Updated: May 11
Most of us have been there, the end of pregnancy is no joke and most women feel heavy, sluggish and just desperate to meet their babies! I am often asked the best ways to get labour started – sometimes I wish I knew a sure fire way as I’d be very rich! Unfortunately no such way exists, BUT there are a few things you can do to encourage labour:
Tip #1 - Take a chill pill
Not literally of course, but try and relax. When we feel relaxed we release oxytocin which is the exact hormone we need to trigger labour and to labour efficiently. Baby really will come when they are ready. The last part of baby to develop is their lungs, and once these are fully developed they release a protein which travels up to mum’s brain and triggers the release of all the hormones needed for birth. I have said it so many times before, but we really are designed perfectly to give birth.
Tip #2 - Temp fate
We’ve probably all had it happen. You plan something really fun to do and then something gets in the way and you don’t end up doing it. So temp fate a bit and plan a really fun day or evening out after your ‘due date’ with hubby or friends. Or go for a drive and ‘forget’ your hospital bag (just don’t venture too far away from home!)
"I trust my body to know what to do"
Tip #3 - Eat dates
There is actual scientific research to show that women who ate 6 dates a day from 34 weeks, were more likely to go into spontaneous labour. So if you are a fan of dates, get eating them! If not, you could bake them into cakes or eat a couple of Nakd bars a day as these contain a lot of dates.
Tip #4 - Have sex
Yep, not only does sperm contain prostaglandin (the very hormone used during induction) but it also releases oxytocin, which as we know is needed to get labour going! So if you fancy it, go for it!
Tip #5 - Laugh
When we laugh we release oxytocin, so the end of pregnancy is a great time to sit down, relax and watch your favourite funny film. Anything which really makes you laugh is great.
Tip #6 - Visualise
That’s right, imagine giving birth. Imagine your perfect birth. Remember that where our mind leads, our body follows. So if we are relaxed and imagining it happen, it might just!
Tip #7 - Stay active
If you can, stay as active as possible Go for long walks, it is very beneficial in the late stages of pregnancy. The more active, the more your pelvis is moving which will help baby’s head to move down and get into a great position for birth. Of course, also make plenty of time for putting your feet up and eating lots of cake – also very important in those final weeks.
Finally, just remember that baby knows best and will come when they are ready
Try not to stress about it if labour hasn’t started when you expected it to. It will happen, as far as I know no one has ever been pregnant forever! Try and enjoy those last days and weeks – rest, sleep and if you have other children, spend lots of time with them before you have a newborn to think about.
To learn more about how you can prepare for labour click here to view our course options.