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8 Induction Methods That Haven't Worked and 1 We Won't Try

By Katie |

I have been anxious for the baby to arrive for about as long as I knew about him. Nothing in the world was more important to me than becoming a mother, and now that we’re at the finish line, the wait is excruciating. From about 37 weeks on, I started getting really antsy. I read on a pregnancy board about all the ways that women were trying to induce their own labor and though I wanted to meet my son, 37 weeks felt a little on the early side for me. So I bookmarked the pages with home induction methods for when we were really ready.

We’re really, seriously, at least 5 days past ready now. And as we start facing the music of a medical induction next week, we have tried more and more of the home remedies, all to no avail.

It has become increasingly clear to me that while there are ways that you can speed along the process, if your baby or body is not ready for labor, nothing will induce labor, but trust me, some of these will seriously induce misery. There’s nothing like throwing your body into false labor for hours at a time, only to have the contractions stop and no progress be made. Which is pretty much exactly what I’ve managed to do in 8 different ways. And what I’m unwilling to even try to do with one other.

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Home Induction Methods


Walking is a sure fire way to get my contractions to pick up and many women swear by it as a way to start labor. I've taken walks just about every day in the past 2-3 weeks and surprise! No baby. Walking has a special way of causing me to have 3-4 minute long contractions that persist exactly as long as the walk does and do not seem to be doing anything to get my cervix moving. I'll still do it to keep my stamina up and to use gravity to keep the baby's head engaged, but yea, no dice here. I also don't want to take 5 hour walks because I hear it's good to have a little bit of energy stored up for when you actually do go into labor (if that is ever going to happen).
Photo by MorgueFile

What induction methods did you try and did they work for you?

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About Katie



Katie is a former teacher, part-time PT, wife, and first-time mother to the baby with the best ears on the Internet. You can find more of her grammatically questionable writing at her blog, Overflowing Brain. Read bio and latest posts → Read Katie's latest posts →

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39 thoughts on “8 Induction Methods That Haven't Worked and 1 We Won't Try

  1. agirlandaboy says:

    What did it for me was a day of angry gardening. I’d gone to the hospital the night before, only to be sent home as “not in real labor,” so I spent the next morning pissed as hell and squatting in the garden pulling weeds (in December), and was in full-on real labor by noon. (Twenty-six hours later I had a baby, born on his due date.)

  2. Nikki says:

    I actually bounced on a ball the week leading up to my labor. Who knows if that’s what did it for me, but it seems like it’s a popular choice.

  3. Anon says:


  4. claire says:

    Get a pedicure! You should be in labor within 48 hours. The magic happens when the acupressure points just above your ankles are stimulated, so ask for extra deep massage. Sitting in the comfy vibrating chair provides a relaxing hour to get pampered and take your mind off things, and bonus… you get pretty toes for when you have about 15 people up in your business during the delivery.

  5. Heather says:

    I drank raspverry leaf tea and religiously applied evening primrose oil all up in my lady parts. Then my OB stripped my membranes and that’s all she wrote.

  6. Running says:

    I have a friend who swears by running as far as she can up a hill. Understandably, it’s always a very short run, but she has had 2 babies on their due date.

  7. LizL says:

    I drank a half a glass of Guinness with both my boys. 1st one I was in labor 6 hours later, 2nd one, 2. :)

  8. Carmen says:

    I found one website that suggested eggplant and some elderly clients of mine suggested it too. I had tried everything short of the castor oil and decided to order an eggplant parm sandwhich for lunch…went into labor about 6 hours later.

  9. Skelly says:

    Anyone else find it hysterical that in the title photo the hospital decided to place the sleep disorder centre in the same wing as labour and delivery? Talk about cruel irony there. My method of induction was to get a terrible flu,be stuck in bed for almost two weeks, finally get fed up enough to make a doctor’s appointment, go into labor two hours before my appointment and immediately burst into tears that I have to go through a delivery on no sleep and a sick stomach. Rinse and repeat that last step, and bam, eight hours later you have a baby girl (and enough adrenaline to no longer notice that pesky flu. That is until you discover the joys of crouching down to throw up while nursing sore episitomy stitches. Sexy!).

