How To Speed Up labor: Natural Induction |

How To Speed Up labor: Natural Induction

hailey April 10, 2013

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The labor induction rate is at an all-time high in the United States. It is common for women nearing the third trimester to feel pressure for their baby to come out before his/her “due date”. Although induction is only recommended for medical necessity (when the benefits of a quick birth outweigh the risks for continuing pregnancy), elective induction has become the norm in our country.

In addition, many women who begin labor on their own feel pressured to deliver the baby within a certain amount of time. When progress is not moving along as quickly as the hospital allows or is comfortable with, inducing labor with various synthetic methods, like Pitocin, is often discussed.

There are natural ways to speed up a stalled labor that are proven to be more effective and also a healthier option for both mom and baby. For women who experience prodromal labor or frequent stalls, there are various methods to try and move labor along.

It is proven that inducing labor can increase the numbers of complications in the labor and with the baby. I always encourage my healthy, low-risk clients to wait until the baby is ready to come on their own. If the momma is feeling pressured by her medical provider or she is beyond 41 weeks gestation, she may want to consider natural methods of induction to avoid more risky interventions. I recommend safe, natural methods to get labor going over synthetic for many reasons. Here are just a few:

  1. With natural methods of induction, labor will not start if it is not supposed to – these methods only work when the baby is supposed to come
  2. It will not cause further complications – there is no cascade of bad side-effects
  3. It will produce the proper hormones that your body needs to effectively move labor along in a  natural manner

These are my favorite natural ways speed up a stalled labor:

Help the baby assume proper position (optimum fetal positioning)

One cause of postponed or stalled labor is misalignment of the baby. If the mother is full term in her pregnancy, she can help natural labor progress through various activities which attend to the round ligaments, muscles and fascia surrounding the pelvis. Spinning Babies suggests a series of activities including sifting with a rebozo, forward-leaning inversions, pelvic floor release or sidelying release, and/or an abdominal lift.

Depending on how the baby is positioned, certain exercises can open the pelvic floor giving the baby more room to get into proper position. Other activities that can align the body and bring it into balance are prenatal chiropractics, specifically the Webster Technique, and acupuncture,

If the baby is occiput posterior, the head may be deflexed (extended, chin up) and not in position to fit into the pelvis.  Due to the fact that the baby’s head is not engaged, dilation will not occur and labor will not progress properly.

If the baby is breech, labor can pause or stop while the baby is trying to manage his waist into the pelvis. Labor may stop at any point if the uterus gets fatigued while the baby is trying to travel further down the pelvis. According to Spinning Babies online resource, pelvic tilts, brisk walks and the motion of hula hooping while sitting on a birth ball may all help to tuck the baby’s chin thus engaging the head into the pelvis. In addition, rest for her body and her lower uterine segment may be just what this mother needs to encourage true labor.


Image by eyeliam

Get your mind in the right place – peace of mind

Psychological barriers quite often play a role in stalled labor. If a woman has any barriers or fears subconsciously, they can hold her back from letting her body go into labor. Exploring any possibilities and talking out feelings and thoughts or even crying can be a great help if this is the case. If she is worried, stressed or fearful, labor cannot functionally take place.

A woman must feel safe and guarded in order for labor to occur. Finding exercises and habits that support the mother’s well-being are her best bet in progressive labor. Examples include drinking hot tea, lighting candles and/or listening to calming music.

Make yourself at home

Interruptions are a common cause of a stalled labor. For example, arriving to the hospital or having new people (partner, doula, nurse, etc.) arrive onto the scene of a birth. Any interruption of environment, subtle or obvious, can change the mood of the birth for the mother.

The hormone oxytocin encourages labor and contractions, and even something like a change of the scene can trigger this hormone to cease. If a woman does arrive at the hospital and labor stops for a long period of time, she may be induced using pitocin, cytotec, cervadil or another labor-inducing drug to get things moving along. If you’re giving birth in a hospital or birth center, tour the location ahead of time and think of some things you can bring/do that will make it more comfy when you’re in labor.

Natural induction

If a full-term mother is experiencing stalled labor and feels rested and ready for progression, there are a number of things she can do to enhance labor. Coffee is a uterine stimulant, as well as red raspberry leaf tea (buy it here). Other recommendations include getting an enema to stimulate the bowels and the uterus. Oxytocin, the labor/love hormone, can be stimulated by kissing, cuddling, nipple stimulation, sex, and even just relaxation.

