If you've caught yourself exclaiming with horror that you might be pregnant forever, then this one's for you. With only 5 percent of babies born on their due date, a whole lot of women go into pregnancy overtime. We get it – you're exhausted, uncomfortable and plain old ready to meet that late little one. So how can you get the ball rolling? We've compiled 4 all-natural ways that may kickstart labor – without a dose of pitocin:
One of the less pleasant on our list, castor oil is vegetable derived and long believed by the natural community to bring on contractions. You can pick up a bottle at any pharmacy, but you should definitely run this one by your doctor first. How does it work? When you ingest the oil, it stimulates the bowel and irritates the uterus into contracting. Make no mistake about it, this method can have some pretty uncomfortable side effects, such as diarrhea and vomiting. Help mitigate the taste of castor oil by mixing 2 tablespoons into a dish of chocolate ice cream.
Here's heartening news: A recent study out of Canada found that pregnant women who had sex past 36 weeks were less likely to need medical intervention to induce labor. The research is still mixed on this one, but as long as you have a healthy pregnancy and have your doctor's OK, what's the harm? Having an orgasm can stimulate the uterus and cause contractions – and semen releases prostaglandins, known to soften the cervix and prep women for labor.
Similar to acupuncture, in which fine needles are inserted at various points in the skin to manipulate energy flow, acupressure relies on pressure applied through touch. There are two points along the body that, once activated, are thought to cause contractions. One point is located between your outstretched index finger and thumb. The other can be found just above the ankle. Massaging these points may be what you need to see the first signs of labor.
Stimulating the nipple releases the feel-good hormone oxytocin, which is the primary ingredient in the labor inducing drug, pitocin. The most effective method of stimulation is to use a breast pump. Try one breast for five minutes and, if after 15 minutes the contractions wane, try the other. If and when contractions begin, put away the pump and let things progress naturally.