You’re at the end zone of pregnancy and OVER it. You’re wishing it was over and are wondering WHAT you can do to push yourself into labor. Today I’m going to chat about 5 things you can think about.
Before we get into it, this is just a skim of what I dive into in my book Going Into Labor Made Easy. In there I talk about how your body decides to go into labor and the things you can do to help it along. If you’re really interested in this topic, grab that.
Of course with any of these things you’ll want to be sure they’re OK for you. Has your provider said no sex, or are you allergic to dates? Then, make the right choices for YOU! AND none of these should be tried prior to 37 weeks — before that baby needs to stay inside to develop!
Ok, let’s dive into what can push you into labor:
So many swear by spicy foods, or eggplant parm — but the studies don’t really show any benefit to any of that. There are some con’s to those with heartburn and possibly over-eating and what comes with that during pregnancy.
Dates, however, have shown to soften your cervix a bit. If I was pregnant again I’d definitely follow the protocol I outline here.
HOWEVER they have to be done for a few WEEKS. So, it’s not like — I want to have this baby tomorrow, let’s have some dates — that won’t work.
It’s really easy for someone to say on social media — take DATES it will put you into labor, but it’s really important to take advice from someone with experience. I’d love to join you for the rest of your pregnancy to give some great advice like this:
We know that nipple stimulation will make you contract. In fact, in my early days as a labor nurse we had a test (called a contraction stress test) where we would either infuse some Pitocin into you OR have you rub your nipples to create some contractions and then see how baby would respond to them. I don’t see this test much any more, but I do know it will make you contract.
Labor Truth #1: Contractions are different than labor.
While we’re here, let me give you….
Labor Truth #2: Pain is also very different from labor.
So many people think things like jumping jacks will put you into labor, but in reality it puts you into pain and you may still be in that pain when you go into labor, but it’s not the same as going into labor.
There are also a lot of chances of injuries with something like that.
HOWEVER, just constant rubbing of your nipples may not feel great either.
As a reminder, it will likely make you contract, but that doesn’t mean you’re in labor.
You’d need to continue rubbing those nipples to make the contractions, and once you stop they will stop — which means it is not active labor.
And please don’t rub those nipples raw, you’re going to want to use them in the next few days/weeks!
BUT, fun fact did you know that this class has a breastfeeding bonus video so you can understand that AND labor? Pretty handy!
Miles Circuit / Movement
The Miles Circuit (more on that here) has gotten a lot of talk in the past few years as a way to go into labor. In reality there’s nothing really magical about the Miles Circuit — it’s more about the movements of your pelvis in different situations (meaning, if you hate one of the moves on there, you can probably skip it — might not be right for your body).
There are NO studies that show the Miles Circuit will put you into labor (but you’ll see a lot of people who say it works if you google it). You can also see my post on curb walking for similar info.
There is this study that talks about exercise and how if people do it they’re less likely to be induced. HOWEVER there was no earlier labor in those who exercised vs those who didn’t. Meaning, people did NOT go into labor earlier, but they were less likely to be induced.
This is where I remind you that if you “study” (I use that term loosely on a lot of these) anything as people get towards their due date people will start to go into labor. You need to study people at the same gestational age in their pregnancy who did NOT do the activity and compare those. Most of these just don’t increase your chance of going into labor.
Oh, and this isn’t to say that movement isn’t important. I think if you’re not asleep in early labor you should be moving every 30 minutes. Giving baby lots of ways to use gravity with your pelvis in different positions can only be a win! I have some handy labor movement cards in here.
Many people say that the act that got you pregnant will get you out of being pregnant. It makes sense. Sperm has hormones in it (similar to induction methods) and you’re moving your pelvis, and may even have the big O and then more hormones will release (including oxytocin).
However, this study showed that those who had intercourse didn’t go into labor any sooner than those who didn’t. I feel like I have read studies that people who had it in the final months of pregnancy did have a lesser chance of induction (similar to things like walking or dates) — so that could be an option.
But again — just doing it NOW won’t push you into labor. Although, doesn’t have a lot of downsides — so it’s an option. It can help you as a couple, and that’s always a win in my book. I’m a huge fan of couples!!!!!
Talk With Your Provider
So often I hear people say “I want a natural induction method”. And I sort of wonder why.
Natural induction methods may or may not work. Most often, they do not work and can have some serious consequences.
Have you talked with your provider? They may have a variety of responses:
- You’re too early — really, before 37 weeks this isn’t even something to consider. Baby needs to stay in longer unless something is seriously wrong (and in that case you need the care of medical providers).
- We can do it when you’re 39 weeks. Providers can’t schedule an elective induction until that point (one without a medical reason). But, they can schedule it a week or two in advance, it at least gives you an end date.
- Nope. Some hospitals just don’t allow elective inductions. They don’t have the room for it. And if that’s the case you can look at a different hospital or just wait. Once you hit 41 weeks they will induce you because that is no longer elective — it’s due to being overdue.
But, no MATTER what you’re choosing I’d recommend making sure you talk with them about your plans. They can let you know pitfalls of your own methods and things to watch for. This is especially important with things like Midwives Brew — which can have some consequences to you and baby. So, you need to be informed on them.
Of course, the choice you do with you and your body is up to you, but it’s fair to get their opinion on what you’re trying. That’s what you’re paying them for. They just don’t get to make choices FOR you.
This advice goes for ALL of labor. You’re getting their advice and making choices for yourself. I talk about that over and over in here (showing you how it works in lots of situations) I hope you’ll join me in getting prepared for your birth!
And, if you’re not quite sure you’re ready for that whole thing, check out the free lesson from it. It’s your first step toward getting in the driver’s seat of your birth.
Pereira IB, Silva R, Ayres-de-Campos D, Clode N. Physical exercise at term for enhancing the spontaneous onset of labor: a randomized clinical trial. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2022 Feb;35(4):775-779. doi: 10.1080/14767058.2020.1732341. Epub 2020 Mar 29. PMID: 32223479.
Carbone L, De Vivo V, Saccone G, D’Antonio F, Mercorio A, Raffone A, Arduino B, D’Alessandro P, Sarno L, Conforti A, Maruotti GM, Alviggi C, Zullo F. Sexual Intercourse for Induction of Spontaneous Onset of Labor: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. J Sex Med. 2019 Nov;16(11):1787-1795. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2019.08.002. Epub 2019 Sep 11. PMID: 31521572.
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
A nurse since 1997, she has worked in various fields including pediatrics, geriatrics & hospice. She has 20 years of labor and delivery experience in the San Jose, CA and Phoenix, AZ areas.
As an evidence-based prenatal educator Hilary has delivered thousands of babies and has educated hundreds of thousands of parents from a diverse patient population to help them have a confident birth.