After waiting months to meet your sweet new baby, the discomfort of the third trimester can be hard to handle. You will likely be swollen, exhausted, and sore––not to mention ready to snuggle your newborn! By the time a woman reaches full-term pregnancy (defined by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as 39 weeks pregnant), she may want to do some things on her own to naturally induce labor. The good news is that these methods are perfectly safe to do at home!
To encourage labor once you've hit full-term pregnancy, try the following:
- Exercise: While no one is suggesting you run a marathon to get ready for birth, light to moderate exercise can help prepare your body. In some cases, it has been shown to encourage dilation and loosen a woman's hips. It is always best not to overdo it, though. It is important to save your energy for the actual labor!
- Sex: Some women report that their sex drive is heightened during pregnancy, while others insist it is the furthest thing from their minds. Whichever side you fall on, sex does have some undeniable benefits, like bonding with your significant other, relaxation, and sometimes even softening the cervix. Nipple stimulation has also been shown to bring on contractions, but proceed with caution due to the rare chance that contractions can become severe and prolonged.
- Membrane Stripping: Some providers offer a simple in-office procedure known as membrane stripping. This occurs when the doctor inserts a finger and separates the thin membrane lining from the uterine wall. Research shows that spontaneous labor often follows in the days after the procedure, but not always.
Be sure to consult with your doctor before trying any of the above methods. Your provider will discuss options with you and help you decide on the best course of action to induce labor. Every pregnancy is unique, and ultimately, your baby will come when they are ready. We promise that whenever that happens, it will be worth the wait!