How to bring on labour: Natural ways to induce labour that really work

how to bring on labour

by Maeve Campbell |

Waiting for an overdue baby? It can be a long and arduous period of not-knowing, second-guessing and waking up every day thinking..."Surely, today is the day."

As if being pregnant isn't exhausting enough, being overdue is uncomfortable, and you're impatient to meet your little one too!

We're here to help. There are various ways of nudging yourself along by naturally inducing labour - and they're worth knowing about for when you're really at your wits' end. The best thing is, as they're all 'au naturel', there's no harm in trying them out. Of course, every mum-to-be is different and many of these tips aren't particularly scientific, but plenty of women swear by them.

Take your pick from our definitive list, whether it's chewing on some dates, blowing up balloons or spending a little longer in the bedroom one morning... We've got them all, and we bet you won't have heard of quite a few!

Just a few things to be aware of first:

  • Natural induction should only be a helping hand. The method should be gentle enough to ensure you won’t go into labour if your body isn’t ready.

  • Induction is not recommended before 39-40 weeks.

  • Don't stress that you're overdue. Usually, first-time pregnancies are up to 80% more likely to go beyond the due date and you are not officially 'overdue' until 42 weeks. Even then, a doctor cannot legally induce labour without your permission.

  • Do your own research, only do what you feel comfortable with and never overstrain yourself. If you're not sure, talk to your doctor, especially if your pregnancy is considered high-risk.

How to bring on labour naturally:

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Use a birthing ball to help bring on labour
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1. Use a birthing ball

You'll probably have been told about the magic of birthing balls by your midwife. They aren't too expensive, improve your posture and balance and can actually help with the slow process that is inducing your labour. Not only is a birthing ball more comfortable than sitting on a hard, rigid surface, when your tummy is the size of a house, using it is also gentle exercise that can help shift your baby's position, preparing him for labour.

Birthing ball positions to try:

- If your baby is in a posterior (back-to-back) position, adopting upright, forward-leaning positions can encourage him to switch around.

- Try getting on to your knees and leaning forward over your ball. This may encourage your baby's back to swing forward so he's in an anterior position, with his back towards your bump.He may not stay that way until you go into labour, but it should give you some temporary relief from backache.

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