Inducing Labor- Old Wives Tales that Just May Work!

Anyone who is sick of being pregnant, is past their due date or is trying to avoid an induction has Googled “inducing labor naturally.” I sure have. I have compiled a list of things that I tried with each of my 2 girls in no particular order, with the reasoning behind them. They may work or they may not, but I am a firm believer in the peace of mind that comes with doing SOMETHING. 


  • Exercise the idea is that it helps move the baby down toward the birth canal, increasing pressure on the cervix and possibly encouraging effacement and dilation
    • Long hilly walks
    • Jumping jacks
    • Yoga ball exercises
    • Squats
  • Yoga improves relaxation of the mind and body, putting you in a parasympathetic state. Helps the relaxin work in your body to make birthing easier
    • Be careful to not stretch too far or overdo movements. Because the hormone relaxin is increased during this time, you can overstretch joints which can lead to injury and you could have a harder time recovering postpartum (from the Fourth Trimester book)
  • Swimming
  • Raspberry Leaf Tea
  • Pineapple, date & cinnamon smoothie
  • Acupuncture targets meridians intended to induce labor
  • Chiropractic ensures proper alignment for optimal fetal positioning and smooth transition out of the birth canal. If the pelvis is aligned properly, the baby is far less likely to get “stuck” in the birth canal. Chiropractic care is associated with shorter labor times.
  • Foot massage pressure points on the foot and ankle are correlated with inducing labor
  • Evening primrose oil
  • Sex encourages contraction of vaginal and uterine musculature and blood flow to that region of the body, possibly getting things moving labor-wise
  • Spicy foods increases metabolism and blood flow
  • Eggplant Now this one is really an old wives tale, but one that people swear by! I can’t explain the science here, but Eggplant Parmesan was the last meal I had before I went into labor with my second daughter. I tried it after I heard it can induce labor.
  • Meditation getting in the right mind space is important before labor. If you are less nervous and more mentally prepared, the fear-pain-tension cycle is less likely to take hold of you.
  • Visualizations In mindful birthing and hypnobirthing, there are visualization exercises. Visualizing flowers blossoming or other images that promote “opening” are said to be helpful in readying the body for labor.
  • Keep jaw relaxed It is said that without an open jaw, there cannot be an open cervix. Performing progressive relaxation exercises or simply massaging the jaw muscles and trying to keep the jaw from clenching can help prepare the body for labor
  • Essential Oils
    • Clary Sage- it is said that you should not use this oil unless you are ready for labor to start. I used it directly on my lower belly without a carrier oil, but it didn’t seem to do much for me. I also used it on my ankles and feet on pressure points associated with labor.
    • lavender- to promote relaxation – can use it on the body or by diffusing it

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