Natural Ways To Induce Labour

You might start thinking of some natural ways to induce labour if your due date has come and gone and still nothing has happened.

This can be frustrating. By this time you are feeling massive and uncomfortable and just want the pregnancy to be over so you can meet your little one. There are some things that you can try that, it is thought, may help your labour to kick start.

There isn’t much scientific evidence that natural ways to induce labour work or are completely safe, but many have tried them and feel they are worth trying when you get to that desperate stage.

Let’s have a look at some of these methods to self induce labour:

Castor Oil

One of the more drastic natural ways to induce labour, taking castor oil is not recommended and is generally only resorted to by the most desperate of heavily pregnant ladies!

It is thought that it works because castor oil is a natural laxative, and it usually gives the taker a bad case of diarrhoea, which, in turn, stimulates the womb into starting labour.

Because it often makes the taker sick and gives them diarrhoea, you could become dehydrated, which could make you poorly and affect your labour. So if you do decide to try this method, make sure you keep your fluids up.

The usual dose is 4fl oz mixed with orange juice.

Personally, I haven’t tried it, but it is supposed to be very oily and unpleasant to drink.

Some say that adding half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to make it fizzy helps. The dose can be repeated 12 hours later if necessary.


Now for something a little less scary than the castor oil. It is thought that walking may help to naturally induce labour, although there is no proof.

Walking gets gravity working for you, encouraging your baby to move lower down in your pelvis, and this could increase your chances of labour starting naturally.

Don’t over do it though. A gentle stroll should be about right. You don’t want to wear yourself out when labour could start at any time.


One of the more fun natural ways to induce labour, there are 3 reasons why sex may help:

1. An orgasm could kick start your womb into action.

2. Sex releases oxytocin, which is the hormone that causes contractions.

3. Semen contains lots of prostaglandins, which, it is thought, help to soften your cervix ready for labour.

Likely you will have worked out by now the best ways to have sex without your bump getting in the way, or you may have to try some different positions to find out what is most comfortable.

Nipple Stimulation

It is thought that nipple stimulation causes the release of oxytocin, the contraction hormone, which starts off labour.

Again, there is not much evidence that this works, but many women feel that it has worked of them.

It is recommended that the nipple and areola be gently but firmly massaged for a whole hour at a time, alternating from one breast to the other every 15 minutes.

Eating Pineapple

In pineapple there is an enzyme called bromelain. This enzyme helps to soften the cervix and prepare it for labour, so some feel that eating pineapple can be classed as one of the natural ways to induce labour.

There is no evidence to say whether or not it is a safe method. There are only very small amounts of bromelain in pineapple and so you would have to eat lots of it for it to actually have any effect.

Eating lots of pineapple would likely have the same effect as the caster oil, which could start your labour due to diarrhoea.

The pineapple also needs to be fresh because only fresh pineapple contains the bromelain.


Homeopaths use potent substances, but they dilute them. Many feel that homeopathic remedies are one of the nice, safe natural ways induce labour, although not much research has been done to prove it that it works.

It’s not thought to be dangerous, the worst case scenario being that nothing happens.

If you want to try this you will need to contact a homeopath in your area.

Eating Curry

This leans more towards one of the ‘old wives tales’ natural ways to induce labour. Some people are convinced eating curry works, perhaps because it stimulates the bowel, which can have the effect of stimulating the womb, as with the caster oil and too much pineapple.

Be aware that a hot curry can make heartburn worse and it can irritate your bowel if you are not used to it. Best not to order too hot if you normally have it very mild.


This involves fine needles being inserted at certain pressure points on your body. It is believed that these needles stimulate your energy to take certain action within your body.

Although there have not been many studies into it, it is felt by many that this is one of the most effective of the natural ways induce labour. There is no proof that it harms the mother or baby.

If you would like to try this, you will need to find a qualified practitioner.

Clary Sage

This is an essential oil, which has a very strong smell. It is one of the more potent natural ways to induce labour, and it is very important that it is only used when you are past your due date.

It is recommended that you put a few drops in your bath, or in some carrier oil and have it massaged into your tummy, breasts or thighs.

My friend massaged my feet with it, and I went into labour that evening, although we can’t be sure if it was the clary sage that helped or not.

So, there are some ideas of what you can try if you’ve reached the end of your pregnancy tether! Whatever you decide to do, take care and try not to get too stressed. Baby will have to put in an appearance at some point, at most it’ll be a couple of weeks and all of this will be over.

Click here to return to the During Pregnancy page

Return to Home Page from Natural Ways To Induce Labour