  10. Rkbc says:

    I just want to add that if you end up having to be induced, it’s ok. With my second, my midwife decided I should be induced after going past my dd. I was totally upset and freaked out about it because I was set on a natural birth. But I trusted her, and the experience ended up being great. And I didn’t end up using any pain medication–yes, it’s possible! (The induced contractions didn’t seem any worse than the first time around!)
    I also have two friends who didn’t want to be induced and went way past their due dates. They both went naturally in the end, but both babies had meconium and respiratory infections that put them in the NICU. Of course that does not happen to everyone, but it’s possible. As long as you trust your provider, he or she will know what’s best! Good luck!

  11. Amanda says:

    I feel your pain, sister. April 2011 I was at 42 weeks when my midwife forced me into the hospital to start medical induction after trying all of the things you mentioned and then some. And then still, after 4 days in the hospial and literally every medical induction method under the sun (from cervidil and cytotec to a foley catheter and manually breaking my water and finally LOTS of the pitocin I had sworn I would never agree to) I still hadn’t made it past 4cm. Sometimes those stubborn babies just do NOT want to come out that way. The great news is that I swear those late babies come out knowing exactly what to do, and are the most healthy, thriving gorgeous creatures you’ve ever seen. Well, they all are, no matter how they come out.

  12. Kendra says:

    Ate a whole pineapple, was in labor 6 hrs later.

  13. Erin Human says:

    None of the old wives’ tales worked for me the first time around, but I had success with hypnosis! I did a Hypnobabies course and starting the day before my due date I started listening to “Come Out Baby” tracks. My second son was born at 1 am on his due date. :)

  14. Bonnie says:

    Take an epsom bath (bath with about 1/2 cup to a cup of epsom salts) in warm but not super hot water. Stay in there for a good hour or three (bring a book.) I did this and labor started about 15 min after I got out.

  15. Jessica says:

    With both of my daughters, sex threw me into labor and I had both of them in under 3 hours. But with my second, it was even more amazing bc I was not emotionally prepared AT ALL and after I woke up one day, decided that I was ready, and prepared her bassinet next to me bed, she came that night! Amazing.

  16. Jessica says:

    And this was sex, then contractions within a minute.

  17. Canuckmom says:

    Yes Skelly! I was wondering if it’s a real sign or some sort of joke!!

  18. CJ says:

    The only one of these that actually works is castor oil. I went past 42 weeks both times, and the castor oil is what finally did it. Gross, but effective. I’ve read differing reports on whether it causes babies passing meconium. Some say it might, some say you can’t really tell since when people take castor oil they are usually well past their due date, which in itself increases your chance of the baby passing meconium in utero, so it is hard to say if one causes the other.

  19. Just a thought... says:

    A word of totally unsolicited advice…be wary of driving at high speeds down a bumpy road. That is often a (admittedly cruel and violent) method of causing abortion/premature labor/infant death in many poorer countries.

  20. tina says:

    My first baby came at 42 weeks plus one day. What worked for me was acupuncture. There are 5 or 6 spots that will stimulate your uterus. After one treatment I started contractions. But it was not until my husband started massaging my back at one of those points (lower back) that caused my water to break. Baby came 5 hours later.

  21. Devon says:

    Red Raspberry Leaf Tea is not supposed to induce; it’s supposed to be imbibed throughout your pregnancy to strengthen your uterus and shorten second stage labor.

  22. Janna says:

    As much as i didnt want to hear “have sex” from everyone, truth is it helped. I was 2 days past due and i was beyond ready. I knew i was getting closer and hubby and I had been trying sex regularly. Finally i looked at my husband with an obvious im not so in the mood look and said “come on lets go one last time. I went back to the trying to concieve method of laying there for a little while after! Cramping/contractions started a lil while later and baby was born the following day at 5:46 am. Hang in there!

  23. Suzy says:

    Really nothing will work until your body is ready. I have five children and have tried many of these, and other things. Always seemed better that they didn’t work. As for the raspberry tea, that helps to cope with the contractions, but not to induce them.

  24. Sandi says:

    A neighbor told me to wet some wash clothes and put them in a crock pot on low. When they are warm, but not hot to the touch, wring them out and place them on your bare breasts. It somehow stimulates the nipples and doesn’t hurt. It actually felt really good and worked like a charm for me. I went into labor about 3 hours later.

  25. Heather says:

    I tried a few of those with no prevail.. she just wasn’t coming until she was ready. (which was 1 day before my scheduled induction.. figures, lol) But I wouldn’t try the castor oil either… I would never be THAT impatient! I wouldn’t want to risk having a diarrhea explotion in my doctors face!

