and now I’m really struggling to smile – although I’ve just been bouncing on my ball whilst blowing up a balloon which was quite funny.

caster oil worked a treat for me had caster oil went for long walk came back had the poops then had a hot bath then on the night went in labour you dont poop that much with caster oil its nonsense

pregnant with twins how do i start my labour off

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