One of the few natural ways to stimulate labor that actually works is sexual intercourse. Seminal fluid contains prostaglandins, the same hormonal substances used by doctors to for cervical preparation and stimulation of contractions.
Sexual intercourse should be avoided if the membranes are ruptures (bag of waters has broken) or if there has been a problem with bleeding in pregnancy (placenta previa, etc.). If you are not sure if it is safe, ask your doctor or midwife.
Folk remedies should probably be avoided. Castor oil generally just causes diarrhea and abdominal pain without actually bringing on labor. It can also cause dehydration, which is not good for either other or baby. **Actually, while castor oil causes all of the symptoms above, they have been used by mid-wives for decades and are effective. The castor oil stimulates the intestines to contract which stimulates the uterus to contract as well.**
Packaged herbal supplements are not regulated by any agency, and one never knows what is in them. Sоme have been shown to contain the wrong herbs, dangerous herbs, different concentrations than those listed, and (especially those from China) heavy metal and pesticide contamination.
Other folk remedies/suggestions include walking (not been shown to be effective, but useful as a comfort measure), nipple stimulation (minimal data, generally does not support, but may be helpful), and acupuncture (no data). They're all probably safe alternatives, although not necessarily effective.
It is never a good idea to purposely put yourself into labor. However, if you are already in labor, and are right around the time you are due, then helping things along wont hurt. Peppermint is a natural labor inducer, also massage your wrists and ankles as these are natural labor inducing pressure points on the body also. Taking a hot bath or having sex can oftentimes speed things up as well.
The most natural and easiest ways to induce labor are: Sexual intercourse which provides both prostaglandinin and cervical manipulation and low impact excercise like walking. Both can contribute to speeding up the natural process of labor. These are the safest methods that you can undertake yourself. The methods that hospitals use is a gel containing a hormone which is inserted into the birth canal, and a intravenous medication called pitocin.
Having sex can help bring on labor. Walk around Castor oil, swalloed, yucky, but supposedly works. Raspberry tea and sex are other "remedies" to bring on labor. Nipple Stimuation is another "remedy." Stimulating nipples releases oxytocin, which is the natural form of pitocin. Oxytocin causes contractions, which sometimes evolve into labor. Many doctors recommend avoiding this as it may lead to excessively long uterine contractions. Strip the membranes: You can have your doctor insert her finger into your cervix and sweep the amniotic membranes. This process is supposed to release hormones that help bring about labor.
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