Spicy Foods & Sex: When Pregnant Women Induce Their Own Labor

40 weeks and counting...

By Ananda Lowe
Guest Blogger

With about 4 million births per year in the United States, at any given moment there are thousands of pregnant women who have just gone past their estimated due date. As a professional labor coach (doula) and the mother of a nine-month-old, I interact with these women regularly. I like to think of them as belonging to a certain sisterhood, in limbo together between 40 and 41 weeks pregnant.

The experience can be lonely though, in spite of, or perhaps because of the bevy of family and friends calling to ask “have you had your baby yet?” as well as the seeming casualness with which many obstetricians propose setting a date to start labor with drugs – in the past two decades, the rate of medical inductions increased by 140 percent.

According to a study published this month in the medical journal Birth, fifty percent of mothers surveyed tried to start their own labors when they believed pregnancy was taking too long.

I did. And this was after saying for years that self-inducing was something I saw no need to do.

For the 201 women in the Birth study, the most popular attempted methods were walking, sexual intercourse, eating spicy food, and nipple stimulation.

Some of these techniques have scientific evidence to support them. For example, an earlier study found that “only 6.9% of sexually active study women remained undelivered at 41 weeks of gestation, compared with 29.8% of abstinent women.” Since the hormones of birth and arousal are the same, a range of sexual activities could hasten labor when pregnancy is full-term.

Lead author of the Birth study Dr. Jonathan Schaffir says spicy food creates intestinal activity that might encourage labor, and nipple stimulation has been proven to bring on contractions although standard protocols do not exist for its use.

Googling “natural ways to induce labor” brings up almost half a million results, from sites as mainstream as What To Expect When You’re Expecting, to a YouTube video with a husband demonstrating acupressure on his wife. In contrast, on another Web page a commenter named Sheryl offers this critique:

“Where’s the fire? What’s the rush? Yes, I know you are uncomfortable, but that is pregnancy. Your baby is not done yet. Period. Labor will start spontaneously when fetal development is complete. Have you ever heard of a fifty-week gestation? Have you ever seen your neighbor’s dog explode because labor never started? Just wait! Please! …You won’t have this chance to be lazy and pampered for a long time. Your baby will thank you.”

The question that remains unexplored in the Birth study is, “Why?” What are the reasons women feel the need to do something as dramatic as make their bodies go into labor? During my fifteen years as a doula, when a pregnant woman would ask me what I thought the best natural induction method was, I would answer kindly and firmly, “patience.”

In my own pregnancy I warded off the potential for feeling pressured, by choosing not to tell anyone my so-called due date. I only said my baby was expected in mid-September, which was actually two weeks late. Even the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that unless mother or baby is unhealthy, pregnancy does not carry increased risks before 42 weeks.

The night before Labor Day, my boyfriend was off doing his own thing, so I found myself on the sofa watching Billy Crystal in Mr. Saturday Night and tried out some nipple stimulation. I was 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant, perfectly average for a first baby, and therefore my body was probably ready on its own. Nipple stimulation can be done just as it sounds, by rolling the tip of the nipple between one’s fingers—studies show this releases the most hormones—or it can include a larger area of breast tissue. (Mothers whose pregnancies are considered high-risk should not use this method, and women who do use it should stop if contractions last longer than 90 seconds each.)

My approach was to massage the palm of my hand in a circle without paying too much attention to technique, on and off for thirty or forty minutes. Contractions came on immediately and regularly, and once I was satisfied that my personal science experiment had been successful, I stopped it and finished the movie. I woke up in labor the next day.

I remember performing my experiment more out of curiosity than under duress. It was kind of cool that it seemingly worked. Researchers on the Birth study noted that mothers who attempted to self-induce were more likely to be having a first baby (first babies tend to come later than subsequent babies, so it makes sense that these moms might feel more interested in, or pressured to get things going). They also found that the self-inducers were more likely to have had a vaginal birth. Depending on the lens with which you interpret this study, a vaginal birth could be seen as an important benefit, considering that drug-based inductions are associated with higher cesarean rates.

