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Natural Ways To Induce Labour

Natural Ways To Induce Labour
Dates can be a great natural way to induce labour. Explore more natural ways in this blog.

Mama Linc is so excited to have podcaster and Midwife Monique from Middee Society guest blogging about natural ways to induce labour. As a mother herself, Courtney tried all of these tricks below!

Natural ways to induce labour? What are they and do they actually work? Let's find out…

As you approach your final few weeks of pregnancy it’s certainly not uncommon for expecting mothers to be counting down the days until they meet their baby.

With every day filled with the unknown thought of “I wonder if today is the day I will go into labour” or “are these contractions starting or just braxton hicks?”.

In the last weeks of pregnancy, expecting Mama’s are stretched both physically (literally) and mentally as they prepare to welcome their baby into the world. Especially once your baby’s passed their due date & it feels like they are never going to come out.

Physical discomfort becomes more noticeable in the later stages of pregnancy with symptoms such as increased fatigue, backache, frequent urination and swelling and it’s not uncommon to be feeling like your pregnant belly couldn’t possibly grow any more.

You may also be experiencing an increased pressure within your pelvis as your baby descends & engages lower into the pelvis.

By this point many pregnant women will try every natural remedy or old wives tale to bring on labour. But the question I often get asked as a Registered Midwife is do these natural processes & remedies actually work & how accurate are they?

Let’s find out.


Some commonly discussed natural remedies to potentially bring on labor include:

Raspberry leaf tea:

You may have heard that drinking raspberry leaf tea from 32 weeks pregnant has many benefits for your labour & birthing outcomes.

Raspberry leaf tea is a herbal infusion derived from the leaves of the red raspberry plant and it has been traditionally used during pregnancy.

It is suggested that raspberry leaf tea has been associated with:

  • Preparing the uterus for labour with toning properties that may strengthen the uterine muscles and improve their efficiency during contractions.
  • Prime your cervix (help to dilate & soften the cervix)
  • Bring on the natural onset of labour
  • Shorten the duration of labour

However it is important to note that there is still a lack of statistical significance on the effects of raspberry leaf tea on improving outcomes for labour & birth.


Consuming dates during the third trimester of pregnancy is a practice that has gained a lot of attention for its potential benefits for labour & birth outcomes. It is thought that date consumption from 36 weeks around 75g per day has been found to:

  • Increase cervical dilatation upon admission to the birth centre
  • Reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour
  • Decrease the length of labour

Some suggestions of how you can add dates into your diet is by adding them into smoothies, slices, cookies, muffins or protein balls.

It’s important to note that while dates may have potential benefits for labour & birth , their impact on labour outcomes may vary for each individual. Further research is suggested on the benefits of date consumption in pregnancy.

Curb walking:

Yep you read that right, walking up and down on the curb.

Now with a pregnant belly you might feel a little funny doing this and get a few looks from strangers, but by placing one foot on the curb & the other on the ground it is thought that this movement can encourage your baby to make its way further into the pelvis and into the optimal positioning.

This can then apply more pressure onto your cervix and stimulate the release of oxytocin, the hormone responsible for uterine activity which therefore can potentially initiate the spontaneous onset of labour.

However  once again there is still a lack of statistical evidence surrounding this topic.

Increasing Oxytocin (Sex, Orgasm & Nipple stimulation):

Oxytocin – also known as the love hormone is the most important & powerful hormone to understand for labour & birth. Oxytocin’s main role in labour is to facilitate uterine activity. So of course increasing our body’s natural oxytocin levels is a great way to help facilitate the onset of labour.

So how can you do that? Let’s take it back to how you got here in the first place..Sex, Orgasm & nipple stimulation.

Sex, Orgasm & Nipple stimulation

By 40 weeks sex is probably the last thing on your mind but we do know that during intercourse and orgasm the hormone oxytocin is released. Oxytocin works directly on uterine muscles and is responsible for initiating contractions.

