Natural Labor Induction Techniques

There are many reasons why one would want to induce their own labor. Typically women are overdue and are facing a looming medical induction that is sparking fear, concern and a pressure.

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You may be eager to start labor because you are just tired of feeling enormous, itchy, cranky, anxious, or you cannot sleep or the phone just won’t stop ringing? Maybe getting this baby out will mean that you have more time to spend with your little one on maternity leave? Unfortunately these emotions do little to start labor!

Take a deep breath…I want to assure you that your baby is coming out soon. Trust that he / she has a plan and will be here and before you know it.

 If you are post your due date and you have the OKAY from your midwife or OB then it is safe to try these natural techniques to get your labor started.

1.  Acupuncture: (see full acupuncture article)

2. Intercourse / Orgasm: 

You got the baby in that way, now lets get the baby out! Sex is a great way to stimulate labor. Semen contains natural prostaglandins that help efface the cervix. Female orgasm can also help stimulate contractions while releasing the hormone oxytocin, the love hormone. Oxytocin plays an important role in the neuroanatomy of intimacy, specifically in sexual reproduction, in particular during and after childbirth. It is released in large amounts after distension of the cervix and uterus during labor, facilitating birth, maternal bonding, and, after stimulation of the nipples, lactation.

 3. Acupressure:

Acupressure is a profound way to encourage the baby downwards. Please see my acupressure videos for step by step guide on how to stimulate specific points to aid in the baby’s decent as well as uterine contractions, cervical effacement, etc.

 4. Meditation / Visualization:

This is particularly effective if you think stress may be holding you back. Many people discuss feeling anxious about the impending labor or how they will be able to know how to take care of the baby once home. Some women feel stressed by finishing up loose ends at work, family members coming to town etc.

Others (and this I find more common) are nervous about how their first child will take the birth of a sibling? Also, these women may have fears about their previous birthing experience or may be more fatigued with less time for themselves. In this situation meditation or guided meditation may be particularly useful.

 5. Dancing:

DSC_0089Early Polynesian Hawaii Photos Hula Dancers

Many dances since the begin of time were designed to entice using hip circles and undulating rhythms. Dance movements help open the hips, loosen hip flexors and hopefully help the baby descend. These same movements are useful for getting the baby out. Bellydancing, hula, salsa, samba, African dance or just plain old cranking up the music and letting it out. Even if you dance like Elaine on Seinfeld who cares? Let the muse take you and enjoy letting it all out.

6. Loose jaw / Loose Hips:

Some would say the best athletes have the loosest jaws. A loose jaw equals loose hips. A clenched jaw equals clenched hips. Ever watch Michael Jordan run the court with his mouth open effortlessly calm under pressure leading to what Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi calls “Flow”? Once you get in the groove you will hit “Flow” period where time and space will disappear and things will progress. Relax your jaw by opening and closing your mouth while relaxing the muscles in your face.

7. A Good Cry.

I’ve seen a lot of women go into labor after a cathartic crying session. As the tears roll out so does the stress and tension that may be holding one back. This also relates to the meditation and anxiety suggestion. Check in with yourself and see if you have anything holding you back from taking the next step in your life? Do a little inner investigation.

8. Primrose Oil:

You can start by taking Primrose Oil orally around 37 weeks gestation. You can take 1-500mg capsule daily orally or vaginally from 37 weeks to 40 weeks. At 40 weeks gestation you can insert 3 capsules daily. I usually recommend popping open the oil capsule before insertion. 

Raspberry Leaf Tea:

Drink to your heart’s content. Used to help organize contractions and tone the muscles of the uterus.

9. Nipple Stimulation: see Sex and Orgasm.

10. Walking:

Exercise is great to help things along, especially if you are in early labor. Don’t be excessive because you will need the energy for labor and delivery. A nice walk outside in nature is best.

11. Enema:

Moving the bowels can help make more space in the abdominal area so the baby can drop lower into the pelvis. The body naturally clears out before the baby arrives. Often women notice softer and more frequent bowel movements leading up to labor. An enema can be a simple way to get things moving in the right direction.

12. Foods:

Spicy Food:

High in capsaicin, spicy peppers are touted as being a great labor inducer. Possibly because peppers stimulate digestion or diarrhea which can trigger labor? There is no real medical evidence but if you aren’t suffering from heartburn give the Mexican, Thai or Szhechuan a try?

Pineapple:

Pineapple is high in Bromelain which is a natural anti-inflammitory in addition to encouraging prostaglandin synthesis. Bromelain is traditionally used as a meat tenderizer, I think of Bromelain as a muscle relaxant.

Eggplant Parmagiano:

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In Traditional Chinese Medicine eggplant is good for the uterus, possibly because of it’s shape?

Many believe that eggplant parm stimulates contractions not just by the eggplant alone but the synergy of garlic, basil and oregano?

Acupressure for Children

Shonishin pediatric massage is a Japanese treatment that uses small tools to tap, rub,  press, scratch and stroke the body’s skin. Shonishin translates to “Children’s Needle” although primarily used for children, Shonishin massage can be applied to anyone.

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Traditional Shonishin Pediatric Massage became widely popularized in the 20th century in Japan. Unlike traditional acupuncture, Shonishin focuses on massage rather than needle insertion. Shonishin tools made of silver, stainless steel, bronze and even gold. Many of the tools have cute names and resemble objects like the “bug” and the “rake”.

Shonishin massage is a pragmatic system of treatment with minimal theory needed to apply treatment. Children are highly receptive to treatment and love it! Since the treatment is harmless,  I usually let the children apply a bit of massage to themselves and even to me.

Other treatments that are used in conjunction with shonishin massage are the application of light cupping on the body to release stuck energy and/or heat. Cupping was popularized in America by in image of Gwyneth Paltrow wearing a backless gown exposing purple colored circles on her back. Unlike Ms. Paltrow’s treatment cupping on children is very gentle and leaves little to no markings.

To supplement the massage a practitioner may insert a few acupuncture pins. Depending on the child’s age the pins are usually not retained rather the pin is inserted and withdrawn in a painless way that the children barely know what happened.

Additionally, ear seeds; little gold or silver balls backed with tape or tiny press tacks can be left on the acupressure points for up to 48 hours to strengthen the treatment.

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Painless Press Tacks placed on San Jiao 5, for earache (left). San Jiao 17 and Gallbladder 20 for earache and congestion (right).

I started my search into Shonishin massage because I was on the hunt to find a non-invasive way to treat my daughter’s enlarged tonsils. She contracted mononucleosis in Pre-K and since then her tonsils remained enlarged. Although she didn’t report feeling sick she failed her hearing test in Kindergarten.  An ENT suggested surgery or hearing aids.  I was devastated and I felt terribly guilty that I let her catch mono in the first place!!! (No one said being a mom came with rational thinking).

Before embarking on surgery I decided to do 30-Day intense treatment that included acupressure, neck massage, acupuncture, homeopathy, dietary changes, moxibustion and castor oil packs on her neck. Her hearing completely improved and she did remarkably well on her hearing test. Overall, she is stronger and more resilient. Her pediatrician was impressed.

One of the greatest elements  of  Shonishin pediatric massage is the ability to teach parents how to continue treatment at home. This not only expedites the healing process but can  help parents feel more connected to recovery.

In the clinical setting and at home Shonishin pediatric massage is a great complimentary therapy for any child. Please have all children evaluated by their pediatrician first as Shonishin provides an excellent complimentary treatment to Western medicine.  Children love treatment and you may find yourself getting a little massage yourself from your little one!


Tapping # 1 Back of the Body


Tapping # 2 Front of Body


Stroking #3 Front and Back