Looking to get labor started? Are there any natural ways to induce labor?
There is a LOT of misinformation out there (thanks a lot, Dr. Google!) about DIY ways to kick start childbirth. But do they actually work?
- Acupuncture? Little evidence that it induces labor, little evidence that it can cause harm. So, maybe?
- Red Raspberry Leaf Tea? Almost no evidence at all on this one – probably won’t cause any harm… probably won’t start labor.
- Black/Blue Cohosh? Evidence does show it can induce labor, but there is also a lot of evidence that it can be very dangerous. Best to avoid.
- Eating Dates? Eating 60-80 grams of dates a day may increase cervical dilation, but not start labor. Also best to avoid if you have gestational diabetes mellitus.
- Breast/Nipple Stimulation? Evidence does show it can ripen cervix and start labor, but also may cause uterine hyperstimulation. Best to only do under medical advice and avoid if you’re high-risk.
- Castor Oil? Probably effective at inducing labor, probably effective at making you nauseated or throw up.
- Membrane Strip/Sweep? Evidence is mixed on this – if done at 41 weeks or beyond, most likely won’t still be pregnant by 42 weeks. Increased chance of bleeding, cramping and artificial rupture of membranes (water breaking.)