The study ends with the following observation by its authors: “A substantial portion of women used nonprescribed methods to induce labor, often without discussing them with a physician. Maternity caregivers may want to inquire about such issues, especially where interventions may do more harm than good.”

The researchers’ conclusions might miss the point somewhat. Although due dates are notoriously inaccurate, our culture and our healthcare system place great significance on them, and we increasingly expect pregnant women to have their babies “on time.” Yes, the day a baby is born is one of the most important events of a lifetime. It’s normal for women to feel restless at the end of pregnancy, and literally bursting with expectation. But we’ve encouraged a bit of an obsession with self-inducing, and there’s probably a kinder way to honor that special moment right before the transformation into motherhood.

So the next time you talk to a woman between 40 and 41 weeks pregnant, let her know that at least from your perspective, she’s perfect right where she is.

Ananda Lowe is a certified lactation consultant, long-time doula and co-author (with me, Rachel Zimmerman) of “The Doula Guide to Birth,” published by Bantam Books.

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  • Megan

    The idea that your body will go into labor when your baby is ready is completely inaccurate. At 41 weeks pregnant withy daughter my placenta had aged to the point that things were not functioning properly, my amniotic fluid was dangerously low because of this and my daughter’s distress over her deteriorating environment caused me to have an emergency c-section. I used evening primrose oil with my second child and delivered a perfectly healthy boy via VBAC… I had a wonderful labor and delivery 5 days before my due date. Now I am 40 weeks pregnant with my 3rd and facing a scheduled c-section in 2 days. I wish I had used EPO again but I think it is too late at this point :-( I am trying everything else though!

  • BSHERKELL

    IM 40WEEKS TODAY AND THIS IS MY FIRST BABY AND IM SO READY TO SEE HER, BY THE WAY MY LEGS,FEET ANKLES ,HANDS,FACE IS SWALLON AND MY BUTT IS SO HUGE,I FEEL LIKE A BIG PRUNE, I TRIED WALKING AND SEX, AND HOT FOODS NOTHING IMA TRY THE NIPPLE THING RIGHT AWAY SEE WHAT HAPPENDS, WISH ME LUCK..

  • Hadley Freesoul

    Pampered???? Lazy??? This Sheryl she speaks of must sit on her butt all day and not do anything normally, and loved the idea of using pregnancy as an excuse to be even more lazy than before. As an active person who loves running, rollerblading, biking, wrestling and just anything outdoors, this pregnancy is beyond a luxury or any kind of pampering, more like the opposite for me. At 38 weeks I am ready to see the little miracle my body has been creating, I am ready to start raising and teaching him and caring for him, women hardly ever go into labor on their due date and there is nothing wrong with doing things to help the process.

    • Hadley Freesoul

      But I won’t do any chemical induction. I am doing a homebirth and see nothing wrong with walking, some running, squatting, even bouncing on a stability ball as it encourages junior to move more down and into a better position. He is head down, deep down and some if not all of my mucus plug as fallen out already so if the walking helps induce labor, I am fine with that.

  • VickiElson

    Does everybody know that in 1965 in the USA, the cesarean rate was less than 5%, and now it’s around 33%, with no corresponding improvement in outcomes?  Who are these 28% of women having cesareans that probably don’t need them?  I suspect that quite a few are the unnecessary inductions that you’re discussing.  Some of us just have a “slow oven.”  And the methods of calculating “average” or “normal” length of gestation have been called into question.  Ananda, thank you for bringing up this important discussion.     

