Ways to bring on labour
If you're overdue you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to get things going. You’ve probably heard stories from other people about a range of different remedies you can try to help bring on labour. Please be really careful and talk to your midwife before you try any of the techniques listed here.
Try some gentle exercise
Go for a gentle stroll
Taking gentle walks is thought to help induce labour because the movement of your body encourages your baby to get into the birthing position with their head engaged. Keep your walking pace relaxed and either go with someone or stay close to home, just in case labour starts.
You can get hold of birthing balls quite cheaply and they’re very useful during pregnancy and labour, providing gentle support for your body.
Sitting and rocking on your birth ball can help get your overdue baby to get moving, as the natural swaying motion of your lower body encourages your baby to get into a good position for birth.
Get your hormones going!
Have some gentle sex
Sex must be one of the oldest techniques in the book for helping bring on labour, but remember if your waters have already broken don’t try it as it raises the risk of infection. Sex can help start labour because during intercourse and orgasm the hormone oxytocin is released, which can stimulate contractions.
For a comfortable position with a big bump try the spoons position, where you both lie on your side and your partner lies behind you.
Give your nipples a gentle massage
Some midwives say that gently stimulating your breasts and in particular your nipples can stimulate contractions, again by releasing the hormone oxytocin.
You need to gently massage the areola area with your palm for 15-20 minutes every hour for several hours each day for the hormone release to have an effect on your overdue baby.
Eat, drink - and give birth?
Eat spicy foods
There’s not much evidence for the spicy food idea. The theory is that the cervix and digestive system are closely connected through the same neural network, so stimulating one will get the other fired up.
If you enjoy spicy foods you can try it – but beware the possible unwanted side effects of indigestion, heartburn or emergency trips to the loo!
Induction of Labour
There are a number of different reasons why your labour may need to be induced, including if your baby is overdue. Once the induction process begins, your labour will normally begin quite quickly. Your midwife will be able to give you more info and advice on induction, or you can always chat to our Careline team.