  26. wunder says:

    oh sweetheart, what’s the rush?? another couple of days, as uncomfortable as they may be at this point, isn’t going to hurt and pushing things before baby’s ready is not all that wise. Baby gets all kinds of important stuff right as your body gets ready for delivery…often a 3 or 4 day process….don’t faint, they’re not all contration days :) and the contrations you’ve had so far, although not cervix shifting, are still priming the pump. so to speak, so it’s not wasted time.

    I don’t know why you’re being medically induced next week, none of my beezwax, just gonna say, as long as it’s to accomodate your’s and your baby’s needs…..note I said your’s, not your doctor’s. His convenience and personal schedule isn’t relevant.

    You’ll meet the new love of your life very very soon. All the best :)

  27. Ashley says:

    Combo of Crazy Dancing around the house all day, Spicy orange chicken from Panda Express and sex. I was at the hospital 3 hours later after the sex. 24 hours later i had my beautiful 9lb baby girl lol…good luck

  28. julsey says:

    Acupuncture induction FTW! Went into labor the next morning.

  29. momof3 says:

    With my first start naturally and delivered 4days late, my 2nd sex did it and I barely made it to the hospital my last was started accidently by a hot shower where my water broke and was. Almost 2weeks early and 4 hour labor

  30. JRmomof2boys says:

    There are other herbs you can take/ make in a tea that help induce labor or help stalled labor progress. Lunges, squats, accupressure, etc. Getting a pedicure didn’t work for me but, it felt nice and I had pretty feet when I did go into labor. ;-) There are also pressure points in the lower back that are supposed to help induce labor, again didn’t work for me but felt nice to have my sore back rubbed.

  31. Nikki says:

    I myself had complications and had to have an emergency c-section, but I was ready to start chowing down on lots of eggplant parmesian because I had several friends who swore they went into labor within hours after having it. At least it’s a much easier and tastier home remedy to try.

  32. kaye says:

    sex lots of sex but with orgasims it helps sometimes and on the bright side even if it doesnt put you in labor it will get your mind off the waiting LOL good luck sending prayers and hugs :)

  33. Raina says:

    My friend did the caster oil & just puked through her labor &delivery the doctor said she would have went into labor anyway the puking was the caster oil !

  34. Melanie says:

    Both of mine came early: #1 at 36w5d, #2 at 37w4d

    With #1 I’d been for a NST as part of a research study, and there were absolutely no sign of pending labour. On my way home, I had a horrifically stressful encounter with a aggressive stranger, and six hours later my water broke and active labour began immediately.

    With #2, again there were no signs of labour, and my OB was convinced (as was I) that my early labour the first time was caused by that encounter. I was booked for a c/s at 39w6d. Went for a walk on a lovely autumn day, went into labour that night. So much for that scheduled c/s.

    Oh, and diarrhea and labour? It happens, even without castor oil. Both times for me. Ewwwwww.

  35. Liann says:

    I really feel for you! My second son, who is just over eight weeks old, was 12 days late! That ‘it could happen at ANY moment’ thing drove me insane.. That and the fact that I had prelabor everyday from about two weeks before my due date. I too tried it all and had my induction scheduled for the next Tuesday. Luckily he decided it was time Sunday morning. I know people swear by all these methods, but I really feel that the baby decides when it’s time and most successful home inductions are lucky timing. I could very well be wrong though.. Hang in there! I know it feels like you might be pregnant forever, but your baby WILL come :)

  36. Anna says:

    Acupuncture! I was a week over due and scheduled for chemical induction, but got the ok from my doctor to give acupuncture a go. I had the acupuncture done at 10am , by 9 that night I was in labor. The needles in the back of you ankles really do the trick!

  37. mAMAWpEG says:

    Have you tried “PRAYING?” We tried just about everything and on Friday,”I WAS STILL,WITH CHILD!” We did anything we thought.Still Pregnant! I was so over it. Our first child and NO way. She was not coming till she was ready! We finally on Sunday GAVE UP…..MONDAY went to the Dr. and he told me if I had not gone before the next Monday that he needed to do something,two weeks; on Sunday evening we thought but ANOTHER FALSE ALARM…I told my husband ,I GIVE UP! I AM GOING TO BE PREGNANT FOREVER!! So, Monday morning I went into labor and 12 hours later;we were parents of a baby girl,8lb.3oz. and 20inches long!!! Three babies later,we had our first and ONLY SON.

  38. Mary Claire says:

    Acupuncture- sometimes 2 treatments- AND it will make you feel relaxed, focused and happy!

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