  • http://thejugglingmatriarch.wordpress.com/ Alisa

    Self-inductions are still inductions, and induction is not a good idea unless there is a clear need, i.e. without it there would be an unacceptable risk to mother and/or baby. It drives me crazy when people talk about nipple stim, castor oil, acupuncture, etc., as if they are risk-free simply because they aren’t medical treatments.  Having had two babies well past their EDDs (41w3d, 41w4d), the first induced with cervidil, and the second born by c-section after every natural induction technique in the book plus a bit of pitocin when things got really weird, I have become a firm believer in just letting things happen on their own timing. I still wonder how much all my work to get my 2nd baby born (walking, hiking, sex, nipple stim, castor oil, pineapple, eggplant, acupuncture, etc.) actually contributed to my c-section.  Ironically, I was working so hard because I was trying to avoid risking out of homebirth, which is how I’d planned to have my child.  I wish I’d left well enough alone.

  • Becca

    After 3 inductions, I was determined to have a natural home birth and I tried EVERYTHING. With 2 of my inductions, I had tried castor oil, sex, all the stuff. 1st was induced just a few days past 40 weeks and was the hardest induction, 2nd I was a day past 42 weeks, 3rd I was 41 weeks. With the 4th, I tried absolutely everything again and nothing worked, except that sex and Evening Primrose Oil helped a lot to soften my cervix and speed labor once it did start. At 41 weeks and 4 days, I gave up completely and resigned myself to the 42 week induction “required” in my state, I figured my body just didn’t know HOW to go into labor. My midwife offered to come up and walk many miles with me, try all the usual induction stuff yet again and I just cried and said no, I was exhausted, done. That night…about 2 am, guess what? I went into labor! I am convinced that the key to it all was a. my babies just cook a little longer and b. I was trying to hard and was too tense. I had to give up and let my body do what it needed to do. 

  • Doularina

    It’s really disheartening that so many women in our culture are self inducing to avoid pharmacological induction.  Inducing your own labor is still an intervention, no matter how natural.  If you body/baby aren’t ready, it can still lead to problems.  Patience is needed, indeed, along with a whole paradigm shift in the world of birth.  Low risk births should be attended by midwives and OBs should hang around for the high risk pregnancies and emergencies.

  • Ammamary

    i am also a doula and childbirth educator as well.  i loved the topic as i see it all the time too…only you didn’t mention the number one reason i see moms try to self induce–that they are being threatened with medical induction if they go past 41 weeks.  In many cases my low risk moms have to fight to get to 42 weeks but after that, they don’t have any wiggle room to allow for the baby to initiate labor.  the fear they feel that they won’t have the time they need to go into labor spontaneously causes them to be so uptight that I have seen that become an obstacle in and of itself.  the fact that inductions rates have gone up 140% is just wrong!

  • Posterior Babies x 3

    How about 42 weeks for the first and second child, and 42 a half weeks for the third child?  Now THAT was fun!

  • Boston Baby

    Hoping for a VBAC at 41+ weeks I tried to take matters into my own hands.  I was ready to try any way (almost any- was holding out on the castor oil) to get things moving without medical intervention.  I am not sure if it was the massage or the orgasm, but I managed to have a totally natural 6 hour birth and a healthy baby that night/morning.  I was lucky to have such a supportive group of midwives at Mass General.

  • Adrienne Leeds

    So if women are attempting “natural” induction out of a reaction to a deadline, a real or perceived threat, how empowering is this, really?  I mean, if my back was against the wall I’d choose castor oil over pitocin, sure.  But I wonder if this mindset perpetuates women’s abdication of personal responsibility.  “THEY said I have to birth by this date or THEY’LL take the baby.”  How many women choose to, or even know to read between the lines of the HAVE TOs to discern what is medically necessary and what is manipulation?  So much easier to hand over control and remain in the belief that it was all a HAD TO scenario.  

    • Becca

      The problem is, in many states, the midwife cannot legally attend a birth of a woman past 42 weeks gestation. That was the case with me. At 42 weeks, they must, by law, turn you over to a Dr. Do we have to then GO to the Dr? No….but the choice then becomes an unattended home birth because no midwife will attend, or going to the hospital to birth…which is what some of us were wanting to avoid to begin with. Certainly we can’t be forced to be induced with pitocin, but our choices are certainly much more limited. It seems like maybe removing that 42 week requirement would ease some of the worry over being forced to be induced. I certainly would have relaxed a lot more if I had known I truly DID have all the time in the world for my baby to decide to be born. 

