Are there other herbal supplements that induce labor?
Primrose oil and raspberry tea are sometimes recommended, but not to trigger contractions. Instead, Flynn often suggests both of these supplements to patients to help soften the cervix, theoretically making labor easier once it starts.
Is it true that sex can spur contractions?
There have been few significant studies as to whether intercourse can stimulate labor. Midwives and physicians alike theorize that sex may induce or speed along labor for a variety of reasons. First, Dr. Flynn explains that semen contains prostaglandins, which help prepare the cervix for labor. Second, "the hormone oxytocin, known to be important for the onset of labor, is stimulated in response to nipple stimulation and orgasm," says Dr. Camann.
"It's common wisdom," says Dr. Flynn, "and plenty of pregnant women can attest that if a pregnant women is already dilated to two or three centimeters, she can go home and have intercourse enough times to get labor started."
Does walking help bring on labor?
On its own, walking will probably not cause you to go into labor, but if you're already in the beginning stages of labor, walking may speed things along. While there is no medical evidence to support this contention, Dr. Camann says another way to look at it is that women with relatively easy and normal labors are more likely to also want to get up and walk around, whereas women having more difficult labors typically choose to lie down. "So what comes first? Are women who walk around really helping along their labors, or are women who are having an easy labor just more likely to be up and walking around? Hard to say," concludes Dr. Camann.
Should I just wait it out?
"Nature is a good obstetrician," advises Dr. Camann. "The best way to approach labor (in the absence of medical complications) is to wait until labor starts on its own. The onset of normal, spontaneous labor is still one of the greatest mysteries of modern obstetrics."
So enjoy your last few days being pregnant—and if you want to help your labor along just remember, as Dr. Flynn will tell you, "If your body isn't ready, none of these methods is likely to put you into labor."A word of caution: You should not try any of these methods without carefully reviewing them with your healthcare provider.