After nine long months, mothers are sometimes eager to find ways to induce labor. Is there a natural, safe way to do this?

Tricks, remedies, and herbal concoctions abound, and some may be effective. But many factors are involved that will determine whether any of them will actually work. For the most part, these traditional methods won't do anything at all if your body isn't ready, and may just make you miserable - or worse. But if conditions are ripe, one of these methods just might nudge things in the right direction.

One factor to consider is that if the baby hasn't dropped, with its head pressing against the cervix, these natural methods are very unlikely to have the hoped-for affect.

Castor oil

Mothers have used this for years, and some swear by it. It works by causing extreme diarrhea, bringing with it intestinal cramping. Supposedly, this cramping sets off contractions. Sometimes mothers get so uncomfortable at the end that they are willing to try this, but be warned: the diarrhea is harsh, and you may go through a lot for nothing.

Long walks and bumpy car rides

. This idea is based on the notion that these activities cause the baby's head to press against the cervix more firmly, triggering contractions. And most mothers have noticed Braxton-Hicks contractions when walking in the late parts of pregnancy. While exercise is great, oftentimes mothers only get worn out from walking and walking, hoping to induce real contractions, and being exhausted is no way to begin labor. Bumpy rides will likely just make you uncomfortable.


. Black or blue cohash is an herb that has been used for centuries to induce labor. Doctors are wary and consider it risky since it seems to affect your hormones, and it hasn't been studied much.

Evening Primrose oil

 This oil can cause the body to produce substances that prepare the cervix without hormonal side effects. However, it's not likely to induce labor quickly.

Sexual intercourse

This works in two ways to induce labor. First, female orgasm can trigger contractions in the right conditions. Second, semen contains prostaglandins which help ripen and soften the cervix.

Nipple stimulation

. Stimulating the nipples triggers the production of natural oxytocin, which contracts the uterus.

While the wait can be difficult, keep in mind the baby's health above all else. Use the waiting time to rest if you can - once baby is finally here, you'll need it.

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