  • Kateisfun

    At 41+weeks I was worried about risking out of homebirth (at 42+1), so I jumped on the self-induction wagon and tried pretty much everything except castor oil.  Whether it was something I did or just that my body and baby were ready, I went into labor at 41+4 and delivered at 41+5.  I tend to agree that these ‘natural’ methods won’t do much if the body isn’t ready, but I don’t like that I felt backed into a corner and that’s the reason I did them.  The whole issue of postdates is frustrating to me, I wish there was more respect given to the differences in women’s bodies and babies’ development.  There is no one prescription that will fit ever mother/baby dyad.

  • grf

    I self-induced with acupuncture on my due date because I was impatient.  I wish I hadn’t been, because my labor was extremely long and unproductive for the first 26 or so hours and I ultimately had to be induced because my water had broken (at the end of the acupuncture session!).  Perhaps if I’d waited, my labor wouldn’t have been quite so tortured.  My rational mind knew I should wait, but my impulsive, excited mind won out.  Happily, I had a beautiful, healthy baby at the end, but I learned my lesson.  Next time, I’m waiting. 

  • Ellenorann

    I tried several of these methods but none seemed to work. I wonder if self-induction actually increases medical inductions by causing contractions that aren’t truly labor, sending pregnant mom to the hospital/birth center only to be told that she isn’t making any progress, resulting in an unnecessary medical induction. I have heard that similar things happen around the full moon…

  • Julie

    If your doctor is going to schedule an induction, who are they going to induce if you don’t SHOW UP!!   I think women forget the decision is theirs, not their doctors.  You have absolutely every right to say “No!”  

  • Bienvenuebaby

    When I was pregnant I also tried all of the methods I could. Pineapple, sex, walking, even castor oil. None of them worked. At 41 weeks, my doctor stripped the membranes for a 3rd time & told me that if I didn’t go into labor over the weekend, I would be induced on Monday morning. I went and had a massage the following morning, using all the pressure points. My baby came the next day, med-free. I learned a lot from this experience. I was a CNA when I was younger and one of the the things we learned was the bill of Patient’s Rights. Apparently, this does not apply to OBGYN’s and Pregnant Patients, at least as far as induction is concerned. I am now a doula, and it is a perfect fit. It’s so rewarding to be able to remind mothers of their rights as an individual, educate them as to the rates of induction vs cesarean, and encourage them to do what THEIR body & mind tells them, not what the obgyn says they are “going” to do. It is their body, their baby, their decision. No matter how forceful the Doc seems to be, they can still say no if they want.
    Great article! Thanks!

  • AsacredapthDoula

    Half of my clients who did try to induce did so due to the medical world forcing them into a corner.  It was either get this labour started or we will.  I loved the article it was great more emphasis needs to be put on the fact that due dates are not expiry dates.  Most of these babies that are begin forced into an early date are being done so because we want to see them, we can’t wait, the doc’s have said it is time, or we are uncomfortable.  Do not get me wrong I feel that when I get pregnant with my 3rd I will come to that date the magical date set by the new time line and wonder… should I or shouldn’t I….. I think seeing this will be my final I will do everything I can to wait.. until I feel pressure from the medical world that my time is up… too bad we can’t simply be allowed the freedom to wait unless medically necessary…. 

  • Doula13

    i think natural methods of self induction are perfectly fine. as most of us who work in the birthing world know, natural methods, as opposed to medical methods, usually wont work unless your body is ready to go into labor already. im sure many women who have tried the gammot of induction methods at home and still go two weeks ‘overdue’ can attest to this. lol

  • Cmacak

    Since I was having a VBAC there was a lot of concern on my part to ensure that I went into labor before my scheduled c-section at 42 weeks.  I was adamant about not having another c-section if I could help it.  So I used all of the following, intercourse, nipple stimulation, ate lots of pineapple, spicy foods, tried accupressure points and had my membranes swept at 39 weeks and 2 days.  I happily birthed my baby on her due date at exactly 40 weeks.

