Here is a rundown of a few popular home labor-induction methods:
- Sexual intercourse. The idea is that sex can trigger contractions, both from the sperm (which contain prostaglandins) and from the woman's orgasm. However, research is lacking on the subject, and one study found that sex didn't have any effect on time to labor.
- Nipple stimulation. Stimulating the nipples releases the hormone oxytocin, which naturally triggers contractions, but the cervix must already be ripe for this to work. Too much nipple stimulation also can produce very strong contractions that can actually be dangerous to the baby.
- Herbal remedies. A number of herbs, including blue cohosh and black cohosh, have been touted for triggering labor, but there isn't enough evidence to prove they work. What's more, herbs can be dangerous if not used properly, so don't take any herb for inducing labor without first talking to your doctor.
- Castor oil. Research shows castor oil probably won't do anything to induce labor, but it probably will irritate your gastrointestinal tract enough to make you feel sick to your stomach.
- Walking. It's always a good idea to stay active throughout your pregnancy, but studies haven't proved that walking can induce labor.
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