23rd March 2020

Kickstarting labour: Things to try and myths busted

If you’re fed up with this whole pregnancy business – and who can you blame you, it is LONG – you might be mulling over ways you can get that baby to make an entrance. Trying a few old tricks can be a good way to pass the time, but remember, your baby won’t come along until it jolly well feels like it…


Oh man, do we have to? Well, no, you don’t have to. But if you’re gagging to get that baby out, you should know that semen is rich in prostaglandins (the very thing used in inductions) so if you can find it in your heart to make sweet, functional love, it could be worth a go. That’s assuming your humungous bump allows access, anyway.

Nipple stimulation

Even less appealing than sex when you’re so flipping pregnant? Probably. But nipple stimulation – and realistically we’re talking hours and hours of it, sorry – can cause a surge in oxytocin which starts contractions. You may be some time, so make sure there’s something good on the telly and perhaps take in turns with your partner to do the twiddling, so you don’t get RSI.


Well, getting a takeaway or even going out for dinner is certainly a good distraction, but the reality is, food that’s so spicy it could stimulate your uterus is unlikely to be something you fancy right now – especially in the required quantities to actually make a difference.


Again, you’d need a hell of a lot of it to really make a difference (the theory is, Bromelain, which pineapple – along with a few other tropical fruits – is rich in, can have a ripening effect on your cervix), so a little juice box or a Hawaiian pizza probably won’t cut it. Tasty though, so hey, tuck in and enjoy!

Complementary therapies

Massage, reflexology and acupuncture can all be recommended to bring on labour, but there’s little scientific evidence that they actually work – if you happen to go into labour straight after, it’s likely, as with most of these methods, to just be a coincidence. But you deserve a bit of pampering (we’re thinking massage more than needles here…) so why not?

Eating dates

This is one you need to plan ahead for, because there is some evidence – from an actual scientific study, no less – that eating six dates a day in the final month of pregnancy can encourage your cervix to dilate. This is more likely to shorten labour than actually kickstart it, though, so proceed with caution.

Raspberry leaf

Similarly, raspberry leaf – either in capsule or tea form – can tone your womb muscles, encouraging them to work more effectively. However, it should be used in moderation, and never before 37 weeks, since too much could cause your contractions to be unbearably intense. Yeouch.

Moving around a lot

Walking more and boinging around on a gym/birthing ball are all worth a go, the theory being that being upright and active puts the right kind of pressure on your cervix and potentially stimulates contractions. You might feel like festering on the sofa, but try and get a bit of jiggle time in each day.

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