  • Elder Midwife

    Why do we believe that due dates are real???  One out of three women might know exactly when they conceived…..but actually a conception date is very hard to know….unless you are very spiritually connected to your child!!  How a baby grows is as individual as the special person that they will become, therefore, believing a due date from ultrasounds is erroneous!! There are many women whose hormones are unbalanced due to previous harsh chemicals in her or her mother’s life…..that has significantly increased since the turn of the century.  In that case, increasing certain hormonal balance can be of help.  But as previously mentioned, it is really the baby that signals those hormones to start functioning.  I do not counsel women to have an expected due date……unless they are certain when they conceived!  Couples need to understand that part of a healthy pregnancy is NOT KNOWING WHEN THE BABY ARRIVES.  That we are a society that tends to want to control our lives when that, in itself, causes certain complications in late pregnancy!  Our path here on earth is individually predestined as well as our birth into the physical body.  These attitudes are to be taught as early as puberty.  Our new generation will benefit most if we guide them more towards their childbearing instincts….all these things are imprinted in our beings…..it’s just a matter of re-learning.  If we want to eliminate the violence in our society, we could start with the way we  accept our childbearing experience.  Only through love, and patience can this be accomplished.

  • Yogi Barrett

    This topic is wonderful to talk about because women in the know are doing anything they can to avoid a hospital induction just because they’re past 40 weeks.  Why?

    -Avoiding hospital induction is the number 1 way to avoid having a Csection (one study says mom is twice as likely to have
    section if induced)
    -Primary Csection rate is 33% and
    climbing every year, while WHO research shows Csection rate
    should be under 10%.

    -Estimates are that 40% of moms are
    currently induced, of which only about 15% of the total
    inductions are “medically necessary” 
    (that means only 6% of the population should be induced for “medical
    necessity” instead of 40%)   

    Isn’t it interesting that the numbers kind of correspond?   About 34% of moms are induced just due to “late” according to the hospital’s dating, and we have about a 33% Csection rate…

    So, starting labor on your own is best!  But if you feel like you can’t wait because the hospital is breathing down your neck, it seems reasonable to try “tipping the scales” through some of the techniques listed above (and acupuncture!  I’m a big fan of acupuncture if a woman is on the clock).

  • Guest

    I’m in agreement with the others about trying to avoid a medical induction – my ob sent me to be induced at 40.5 weeks because my bp was up slightly, but not significantly.  I went to L&D and they said they weren’t concerned, so I left.  I had an appt already scheduled for an induction if I didn’t go by 41 wks 1 day, so I was doing everything I could to try to bring on labor and believe that between a combination of already contracting (though I couldn’t feel it) and a few other things, that once I said “I’m having this baby today!” I had the baby within 18 hours.  I am very much against intervention when things are looking just fine, but I was okay with a more natural, non-medical way to get things moving.  I did not want to be medically induced, if only for the fact that I didn’t want a harder labor, or to be just waiting around.  My first baby came “on time” so I was working toward a similar experience.

  • Jane

    I guess I was part of the 6%.  Nothing got that baby out.  We did do acupuncture when I was 1.5 weeks post date (and the date was very accurate from an early early ultrasound – it was actually a week later than my original OB had set me for).  Then a day later stripped membranes.  These were my “last resort” options, knowing I’d be induced 2 days later.  I then went into prodromal labor which was awful, I slept with the help of morphine (so much for the idea of all natural?  I chose that over pitocin…) it worked in that labor started the next morning, but then spent all day laboring and still only got to 5cm.  That was 48 hours from when I first started and I had absolutely no strength left, so pitocin and epidural it was.  After 12 hours my daughter was born.  I still wish I’d had someone to coach me through it all a little bit more, as my midwives were very busy with other births and I hardly saw anyone throughout the whole thing. 

