Find safe and fast ways to speed up labor for the first time
You’ve reached the final hour of your pregnancy and your baby is…going nowhere.
You feel like you’ve been pregnant for a thousand years and you’re ready to speed up labor and finally have this baby.
The final days of pregnancy are an exciting and anxious time – you are impatiently waiting to meet your new little one while ready to ditch the huge belly and unpleasant symptoms.
It’s no secret that your baby needs to reach full-term in order to be healthy and fully developed, but there’s really no reason why he or she needs to linger any longer than that.
While your doctor may not feel it is time to medically induce you, you can certainly try some safe and natural ways to speed up labor.
Here are eight methods you can try to get the birthing party started.
Natural and Safe Ways to Speed Up Labor
Please keep in mind that many natural and safe ways of speeding up labor are not wholly proven through scientific research – not because they don’t work, but because clinical testing on pregnant women is considered unethical.
This makes it difficult for the world of science to prove or disprove these labor-inducing methods.
However, there is enough anecdotal evidence from moms-to-be who have tried these methods and swear by their effectiveness.
Since they are natural and safe, why not give them a try?
1. Get Some Exercise
Getting exercise is a safe and healthy way to speed up labor but you have to be careful. Every pregnancy is different so it’s important to listen to your body – if an exercise or movement doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
Most exercises recommended for inducing labor are gentle and easy on the body, such as squats, lunges and simple yoga poses.
Squats and lunges, for instance, help to open your pelvis and encourage your baby to descend further into the birth canal.
The cat and cow yoga pose is another great move you can try.
While down on all fours, gently arch your back toward the ceiling (cat) and then slowly dip it down toward the floor (cow).
This pose helps to shift the weight of the baby away from your spine and get him or her into an optimal birth position.
When doing exercises on the floor, be sure to have a yoga mat handy to avoid injury to your knees.
Lastly, you can always use an exercise ball to encourage your baby to descend. Replace any chair you use regularly with an exercise ball and sit with your legs wide.
Gently rotating your hips while sitting will also help relieve tension in your pelvic area.
2. Have Sex
All the fun you had to get pregnant may just be the key to speeding up labor!
While most people assume that the contractions experienced during an orgasm are what induces labor, the truth is a bit more scientific than that.
Sperm contains prostaglandins, a fatty acid that acts as a hormone. The same substance is produced by your uterus when it’s time to thin and dilate the cervix in preparation for childbirth.
In fact, common mediations such as misoprostol contain a synthetic version of prostaglandins and are often used by doctors to induce labor.
Otherwise, intimate activities that result in sexual stimulation are a natural way to increase oxytocin levels. This hormone is produced by your body as a way to trigger labor contractions when it’s time to give birth.
Again, synthetic oxytocin is used by doctors to induce labor.
Just like exercise, however, be sure not to physically push your body further than it is capable of going. If anything feels uncomfortable or painful, stop doing it and try switching positions.
4. Get a Massage
Another great activity to get the oxytocin flowing is to get a massage. Not only will this help increase this labor-inducing hormone but some massage therapists are trained in prenatal massage and a technique called “induction massage”.
Induction massages are only recommended when you’ve reached full-term in your pregnancy but can aid in the natural transition to labor.
This type of massage focuses on acupressure (not acupuncture!) points in the back of the legs, feet and hands that help to release your pelvic region as well as stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to stimulate labor.
Before you opt for an induction massage, speak with your doctor first to make sure this is a safe technique for you to try. Also, make sure you contact a massage therapist who is trained in this technique.
5. Try to Reduce Your Stress Levels
That same oxytocin hormone is produced when you are calm and relaxed but will begin to deplete as stress levels rise.
If you’re not engaging in activities that help you feel relaxed, you may get caught up in a labor Catch-22: anxiously waiting for birth can cause your stress levels to rise which, in turn, can delay the onset of labor.
Which, as you can guess, will make you feel more stressed out.
Those last few days of pregnancy can be full of excitement and fear but it’s important to try and maintain a sense of calm and relaxation.
Turn to your favorite relaxing activities, preferably ones that will take your mind off the impending childbirth.
Some women enjoy a long, warm soak in the tub while others prefer a hot cup of tea and a good book.
Deep breathing is also a great way to reduce stress by sending a message to your brain to calm down and relax. Your brain then sends this message to your body.
To practice deep breathing, simply sit in a comfortable position and take a deep breath through your nose and out through your mouth.
