Induce Labor Naturally?

Induce Labor Naturally

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.)
In conclusion – there is a lot of mixed information out there – either most “natural” labor induction techniques don’t work or are considered risky/negative, unwanted side effects. Discuss ANY of these options with your medical care provider before attempting.
For more information on the research mentioned above, check out Evidence-Based Birth.

About Amy Lewis

Amy is certified by ProDoula as a labor doula, postpartum and infant care doula and postpartum placenta specialist. She was certified by the Healthy Children Project and the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice as a lactation counselor and is a birth, newborn and breastfeeding educator.

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