  • http://www.newcreationchildbirth.com Mdwf4life

    Induction has become a reality in the world of birth and many times is unduly forced upon women. For there to be a thoughtful, gentle, approach that allows the woman to decide and the baby to respond is definately more ‘natural’. Whatever the method, when the woman is the one who is giving herself the control and the opportunity, I say, go for it.

  • laurie

    For my second pregnancy, I tried all the things mentioned above PLUS 3 sessions of electro-stimulated accupuncture.   Unfortunately, none of these brought on contractions much less labor.   I was very open to the baby arriving but she just wasn’t ready to be born.  I think women need to be OPEN to alternatives to synthetic induction – your blog furthers the argument to at lease TRY it.

  • Heidi Cweaver

    Fantastic Job Ananda! Thank you for encouraging patience.  Nds is right that often women feel pressured to self induce to avoid medical intervention.  But if the medical culture caught on and realize the safety of letting baby decide its due date, women would feel less pressure and I’m sure natural interventions would lessen.
    Similarly – I think women who are enjoying their pregnancy in general, in a sexually healthy relationship – many of these “natural” interventions are also a part of natural life.  I had sex b/c I wanted to, not because of inducing labor (throw nipple stimulation into that too)  ;o)  We also went on long walks because we like to talk and enjoyed the leisurely time.
    I guess what I’m saying is that life in all its forms will bring about labor.  We just need to teach that to the docs!

  • MamaDoula3

    I self-induced, or so I believe I did.  I, um, brought on orgasms while sitting at home, alone, and 38 1/2 weeks pregnant.  I did this for a few days, three times a day, and lo and behold, a baby came out.  I honestly can’t say whether it worked or not.  I did this with my 2 pregnancies thereafter, too.  I wasn’t really in a hurry to not be pregnant.  I was curious to see if it’d work, plus, I was so sexually charged it provided a much needed release.  I also walked a lot.  A LOT.  I think if the baby is ready to come out, self-induction methods will work.  I’ve had clients who, no matter how many methods tried, baby still stays in.  I worked with a client, in the hospital, whose water broke-no contractions, foot massage, nipple stim, tub, shower, walking, ball, etc.  The contractions would begin and as soon as the method stopped so didn’t the contractions.  Baby boy just didn’t want to come out.  She was eventually put on Pit, and it took the full allotted amount to induce.  Not that this situation is typical, but sometimes it just depends on mama and the baby. :)

    • Becca

      Baby just wasn’t ready to be born! My own midwife stayed pregnant with her water broken for…over a month? On bed rest with precautions of course..and a healthy baby was eventually born. 

  • guest

    I used Castor Oil to jump-start things when I was 42 wks & starting to go into labor. (I’d already been in prodromal labor for 1 full day & this was at my midwives suggestions).  Worked like a charm!

  • Divinedoula

    I find that most of my clients want to know ways to self induce because they are being pressured by their care providers to induce chemically.  I am seeing even more mothers being induced at 40 weeks 4 days instead of between 41 & 42 weeks.  It seems that providers cite the risks of continuing the pregnancy without discussing the risks of the induction process.  The July 2010 Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology posted a study that found that women who had their labors induced experienced 2x higher rates of delivering by cesarean section than compared to those women who went into labor spontaneously.  The risk of stillbirth at 41 weeks is incredibly slim but many women hear this word from their providers and fall right in line. It is truly unfortunate that so many do not understand the risks of the induction process as well.  Thanks so much Ananda for bringing this discussion mainstream!

  • Milkmadness

    My clients who self induce are always attempting to avoid pharmacological induction.  Many Drs seem obsessed with delivering anyone who becomes post date or has PROM.  I love that your favorite method is “patience”, something many women are no longer permitted.   I dread induced clients – it is ALWAYS a rough road. 

