At the moment I find myself in a very familiar position. I’m 39 weeks pregnant with absolutely no sign of an imminent birth on the horizon. My last pregnancy ended in induction, and even that wasn’t straight forward, taking the best part of four days for baby to turn up. I have read every urban myth and medical recommendation about how to bring on labour and tried out almost all of them to no avail.
I thought I’d share the list of (unsuccessful) suggestions that I’ve had, in the hope that some of my readers might share some tips too! So here are the things that I’ve tried, along with a couple that I won’t!
Walking is widely accepted to be great for bringing on labour, as is swimming. When I was pregnant with Libby, I was walking miles and miles, much of it uphill as late as the day before being induced at 11 days overdue. I also swam regularly, played tennis, squash and badminton even after my due date. I can safely say, this is a myth, it doesn’t work.
My husband has been looking forward to this part of pregnancy because last time the midwife told us that it was one of the best things to bring on labour. It wasn’t, we checked.
3. Raspberry Leaf Tea
This is a myth. It strengthens your contractions but won’t make you go into labour. I do drink this, I think it’s worth doing if it will make my contractions more effective, because it should result in a shorter labour. I’m a firm believer that keeping fit will also help with a shorter labour because the muscles will be more effective when it comes to pushing.
4. Clary Sage
This has been recommended to me by my midwife if the contractions slow down during labour. However, she assures me that it won’t bring on labour so it’s not worth investing in myself, I’d be better to ask for an aromatherapy midwife if needed during birth.
The core of a pineapple is supposed to contain something that stimulates oxytocin production. I ate so much pineapple when I was overdue with Libby that my mouth was stinging. It did nothing.
6. Tonic Water
The quinine in tonic water is supposed to bring on labour, from what I recall, diet tonic water is supposed to be the most effective. It didn’t work for me.
As in the eating variety. There was a study that showed that eating dates regularly in the final weeks of pregnancy could prevent the necessity for induction. I’ve only read this recently and believe me, I have tried to eat them but only dry dates are available at the moment and I just hate them. I tried eating them whole, putting them in a smoothy or putting them in porridge but I just can’t do it. I have resorted to having a couple of spoonfuls of date extract each day. It hasn’t worked so far but it tastes good!
8. Nipple stimulation
This isn’t recommended until after your due date because, apparently, it can be really effective. Expressing colostrum is supposed to bring on labour. It didn’t work for me last time.
9. Blue and black cohosh
I haven’t tried this, but it is supposed to bring on regular contractions. However, I have also heard that it isn’t safe and can cause some nasty side effects so I won’t be trying it.
10. Castor oil
This basically give you diarrhoea, and the contractions from your bowel are supposed to trigger labour contractions. However, I WON’T be doing this because it is dangerous for the baby. What you eat, the baby effectively eats so the baby can also end up with diarrhoea, causing them to excrete meconium before or during birth. They can then inhale this, ending up with breathing difficulties after birth. Much as I want to evict baby, I wouldn’t put her at risk in order to do so.
If you have tried anything that worked (or didn’t), please do share. I’d love to hear about it, I’m willing to give most things a try. Fingers crossed for an imminent labour, Libby is ready to meet you baby sister!