Not only a full term pregnancy difficult to live with, making the mother to be all too eager to get the delivery over and done with, an overdue pregnancy is actually likely to be detrimental to the mother as well as her unborn child.
However, many women and physicians may want to try and hurry the baby along a bit using some of these natural ways to induce labor rather than use medical intervention:
Sexual Intercourse: There is some evidence to suggest that sexual activity could spur on and be included as one of the natural ways to induce labor.
The reason is that semen contains the hormone prostaglandin, which is known to start or bring on labor because it can help in softening or ripening the cervix for starting the birthing process. So there may be something to that old saw, what gets the baby in, gets it out!
Nipple stimulation: Nipple stimulation is another among the natural ways to induce labor, since this can produce the hormone oxytocin which causes the uterus to contract.
It is also nipple stimulation of breast feeding after the baby is born that helps the uterus contract back to its pre pregnancy size.
Herbs to induce labor naturally: What herbs can be used safely during pregnancy is a crucial question since herbs used to induce labor could be unpredictable in the way that they react with different individuals.
Blue and black cohosh, chamomile, partridge berry, motherwort, red raspberry leaf, evening primrose oil etc are known to help prepare for the delivery, however they must be taken under guidance of a knowledgeable herbalist.
Castor Oil: Castor oil, which is known to be a laxative, can help in inducing labor by stimulating the bowels, and many women find this a very effective natural way of inducing labor. This has to be used with caution, however cramping, diarrhea and dehydration can often result from this.
Acupressure: Acupressure is sometimes used as one of the safe natural ways to induce labor. Pressure points in the webbing between the thumb and the index finger, the inside of the ankle, etc are effective pressure points that will help in labor by strengthening contractions.
Certain foods can help induce labor naturally: Certain foods such as parmesan cheese, spicy food, eggplant, licorice etc are said to help induce labor.
However, this claim is mainly anecdotal and research on natural ways to induce labor is not supportive of these foods being able to bring about labor, even if many women over the years have sworn by it.
Tropical fruits such as kiwi, mango and pineapple are said to contain certain enzymes that may cause mild contractions, so there may be no harm in trying.