The role of sexual intercourse in the initiation of labour is still uncertain but is thought that it may part be due to the physical stimulation of the lower uterine segment, or endogenous release of oxytocin as a result of orgasm (but ladies you will require multiple orgasms to produce a larger amount of oxytocin…I’ll let your imagination do the thinking there – haha).

Another hormone which may help to initiate spontaneous labour is prostaglandin. This hormone works by softening and dilating the cervix. Human semen is the biological source that is presumed to contain the highest prostaglandin concentration.

Similarly, oxytocin is also released during nipple stimulation which can once again be used for cervical ripening and increasing the chances of spontaneous labour and therefore avoidance of induction for post dates.

Although there have been positive outcomes associated with sex, orgasm & nipple stimulation and the role it plays in labour onset.

Additional studies need to be conducted to further investigate these being a viable method of labor induction.

Stretch and Sweep:

A stretch and sweep is a procedure performed by your health professional to try & initiate natural labour. It is offered to women who are close to or past their due date. A stretch and sweep refers to a gloved finger being advanced into the cervical canal and swept round in either direction several times.

The intention is to manually separate the chorioamniotic membranes from the decidua to encourage prostaglandin production leading to cervical ripening.

This is believed to initiate the onset of labour and reduce the need for pharmacological or more invasive methods to induce the birth. You can expect to go into labour within 48 hours if the stretch and sweep is successful. If it does not work, it can be repeated either two or three times over the next few days.

Acupressure & Acupuncture:

Certain pressure points on the body when stimulated through acupressure or acupuncture, may promote labour via the release of oxytocin. However it is important to seek guidance from a trained professional prior to commencing this practice.

Spicy foods:

Although a lack of statistical evidence, some people believe that consuming spicy foods can stimulate the digestive system, which may indirectly stimulate the uterus.

My last piece of advice for all mama’s patiently waiting to meet their baby is to surrender.

Surrender to these last few moments of having your baby in your tummy & have full trust in your body that it is going to go into labour because eventually it will.

Focus on what you can control not what you can’t, because before you know it your baby will be in your arms birthed into the world full of love.

You’ve got this mama!

Make sure to check out Monique’s page as she offers amazing tips and tricks for birth and labour. Her page is @themiddeesociety and don’t forget to check out her amazing podcast The Middee! Mama Linc may or may not have been a guest too 😉.

It’s important to note that natural induction methods should be discussed with a healthcare provider to ensure safety and suitability for individual circumstances. This blog is general education only. For any personal based advice regarding you or your baby please seek advice from your own healthcare professional.

  1. Tan PC, Andi A, Azmi N, Noraihan MN. (2006) Effect of coitus at term on length of gestation, induction of labor, and mode of delivery. Obstet Gynecol. 108(1), 134-40. doi:10.1097/
  2. Farnaghi, Soheil, and Kathleen Braniff. (2022). Survey of Raspberry Leaf Tea in Pregnancy. Australian & New Zealand journal of obstetrics & gynaecology.  62(4),  506–510. Web. DOI: 10.1111/ajo.13496

  3. Sagi-Dain, L., & Shlomi, S. (2021). The Effect of Late Pregnancy Date Fruit Consumption on Delivery Progress – A Meta-Analysis. Explore (New York, N.Y.). 17(6), 569–573. https://www-clinicalkey-com-au./nursing/#!/content/playContent/1-s2.0-S1550830720302019?returnurl=null&referrer=null

  4. Kavanagh J, Kelly AJ, Thomas J.  (2001). Sexual intercourse for cervical ripening and induction of labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews Issue 2. Art. No.: CD003093. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003093

  5. Avdiyovski, H., Haith-Cooper, M., &  Scally, A. (2019). Membrane Sweeping at Term to Promote Spontaneous Labour and Reduce the Likelihood of a Formal Induction of Labour for Postmaturity: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of obstetrics and gynaecology. 39(1), 54–62.