Do whatever you can in those final days to rest and relax. This will help to speed up labor.
6. Eat Spicy Foods
This may seem more like an old wives’ tale but eating spicy food may help some women speed up labor.
This is because spicy foods tend to cause cramping and uterine contractions by irritating the intestines.
It can also encourage the body to secrete prostaglandin, that hormone that helps contract the smooth muscles of the body and therefore induce labor.
While there’s no scientific evidence to support this method, if you’re a fan of spicy foods why not give it a try?
Otherwise, if you don’t typically eat spicy foods, it’s probably best to stay away from this one. You may end up with painful indigestion or heartburn which – especially during pregnancy – you really don’t need.
6. Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Red raspberry leaf tea is an herbal tea made from the leaves of the – you guessed it – red raspberry plant. It was been used for ages as a tonic to strengthen the uterus and promote faster labor.
It is believed that red raspberry leaf tea can boost blood flow to the uterus and strengthen the uterine muscle fibers which will, in turn, speed up the labor process.
Like most methods of inducing labor, there is not a lot of scientific proof. However, one study did show that taking red raspberry leaf pills starting at 32 weeks did shorten the second stage of labor.
Another study suggested that drinking red raspberry leaf tea could lower the chances of having a pregnancy go 42 weeks and longer.
So while red raspberry leaf tea may not guarantee that labor will start sooner, there seems to be some evidence that it can be beneficial during childbirth.
7. Try Evening Primrose Oil
Derived from the seeds of the evening primrose plant, evening primrose oil is often used to relieve breast pain, PMS and menopause symptoms. It is also used to speed up labor.
Evening primrose oil capsules can be taken orally but you can also drain the oil from the capsules and rub it directly onto your cervix.
Doing so might help thin your cervix, encouraging it to dilate and start labor.
Be cautious though, since evening primrose oil can act as a blood thinner and cause headaches and gastrointestinal upset.
Like anything else you may want to ingest or apply to your cervix to speed up labor, run it by your doctor first.
8. Eat Some Pineapple
Pineapple is high in bromelain, an enzyme that can contribute to the ripening of the cervix. It has also been known to start contractions.
Like spicy foods, however, there are no hard facts to prove that this works so you need to be careful with how much pineapple you eat.
The high amounts of bromelain in pineapple can cause nausea, diarrhea, upset stomach, mouth sores and heartburn.
If you want to give it a try, start with small amounts of pineapple or pineapple juice. Overall, if it doesn’t speed up your labor, it’s a great source of Vitamin C, folate, iron and other nutrients essential to a healthy pregnancy diet.
Natural Versus Medical Induction
When your body is ready to give birth, your cervix will soften and thin. The opening then gets bigger and dilates.
When you’re in your 39th week of pregnancy, and your cervix has not changed, you may want to try some natural and safe ways to speed up labor.
A lot of times these methods are a hit and a miss, working for some mothers while not working for others. Using them, however, does not force your body into labor – it only encourages it if your baby is ready to arrive.
Induced labor, by contrast, happens in the hospital and is facilitated by a medical professional. This usually occurs when there is concern about your health or your baby’s health or your pregnancy continues two weeks past your due date.
Medical induction involves using an intravenous (IV) line to deliver medicines to start your labor.
While your health care provider will make an educated decision about whether or not you require medical induction, you can certainly try these natural and safe ways to speed up labor.
Is Inducing Labor Safe?
As long as you are allowing your pregnancy to reach full-term (at least 39 weeks) then there is no reason why you can’t try to speed up labor naturally.
Please keep in mind that putting anything on or in your body comes with risks and should always be discussed with your doctor beforehand.
Otherwise, forms of gentle exercise and safe as long as you move within your limits. Even if exercise and walking don’t make labor happen any faster, you are still improving your physical health.
Just keep in mind that hurrying your baby’s birth as a matter of convenience before it is safe to do so can increase the risk of serious problems for both you and the baby.
Best Online Birthing Course to Try
Who has time to register for birthing classes at their hospital? Not me when I was pregnant with twins. What really helped me feel confidence and ready to go into labor was taking an online birthing class.
The best one I recommend is the Kopa Natural Hospital Birth Class.
There Ya Go!
Hopefully these safe and natural ways of speeding up labor will encourage your little to make their debut appearance!
How about you? Have you ever tried anything that sped up labor? I’d love to hear your tips!