Most women give birth two weeks before or after their due date - after all, the due date is only a guide based on an estimate. If you are overdue and don’t fancy being induced, you might be thinking of trying some natural ways to bring on labour – but discuss these with your midwife before you try any.
The most tried and trusted methods include:
- Have an early night with your partner for some romance – did you know that sperm contains prostaglandin, the same substance used in inductions? If you have an orgasm, the hormone oxytocin is released, which stimulates contractions. This is not recommended if your doctor has prescribed abstinence and if your waters have already broken because of the risk of infection.
- Being active – going for long walks, sitting or rocking on your birth ball, going up and down stairs, it all helps to encourage your baby to get into a good position for birth. Don’t overdo it, though.
- Eating spicy foods – there is not much evidence but it works for some women. The theory is that the cervix is connected to the digestive system so if you eat spicy foods you fire the cervix up too. Don’t try this if you suffer from heartburn or indigestion!
- Drinking raspberry leaf tea (that’s why the label says it is not recommended for women in early pregnancy) – this actually strengthens your uterine muscles, and will stand to you when it comes to the time to deliver your baby. Don’t try this if you are having a Caesarean, had one in the past or had a premature baby.
- Having a bath or a pregnancy massage – relaxation might stimulate your uterus if you are feeling stressed or anxious and these feelings are preventing labour.
- Alternative therapies like acupuncture and reflexology – there aren’t many scientific studies to prove they actually help, but, again, it has worked for some women. Acupuncture is also used for pain relief.
If nothing works, don’t despair! Conserve your energy for labour and let Mother Nature do her work.