Back on the farm when Ma was delivering babies while milking the cow and shucking the corn (we've always been multi-taskers), she certainly wasn't reading up on what the type of birth the (then-nonexistent) Internet was telling her she should have. Instead, she relied on what worked for others for thousands upon thousands of years before her: trusting the innate wisdom of her body and following its lead. Although I don't know if you have a cow handy, much less whether you milk it, I do know there was a lot of wisdom to Ma's natural approach. When the time comes, you can trust your body, too.
What happens, though, when your body just isn't ready to have your baby, and (shuck that corn!), it's time, already? When labor just isn't coming despite the calendar saying it's time, your body is giving all the signs that baby is ready, and your doctor is getting "uncomfortable" waiting any longer (oh, the irony), there are natural ways to induce labor if you'd prefer to avoid being medically induced.
Here are a few of the popular, time-tested and natural ways that "Ma's" around the world have tried to induce labor. I tried these methods, too, when I was closing in on eight (8!) days past my due date. These might help your body andyour baby agree that YES, it's time to deliver!
Acupuncture/acupressure (gave me contractions, but didn’t send me into labor)
Long, brisk walks (gave me contractions, but didn’t send me into labor)
The, ahem, activity that got me pregnant in the first place (gave me contractions, but didn’t send me into labor...and please don't tell my parents that I ever did that; I'm told that fantasies of immaculate conception work both ways)
Spicy food (gave me bad breath, but didn’t send me into labor; on the bright side, it didn’t give me any more of those stupid, unproductive contractions)
After those didn't work for me (but have for many mommies!), I tried more desperate measures:
The earthquake simulator at the local museum (the magnitude of 9 did nothing but send every observer of my "extreme pregnancy condition" into near cardiac arrest; I don't recommend this tomfoolery, regardless)
Hand washing the floors (gave me contractions, but didn’t send me into labor...and yes, I consider manual labor at what felt like 400 months pregnant a desperate measure)
Castor oil (okay, I didn’t try this one; I figured I’d end up vomiting the baby out if I tried a teaspoon of it)
STILL a no-go for me. What the what? Although those things may have helped to some degree because I did manage to have contractions for two fun-filled weeks, here's what ultimately did work:
Patience (yep, the last thing you want to hear when you're bigger than your house)
A visit to a chiropractor for a pelvic adjustment (you have to find a chiropractor who knows how to work with pregnant women – not just any chiropractor)
Stripping membranes (your doctor does this; it doesn’t feel awesome and makes you kind of cramp-y, but it’s not terrible)
Finally, my healthy and happy baby came, and so commenced my journey into gentle parenting. Needless to say, always consult your healthcare provider for medical guidance (I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on T.V.). When the time is right, however, know that your baby will, indeed, come out. Let your baby “cook” as long as you safely can, and then your body will know just what to do. It was made for this!
Disclaimer: All advice and guidance offered on this site is not medical guidance and should not be interpreted as such, and the owner of this site is not responsible for individual outcomes.
I am not a physician, psychologist, or counselor, nor am I licensed to offer therapy or medical advice of any kind. I am a certified conscious parenting coach and my courses, blog posts, and all other guidance are based on my training and experience. If you are having an emergency or are in crisis please call 911, or the National Suicide Prevention Line (800-273-8255), or text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
Sarah R. Moore
Sarah R. Moore is a certified Master Parenting Trainer, an author (book coming soon), an armchair neuroscientist, and most importantly, a Mama. She's a lifelong learner with formal training in child development, improv comedy, trauma recovery, and interpersonal neurobiology. She offers a popular series of mini-courses (including her FREE video, Three Keys to Positive Parenting). She helps bring JOY, EASE, and CONNECTION back to families.
You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. She’s currently worldschooling her family.
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