If your due date came and went with no hint of water-breaking or contractions, then you’re probably a bit frustrated. You’ve provided your baby with a warm and cosy home for the last nine months while he may not fancy leaving you, it’s about time he put in an appearance. Welcome to our 10 ways to make this happen.
Do some exercise
However much you don’t feel like it, a spot of gentle exercise, such as a short walk, can bring on labour. The weight of your baby’s head on your cervix can get things moving. Just make sure you have someone with you in case your waters break in the middle of that third lap of the park.
A little love-making is one of the most familiar ways bring on labour – we’ve all seen that Friends episode when Rachel and Ross almost ‘do it’ in an effort to meet baby Green-Geller sooner. ‘Probably having sex is the best option,’ says Sheena Byrom, of the Royal College of Midwives ‘You’ll relax and your body will, too.’ Make sure you enjoy it – it’s thought an orgasm can stimulate your uterus to get labour going, so it’s well worth a try. And there are plenty of ways to have sex while you’re pregnant.
Eat certain foods
Loads of different foods are thought to be great for encouraging labour – you may have heard success stories from women who’ve drunk raspberry leaf tea or eaten pineapple. If you don’t have any luck with any food methods, then at least you get to indulge in some healthy pre-labour calorie loading.
This traditional Chinese medicine is believed to help energise the body, which can be ideal for kick-starting labour. But there are certain acupuncture points that aren’t safe during pregnancy, so make sure you check with your GP first and always to a registered practitioner.
Explore herbal and homeopathic remedies
If you want to try homeopathic or herbal remedies then make sure you consult your GP or homeopathic consultant first. Herbal remedies such as blue and black cohosh can be quite strong, so make sure you follow medical advice if you decide to use these. Some methods, such as the pulsatilla flower extract, are thought to stimulate labour but there are no studies to prove this.
Take a bath
It works when you’ve had a terrible day in the office or have terrible period cramps – and it’ll help get labour moving, too. Probably not. Relaxing your body and mind can stimulate contractions, so slipping into a bath of bubbles is worth a shot. Double the effects by getting your partner to give you a massage at the same time.
Stimulate your nipples
Imitating the suckling of your baby can release oxytocin, a hormone which causes contractions to start. Try it by gently rubbing or rolling your nipples and areola (the area surrounding the nipple) – or hand the task to your partner.
Bounce on a birthing ball
Have a gentle bounce on your birthing ball (with your partner standing by for safety reasons) to help get your baby in his optimum birthing position. Although it’s not incredibly comfortable, it could help encourage your baby’s head to engage.
Blow up a balloon
Strange as it sounds, the build-up of abdominal pressure from blowing up a balloon can encourage labour to start. And if nothing else you’ll have lots of ‘welcome home’ balloons ready for your baby when he eventually does arrive.