    • Adrienne Leeds

      Post dates is NOT post-40 weeks, though!  I think this is a common misnomer and common cultural misconception (no pun intended).  Postdates means post-42 weeks, the cutoff for what is considered normal obstetric term. 

      Statistically, everyone should check out the Mittendorf study.  First-time caucasian mamas carry their babes ON AVERAGE 41 + 1 days.  How 40 weeks as determined by Naegele remains the rule, when it is a number pulled out of a hat based on a machinist 28-day menstrual cycle, is pretty ludicrous. 

  • not-a-hippie

    I had two homebirth babies, and I self-induced (at 41 weeks for both). The first one, with sex, the second one, with “the midwives’ cocktail” (castor oil and apple juice). Um, it just felt like the right time to get going with each baby. I think that I liked having some say in the timing (although I am fully aware that if labor had not been just around the corner, the self-inducing wouldn’t have worked, anyway). Two uncomplicated births. Now, two teenage daughters.

  • Ortega Jen

    I personally would have felt comfortable waiting as long as it took, but my OB was pressuring me to induce from a day before my EDD.  I tried sex, spicy food, nipple stimulation, driving an hour away to a restaurant reported to serve a special labor-inducing salad and tea, walking long distances, and even jumping into a neighbors cold pool (as they watched in amazement).  I too considered castor oil!  Lucky for me, I had my daughter during the new millennium baby boom and the hospital didn’t have space for me until 10 days later.  I was medically induced, but had a narcotic-free, epidural-free, and smooth birth.  Thank goodness for crowded hospitals!  I chose a kinder doctor the second time around ; )

  • Nds

    Odd that this piece dos not state the MAIN reason women self-inducewhich is not impatience or pressure or discomfort but an attempt to avoid being medically induced. And run the increased risk for c-section that such intervention carries. I went so far as to consider castor oil! I also ate spicy food, had sex, stimulated my nipples, got acupuncture daily after 40 weeks, and walked a ton..

    • Ananda Lowe

      Many readers agree with your comment that women self-induce in order to avoid a medical induction.  I do too, which is what I meant when I wrote about such things as “the seeming casualness with which many obstetricians propose setting a date to start labor with drugs.”  Thank you for clarifying how deeply frustrating this situation is for many women. 

  • Sarah

    Interesting. I am a mother of two (actually met you at an EC meeting last summer when my second was just a few months old and you were pregnant so congrats!). Both my deliveries were natural and the first was at home, so needless to say, I am comfortable saying ‘no’ to intervention. I am not however the most patient person and the last month and especially the last two weeks of both pregnancies just couldn’t pass quickly enough! My first was born three days after her ‘due date’ and the second one three days before her due date. Even though I told myself with both of them that due dates were approximate and I didn’t want to rush anything that didn’t need to be rushed, and that Nature knew best, when it came down to it, I felt more than ready and just wanted that baby in my arms! I tried almost all methods for self-inducing labor that I knew of. Ecen some of the crazier ones like we went out to an Italian restaurant and ate Spumoni; we drove to a high altitude and then drove down fast. I drank raspberry leaf tea, up to 10 cups a day for over a week (yes, did I mention I’m not a patient person??). I’m sure that toned my uterus nicely but nothing I did brought on labor. Both my little girls came exactly when they were ready. They continue to do things exactly when they are ready and no sooner!

    • Ananda Lowe

      Sarah, thanks for your congratulations on my baby :)  I love your self-inducing stories!

  • http://laborpainzsupport.blogspot.com/ Martha

    Those are some interesting info! I think that more people are interested in natural methods now, as they are really trying to avoid a c-section or an induction and doctors are not allowing much overdue people. So, really, sexually active people, only 6% were still pregnant at 41 weeks?

    • Ananda Lowe

      Hello Martha, yes, feel free to click on the link in the article about that study!  It is very readable and interesting.  Of course, I have known women who tried having frequent sex and were disappointed that it doesn’t work for everyone, but it has been proven to work for others.