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How to Induce Labor Naturally

Updated: May 1

Want to know how to help induce labor at 40 weeks naturally?

We know you’re excited to hold your little bundle of joy and start the next chapter of your lives, together. While all babies come into this world in their own time, there are a few ways you can help the process along. 

Although no induction is 100% guaranteed (not even medical induction,) there are some natural ways to help encourage labor. Even if the methods below don't send you into labor right away, they help ripen the cervix, relax you, and prepare your body for birth. Let’s explore some options to help encourage labor at 40 weeks naturally (so you meet your precious one sooner!).


Acupuncture


Acupuncture is a 2000+-year-old practice that originated in China. It’s been tried, tested, and documented repeatedly around the world. It was even recognized by the World Health Organization as a treatment for over 100 conditions.


Acupuncture will help stimulate meridian points to encourage labor. Acupuncturists will insert needles into these meridian points which are located all over your body and leave them there for about an hour. Meridian points are concentrations of energy and nerve points that correspond to different organs and body systems. When stimulated, they can bring balance to the body and in the case of labor induction, encourage the onset of labor.

If you aren't into needles, then try our next suggestion! A labor-encouraging acupressure massage!




Labor Prep Massage


Massage comes in many shapes and sizes, including one that may induce labor. An acupressure induction massage targets specific areas such as the lower back, legs, feet, and sacrum to help improve blood flow and stimulate labor.


As we mentioned above, we will be stimulating the meridian points, to encourage the onset of labor BUT instead of needles, we will be using manual pressure on these points. You can also opt-in for using microcurrent stimulation which will, in addition to the acupressure, stimulate the meridian points at a deeper level.


Scientific research shows that stimulations of certain acupressure points help raise oxytocin levels (the hormone needed for inducing labor. If the mother and baby are truly ready, they it can encourage the labor process.


If you and/or the baby are not quite ready, induction massage will still help the cervix ripen, efface, and dilate, but it will not stimulate labor.


In addition to physical benefits, our signature labor prep massage incorporates relaxation massage which can also improve your mindset. If you’re anxious about labor and the extra responsibilities motherhood brings, our massage may help ease your mind and naturally reduce stress and anxiety.


With our induction massage for pregnant women, we stimulate certain acupressure points in the body. These points correspond to different organs and body systems, like in acupuncture (minus the needles) encouraging the onset of labor. Our specific techniques help the body to release oxytocin, a hormone that triggers contractions. This hormone softens the cervix and helps labor progress.



Walking


If you want to know how to induce labor naturally, look no further than your own two legs. Walking might not feel as comfortable as it used to these days, but it’s one of the best ways to move labor along.


The gentle swaying motion and upright posture can help the baby descend into the pelvis. Gravity and the weight of the baby put pressure on the cervix to encourage dilation.


And similar to an induction massage, walking stimulates the release of oxytocin, which plays a role in starting and sustaining labor.


One other benefit of walking to induce labor is its stress-relieving advantages. Walking encourages circulation and can put the body at ease. Whenever you move your body, you’re also strengthening the pelvic muscles.


Just by walking, women can harness the power of nature to initiate labor in a safe and healthy manner. Walking on the beach barefoot is a plus! Step on pebbles and shells as a natural acupressure massage on your feet!


Sex


Sex is what got you into this position 40 weeks ago, and it can also be your ticket out of pregnancy and into motherhood!


Sex has been known to naturally kick start labor due to two main reasons: the release of prostaglandins and oxytocin. Prostaglandins, found in semen, can help soften and ripen the cervix, preparing it for labor. BUT only if you want to! If you will enjoy sex, then it is encouraged. Oxytocin will be released only if you are in the mood and able to enjoy sex, which may be difficult full-term for some.


Oxytocin is a feel-good hormone and is released during orgasm, which may encourage contractions.


Sex also has psychological effects. The intimacy and relaxation experienced during sex can reduce stress levels, which in turn may help trigger hormonal processes involved in childbirth.


Hydration


I was a doula for many years and have seen dehydration stall labor. Make sure you are well hydrated, rested, and move that body!




Yoni Steaming for Labor Preparation


COMING SOON!


We have been offering vaginal steams in San Diego since 2010! We will soon be offering a modified gentle pelvic steam for labor preparation! Thanks for your patience as we set this up!

Yoni steaming, also called vaginal steaming or V-steaming, involves sitting over a pot of steam infused with herbs. Practiced for years by ancient cultures, yoni steaming promotes feminine wellness by naturally cleansing the uterus and vagina. Vaginal steaming is usually contraindicated during pregnancy because it can soften and open the cervix.


The combination of gentle heat and herbs stimulates circulation, increases moisture, softens the cervix encouraging it to open, and increases blood flow to the pelvic area, all of which encourages labor.


We use gentle herbs safe for the baby and pregnant person. The warmth and moisture from the steam may relax the pelvic floor muscles and promote blood circulation in the reproductive organs, which may encourage contractions to start.




Membrane Sweep


Last but not least, the answer to how to induce labor at 40 weeks naturally is to ask your doctor to perform a membrane sweep. Also called membrane stripping, a membrane sweep involves separating the membranes around the baby from the cervix. 


This action can stimulate the release of hormones called prostaglandins, which may help soften the cervix and trigger contractions. In turn, this kickstarts a cascade of events that lead to natural labor onset.


Ultimately, these processes work together to encourage labor to begin without medical interventions like synthetic oxytocin or artificial water breaking.


To do a membrane sweep, you’ll need to discuss this process with your doctor and weigh any pros and risks before moving forward. 



Choosing How to Induce Labor at 40 Weeks Naturally


When wondering how to induce labor at 40 weeks naturally, know that you have plenty of options. You might feel uncomfortable and anxious at this stage of the pregnancy, which is completely normal. Just make sure that however you choose to induce labor, you do so with an informed mind and a conversation with your healthcare provider.


At Rebirth Massage, we pride ourselves on caring for mothers at every stage of motherhood. Explore the benefits of an induction massage and yoni steaming from our trained professionals.


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