If you are nearing the end of your pregnancy, you are probably wondering whether and when your labor will begin. If you are overdue, and you are nearing the date when you would be induced you may also wonder whether labor will start on its own before then. If you are interested in trying to give things a nudge in that direction, there are a few things that you can do if your prenatal health care provider says that it okay to do them. It is essential that you ask your care provider first because each pregnancy is different, and some methods may not be safe for some women.
Walking is perhaps the simplest, oldest “trick” in the book when it comes to getting labor started. You have probably heard more than one story of a woman who got things going by taking a walk. Of course, you do not want to walk too much and tire yourself out, because once labor starts there is a lot of physical work to do.
Sex is another tried and true way to get labor started. Hormones in sperm help to ripen the cervix, and oxytocin released during orgasm can set off contractions. Even if you do not start labor, it is a good way to relax for a bit before the big event.
Castor oil is often referenced in connection with getting labor started. During my most recent pregnancy, I found out one day that I was 40 weeks pregnant instead of 35, and since I had preeclampsia I was going to have to deliver the next day. I had been induced for the same reason during my first pregnancy and did not want another induction so my mother in law suggested that I down a few shots of castor oil en route to the hospital. My husband offered to stop at a pharmacy and get me some, but I chickened out. It is a laxative and I was terrified that if I took some, I would be very, um, uncomfortable for the remainder of the car ride.
Unfortunately, I have not got any “it worked for me” stories to tell. Both of my labors were induced, even though I tried a few natural kick start methods each time. Do you have a funny story about how you got your labor going?
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