Having sex can bring on labor for a couple of reasons: the prostaglandins found in male semen softens and ripens the cervix and orgasm in sex can trigger uterine contractions. It is commonly said “what got the baby in, gets the baby out,” referring to making love and the hormones triggered through that intimate process. In addition, uterine contractions increasing in strength, frequency and duration require a lot of fuel. It is wise for the mother not to “run out of fuel” by staying hydrated and well fed, even if it’s just little nibbles of food and sips of fluid here and there.

What are your tricks for speeding labor up?

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This is the writings of:

  1. Love the article!! I am 41 weeks pregnant right now and REALLY being pressured into being induced by my doctor. I am only dilated to a 1 and 50 % effaced. I’m trying to relax and let my baby come when it’s ready, but I am starting to get very nervous that I will have to be induced. I have gone on walks, used evening primrose oil since 37 weeks, and ate spicey food!!! I have even THOUGHT about using my breast pump for stimulation. I’m desperate, and suggestions?


  2. Would you recommend doing an enema?


  3. I love the suggestions, although in June I had my baby (who was due in May). I was working full time and huge, swollen, had SPD. I was so miserable! I truly tried everything short of castor oil to induce naturally! We even did cervical sweeping, which I wouldn’t recommend… ultimately, our babies and our bodies know what to do 🙂 I wish I had spent less time fretting about her due date, although when you are that pregnant all you can think about is the end of your suffering. It’s all worth it, though. Happy babies!


  4. My EDD was sept 30th, but that’s just it, it’s an estimate not a guarantee! However my OB office has a policy that the baby must be OUT by 42 weeks according to their calculation, so they start to induce 1-2 days before. I do like my OB office, they have a ton of midwives and are natural birth friendly, but next baby I’m staying home if I can. I’m so tired of rules and interruptions while giving birth (3rd baby in hospital).


  5. My names Ashley im 18 and pregnant with my first child. Im 37 weeks today and the last few days ive been having contractions that are between 3-5 mins and i went to tge Dr yesterday and i was told i am 3cmin dialated and 40% efaced or whatever. My baby is 100% healthy and developed and my Dr said if i had him yesterday it would be totally fine. Ive had a very hard pregnancy and ready for it to be over and for my son to be here already. Im lookin for some good ways to speed up my labor process and get this thing really going cause right now it is very slow and killin me. Any suggestions? Thanks!


  6. I had acupuncture to induce third child. It worked wonderfully. I also had it with my second to turn him (he was breech) and it also worked. For induction sometimes it takes a couple of visits, I think mine took two, but much better than Pitocin!


  7. i am 40 weeks pregnant and the doctor say my pelvis isnt opening, she wants to induce labor, is there anyway i can help my pelvis open?


  8. DS1 – 24hours oxytocin induced hell no drugs 39weeks 6 days 8.4lbs
    DS2 – 96hours stalled oxytocin/epidural/demerol induced haze 42 weeks 9.15lbs
    DD1 – 5 minutes, no drugs, in taxi on way to the bank. (never made it to the bank)
    41 weeks 11.02lbs (now imagine 215 stitches)
    DD2 – 2hours AROM after weak lemon verbena/castor oil concoction (didn’t want this one born in the car, very controlled) 40 weeks 2 days 6.14lbs (different dad & only gained 10lbs in pregnancy)
    DD3 – could go either way due in 3 weeks


  9. I’m Isa-lee n m 23 years m 30 weeks pregnant.I’ ve bn experiencing sum severe abdominal pains for the past 2 weeks sometyms they so painful tht i find it so hard to even stand o walk…n at times my cervix would be sp heavy ..Was wonderin if this is normal @ this stage of my . pregnancy n if there is anything i could do to ease the s


  10. I love the article , I am 20 years old and having my second child (my two year old) I was induced with because of complications and I ended up having to have a c section , I really don’t want to have to go threw another c section with this baby , I will be 38 weeks in a few days and the baby is head first , ive started taking EPO and pumping but I haven’t dilated or anything , ive been in and out of triage for heavy back contractions but nothing has actually happened to help me go into labor and im starting to wonder if I could even go in to labor on my own or what . I would really like so replies on this maybe suggestions someone has or anything im very open to everything , fill free to email me .


  11. […] How To Speed Up Labor: Natural Induction from Modern Alternative Pregnancy […]


  12. I’m 39 weeks and this process is taking too long ,squatting, sex, nipple touch, walking, spicy food, reaching, all of these things are not working. I’ve been having pre-labor pains for weeks and still no baby. I’m just ready to meet my son and rest I’m tired of working


  13. Inducing labor may be done when mom or baby has a health problem or the pregnancy is not proceeding as it should. Follow the links below to find WebMD’s comprehensive coverage about how labor is induced and why, what to expect after labor is induced, and more.


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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