Tried & Tested: Natural ways to induce labour
Posted On: 08/05/2016
By: Scouse Bird
Ah. If you thought the first few months of pregnancy were horrific with the sickness and the extreme fatigue, then you’ve got a shock when you get to the final couple of weeks – especially if you go overdue. The actual fury is real. Not only is it a struggle getting knickers on (you try balancing on one leg) but also you’re extremely uncomfortable and have all the movement and grace of your 80-year-old Nan and still no baby. And woe betides anyone who asks you if the baby is here yet – NO IT’S FUCKING NOT! DO YOU SEE A BABY?? DO YOU SEE PICTURES AND ANNOUNCEMENTS ON FACEBOOK? NO YOU FUCKING DON’T. It’s safer just to be patient and not ask, seriously, you’re not helping, just making a fat, frustrated woman repeat herself.
Everyone has a remedy or a trick to force your body into getting things going and making that baby come – but do they work? I tried them. All.
Pineapple – Right there’s something in fresh pineapple, which apparently has cervix softening properties. Bromelain it’s called. The only issue is you’d have to eat pineapple in such massive quantities (about 8 a day, including the core) for it to make a difference that this one soon becomes unrealistic. Especially after you find your tolerance is one and a half pineapples before your mouth is ripped to shreds from the fruit acid and you have to spend the next couple of weeks with crusty cuts round your gob. Nice. So does it work? No. No baby.
Curry/spicy food – The idea behind this one is that it sends your digestive system into turmoil which ‘could’ cause the uterus to start contracting. If you’ve got a high tolerance to spicy food anyway (like moi) then this is going to do fuck all. Although the lovely staff at Nandos in Queens Square did have a bash at making me an extra extra hot butterfly chicken and I did partake in Vindaloo. Did it work? No. No baby.
Sex – This one might actually have a little bit of scientific weight behind it. There’s something in semen which softens the cervix and the female orgasm releases oxytocin which is one of the hormones needed for labour so the female needs are just as important here as making sure daddy blows his load of cervix softening juice. Female masturbation also counts as extra homework. Does it work? No. No baby. But this the one most worth a punt. Even though sex is not high on the agenda at this point (because 80 year old nan agility).
Raspberry leaf tea – RLT is good for uterine muscle tone so while there’s nothing really to say it will bring on labour, apparently it helps you have a quicker, easier labour. The tea itself sounds vile but you can get supplement tablets instead which have a higher concentration anyway. Some women and midwives swear by this stuff. Does it work? No. No baby.
Bouncing on a ball – This I think is a gravity based remedy and also opens up your pelvis - ideal for getting baby to move down and engage. Does it work? No, no baby. Plus it’s a pain in the arse trying to watch TV while you’re up and down on a glorified space hopper.
Long walks – I did take a day trip over to New Brighton to try a long walk along the prom and got really excited when I started getting stitch like pains at the bottom of my belly and contractions. Alas it was just Braxton Hicks and the stitch like pain was probably just because I’m carrying another person weighing anywhere between 7 and 10lbs in a skin bumbag. Does it work? No, no baby.
Clary sage oil – Some midwives swear by this, some will warn you off because there’s a been a vague study done with inconclusive evidence than there was a relation to stillborn rats. Either way, adding it to your bath water or burning it in an oil burner can apparently cause labour. Did it work? No, no baby.
Foot massage – There are certain pressure points on the body (mainly in the feet) that are linked to the nerves in the reproductive system and when massaged they can bring on labour (which is why pregnant women have to see people specially trained in pre-natal massage). Does it work? Don’t know, I can’t reach my feet properly and I couldn’t get my fella to do it for long enough. Probably not.
Castor Oil – Didn’t try this one, as you’d be hard pressed to find a midwife who still recommends it. Apparently it’s absolutely disgusting and has you shitting through the eye of a needle…. I think it’s based on the same concept as the curry.
Driving over speed bumps – Similar to bouncing on a ball I think. Trying to get gravity to pop those waters and make that labour start. Does it work? No, does it shite. Just extra rage at going over speed bumps.
Going down stairs sideways – I can’t even work this one out but I gave it a whirl. I’ve also still been working in an office up 3 flights of stairs and yet here I am, currently 8 days overdue, and still no baby. So no, it doesn’t work.
Squats - This is supposed to encourage the baby to move down but I’ve been fully engaged for weeks now (meaning the baby is RIGHT FUCKING THERE looking at the way out and refusing to budge). Gave it a go anyway but still no baby.
A prosecco (or whatever your poison) – Again, some midwives would recommend having a glass of wine or something (my midwife is not one of them by the way, in case she reads this) but I think that's more to do with getting you to relax, as if you’re stressed out, the labour hormones can’t kick in. While the government say the odd alcoholic drink throughout pregnancy is fine, my own personal feeling is that you wouldn’t give a glass of wine to an actual baby and seeing as you’re currently sharing a blood and food supply with said baby, best not. But each to their own, and I would never judge. Does it work? No idea.
So basically, what I’m trying to say is, NOTHING WORKS, these are all just lies we're fed to make us feel like we have some sort of control over the situation. Baby will come when he or she is good and ready (or when the medical profession intervene) so put your feet up, chill out and enjoy the last few days/weeks of being child free. As best you can anyway. If any of these have worked for women in the past I'd take a stab at it being because they were ripe to pop anyway and would they have gone into labour without the above remedies? We'll never know.
Oh and let me put a little disclaimer in saying that none of this is intended to be or to replace medical advice, always consult a doctor blah blah blah and don’t try any of this until you’re full term.
And no, the baby isn't here yet.