5 Questions About Inducing Labor Naturally

by: Nigel Spier
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Giving birth to a baby is one of nature's most amazing miracles. But every pregnancy is different.

With so much information out there, whether it's surfing the Internet, social media or your part-time expert next door, it can be challenging to tell the difference between good and not-so-good advice.

OB/GYN Nigel Spier, MD, answers 5 common questions and/or myths about inducing labor naturally, which means getting the process of childbirth started before it happens.

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1. Can Eating Spicy Foods Induce Labor?

False. Evidence suggesting some foods, like spicy foods, pineapple and bananas may induce labor, is purely anecdotal. These foods may increase acid reflux – which is a common problem in the later stages of pregnancy – so you may want to avoid them.

2. Can exercising induce labor?

False. While moderate exercise throughout your pregnancy can help your body prepare for childbirth, there is no evidence supporting that labor can actually be induced this way. Also, labor can be pretty exhausting, and you don't want to use up your energy beforehand.

3. Can having sex induce labor?

Fact. Contrary to popular belief, this not a myth, this is a fact. It's safe to have sex during pregnancy. There's good biological and physiological evidence that proves that engaging in sexual intercourse can help induce labor.

However, there are a few instances where this may not be advised, and you should discuss it with your physician.

4. Can natural products (like oils, herbs, homeopathic products) induce labor?

False. Things like black cohosh, red raspberry leaves, and primrose or castor oil are some of the commonly natural remedies you can find on blogs and forums on the Internet. But natural doesn't always means healthy a and safe or free of unwanted side effects.

To be on the safe side, it's best to avoid ingesting or applying anything that wasn't provided by your healthcare provider before discussing it with them.

5. Can hypnosis induce labor?

False. Some people claim that hypnosis, self-hypnosis, or visualizing the labor process "can work wonders." But when it comes to scientific proof, the only true benefit seems to be the deep relaxation that's associated with these practices. That can help to relieve some of the discomfort and pain of labor.

The bottomline is, there is no reliable and 100% safe method for "jump starting" labor naturally. If you do choose to attempt any of these, or other methods, please speak to your doctor or midwife first to assess the associated risks and benefits.

Or, let nature take its course and allow your bundle of joy to set their birthday. 

Visit the Memorial Family Birthplace for more information.


Classes and Safety Resources

In order to keep you safe, please click on the following links to learn about our new childbirth safety measures and how to sign-up for our free, online baby classes.

Childbirth During COVID-19

Memorial Regional Hospital Online Classes

Memorial Hospital Miramar Online Classes

About the Author

Spier Nigel Nigel Spier, MD, is the vice chief of staff and residency program director of the OB/GYN department at Memorial Regional Hospital. He is board-certified in OB/GYN and earned his medical degree at McGill University and residency at George Washington University.

Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions presented in this blog post do not reflect the ideas and opinions of Memorial Healthcare System.