After much research, I compiled a list of the most natural ways to induce labor just in case anyone else wants to know!
1. Enemas: this causes the bowels to contract and could cause the uterus to contract, which will open and efface the cervix.
2. Exercise: Walking, swinging in a swing and general exercise contracts the uterus.
3. Fasting and Dehydration: If pre-term labor occurs, a big percentage of the time, dehydration is the cause. This is a dangerous mode of induction and should be used with the utmost in caution.
4. Herbs: Black and Blue cohosh, borage oil, castor oil, evening primrose oil, goldenseal, mugwort, and yarrow are uterine stimulants. Evening primrose oil placed directly on the cervix will aid in dilation and effacement.
5. Intercourse: Having sex helps to induce labor because semen contains prostaglandins which helps to dilate and efface the cervix. Orgasm also causes the uterus to contract.
6. Nipple Stimulation: This causes the uterus to contract much the same way an IV Pitocin drip would. Stimulating the nipples causes the release of oxytocin which contracts the uterus. This can be done by someone sucking on the nipple much the way a baby would while nursing or by placing the nipple between the thumb and forefinger and “rolling” it for 10 to 20 minutes at a time every couple of hours.
7. Spicy food: Some people swear that it was that extra-hot enchilada from their favorite Mexican restaurant that brought them face to face with their new baby. Unfortunately, the statistics are out on this one. You could try it, but if you have a full stomach when you are in labor, you might vomit and see that enchilada again–in less-than-appetizing circumstances. Pineapple, cumin tea, and eggplant parmesan – are other methods you can try.
8. Acupuncture and Reflexology: Some acupuncture and reflexology points bring on overdue labour. It’s difficult to write about where they are but any acupuncturist or reflexologist would know. It is actually best to tailor the treatment to the individual patient.
9. Meditation: In private meditation or with someone helping you do guided visualization, go deep within and listen, asking your baby why s/he has not yet decided to go through the birth process. It is the baby who initiates labor. Unlimited answers are possible and might include: fear of the birth process (yours or the baby’s); aversion to one or more participants or location planned for the birth; or your feelings of lack of readiness for parenthood. (It may seem as if the answer is coming from your imagination, but your imagination is an important part of your mind.) Then listen for any possible solutions that may be offered.
10. Accupressure: Accupressure may be helpful in inducing labor. Some pressure points you can try are the roof of your mouth, the webbing of your fingers between your pointer finger and thumb, and above the ankle about four fingerspaces above is a pressure point.
11. Stripping the membranes: This can only be done by a health care provider. Your doctor or midwife will seperate the bag of waters from your cervix and this is thought to help encourage labor to start.
12. Raspberry Leaf Tea: Raspberry leaf tea is not actually known for it’s labor inducing properties, but it is believed to be helpful in toning the uterus and helping with labor.
13. Cinnamon stick tea: Take cinnamon sticks and boil them into a tea and drink. It actually tastes good so even if it doesn’t bring on labor it may help you to relax.
14. Evening primrose oil: Evening primrose oil comes in small capsules similar to vitamin E. It is believed to help soften and ripen the cervix.
15. Glass of wine: although there is no evidence that wine stimulates contractions, it can help an anxious mom relax. Bear in mind that any alcohol affects your baby and can be dehydrating. Be sure to take only one glass with dinner and check with your provider before considering this way to start labor.