Forty weeks is long enough, but sometimes it seems like your little one would be happy to stay warm in your tummy forever. If you’ve been experiencing some of the signs of labor — occasional contractions, or your cervix starting to dilate, for example — you may want to do what you can to speed up labor. Though these methods won’t work unless you’re body is ready to give birth, you can try to push the process along safely and gently. Every woman is different, so experiment to see what works for you.
Take a walk. Often, a labor progresses slowly because your baby has not yet fully dropped into position for birth. Going for a walk can help him move to the correct position, placing his head lower in the pelvic region.
Stimulate your nipples. This produces oxytocin naturally, which speeds up the labor process. You can do it yourself or have a partner do it. A breast pump also works for nipple stimulation. It can take up to three hours of nipple stimulation to make a significant difference, so combine this with other methods.
Lead your partner to the bedroom. It’s only appropriate that the act that got you pregnant may be the one that gets you out of it. Orgasm can stimulate contractions and semen can soften the cervix.
Drink more water and have a snack. Dehydration can slow the labor process, according to Birthing Naturally, so drink up. Additionally, your body may not have the energy that it needs to give birth. Having a snack can give you more energy.
Mix one to two ounces of castor oil in a glass of orange juice and drink it. This causes intestinal cramping and diarrhea. Since the large and small intestines are so close to the uterus, it often stimulates contractions as well. Castor oil, though a traditional kick-start for labor, is not commonly recommended by physicians. No research evaluating its safety for mother or baby has been published.
Talk to your doctor about pitocin. If you’re past your due date and have some or no signs of labor, your doctor may suggest inducing labor with pitocin. This drug simulates oxytocin, which helps labor progress. Note, though, that when taking pitocin, you must be in the hospital and attached to monitors, which makes it difficult to move into more comfortable positions or walk around during labor.