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Promote and induce labor: 10 tips that work

Content checked by midwife Nadine Beermann.

The calculated due date has already been reached and the offspring still finds it so comfortable in your stomach that nothing happens? There are a few tips that can help promote labor.

Promoting labor vs. time for the baby

Of course, it is understandable that you would really like to finally cuddle with the long-awaited offspring. Keep in mind, however, that all means of promoting labor will not help until your baby is ready to give birth. Therefore, please only test the following tips if you are 40 weeks pregnant and feel ready for the birth. Do not try to entice your baby before the expected due date. Every day in the stomach is important and valuable for the offspring. Also, talk to your doctor or midwife to be on the safe side. This checks once again what the signs of birth are and whether the baby is doing well.

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The 10 Effective Tips for Promoting Labor

1. Enjoy physical closeness

One of the most effective triggers for labor is sexual intercourse. In addition to the stimulation caused by the female orgasm, the sperm also plays an important role. The active ingredient prostaglandins is found in the seminal fluid. This is also used to induce labor in the hospital. Prostaglandins soften the cervix and allow the cervix to open.

The female orgasm ensures the release of oxytocin. This hormone can also stimulate labor. Sexual intercourse is particularly helpful if you are already in light labor.

Important: If you have already ruptured your bladder, you should no longer have sexual intercourse. Your baby is no longer adequately protected against bacteria. These can get into the amniotic fluid and cause infections.

2. Warmth for labor

Combine relaxation with labor. Take a warm bath and add some cinnamon or ginger to the water. In addition to the relaxing effects that warmth has on your body, it can also help in labor. The water should be pleasantly warm, but not too hot. Make sure you are not home alone. Sometimes the warmth can make you feel dizzy or create a torrent of labor. These rapid contractions often have no effect on the cervix. They are still painful and should be watched.

3. Massage your stomach

Often times, an abdominal massage can work wonders to get your contra moving. Lie down completely relaxed for the massage. You can take a sideways position or lay your back on the arm of the sofa. Tighten your legs slightly and start with a circular stomach massage. If you also use a clove oil, a cinnamon oil or a ginger oil, the beneficial effect is supported.

Tip: Mix almond oil with cinnamon oil and massage the stomach clockwise with gentle pressure. Of course, the partner can also do that.

4. Keep light contractions going with movement

Movement is especially of great help if you already have mild contractions and want to encourage it further. You can take long walks and climbing stairs is also very helpful. However, make sure that you do not overexert yourself, as you will also need your strength for the upcoming birth.

5. Make a cup of tea go into labor

Certain herbs have been used to promote childbirth for centuries. Blackberry leaf tea or raspberry leaf tea are particularly popular teas for making the cervix nice and soft. However, you can also use a strong, spiced tea. You brew this with a little cinnamon, cloves, a piece of the ginger root and you can sweeten it with honey if you don't like it otherwise. Drink the tea warm and then take a short walk.

6. Visiting the Chinese or Indian

Here you combine two advantages with each other: You can go to eat one more time before the birth and stimulate labor with a spicy meal. Spicy food has the effect of making the intestines work harder. In the body, the uterus and the intestines are very close to each other. If this now gets going, then contractions can be triggered.

7. Tampon with clove oil

Under no circumstances should this tip be done alone. Talk to your midwife first. She can help you find the optimal dosage.

Important: Not everyone can tolerate clove oil. So first test on your hand whether you accept the mixture well and nothing burns and no red spots form.

A mixture of these is ideal 30 ml of almond oil (or sunflower oil) and 50 drops of clove oil. Then put on the tampon five to six drops of this mixture and introduce it. If the tampon makes you sting, remove it immediately. Always stay in touch with your midwife and let her know that you are using a clove oil tampon.

8. Stimulation of the nipples

Have you heard of nipple stimulation before? Stimulating this sensitive area causes the body to produce oxytocin. It is the same hormone that is produced by the body when a woman has orgasm. For light stimulation, massage your nipples gently for 60 seconds. Pause for 60 seconds and then continue the massage again. Pay attention to your body so that you can find your own rhythm and create a relaxed environment.

9. Acupuncture by the midwife

Many midwives recommend acupuncture to prepare the body for delivery and to get the labor going. You can even start acupuncture a few days before the due date and keep several appointments. Through the use of the thin needles, special points are to be stimulated that get your uterus going and ensure that the birth is easier.

10. The famous labor cocktail

One tip that you've probably heard of is the labor cocktail. The mixture is usually fortified with castor oil, which is said to help stimulate the bowel and thus encourage labor. The cocktail should only be prepared by a midwife and taken under her supervision. It is controversial today whether it is really necessary to weaken the body with the laxative. In addition, it can happen that there are uncontrollable continuous contractions. Therefore, find out about possible side effects before taking it and have your midwife check whether a labor cocktail can help you.

Important: Do not overwhelm your body. Do not combine several of the tips with each other. Of course, you can reconcile sexual intercourse and nipple stimulation. However, tea, spicy food and clove oil tampon should not be used at the same time. Give yourself and your baby the time that is still needed and go into the birth relaxed.

Which of the tips to promote labor would you use and which would not? Let us know in the comments.

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About the author: Anke is a qualified computer scientist and has been with Babelli since 2017. Her passion: unraveling complicated medical content and making it understandable. That is why she is our medical editor for pregnancy and breastfeeding. When she's not tackling the next exciting topic for us, she has her hands full as the favorite mom of a pug-loving daughter (5). She finds her inner balance at the latest when walking along the Havel.