Once you've gone past 39-40 weeks, you're probably feeling really ready to meet your baby. There is a lot of mythology surrounding what works in terms of inducing a baby naturally. We talk you through some of the pros and cons of DIY style induction:

1. SEX

One 2006 study of 200 healthy women found that those who had sex after 36 weeks pregnant were significantly less likely to go past their due date or require labor induction. But another study published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found no difference between sexually active and abstinent moms when it came to length of gestation. Either way if you have the energy and practise safe positions, having sex can't hurt and may be a welcome distraction.


Prolonged breast stimulation prompts the pituitary gland to release contraction-inducing oxytocin, the same powerful hormone that initiates your milk let-down response and can lead to severe cramps when a newborn suckles. Its synthetic form, Pitocin, is the most common drug used to induce labor, and studies indicate that stimulating it naturally can be effective as well. A Cochrane Database review that included 719 women at 37 weeks pregnant or beyond found that nearly 40 percent of those who stimulated their nipples for one to three hours daily had their babies within three days, while only 6 percent of the control group gave birth.

But aside from the impracticalities (who has time to do this for hours on end?), this method comes with serious risks: You have to be very careful that you are not overstimulating the uterus and making the contractions too strong or too close together. you also have to make sure the baby is tolerating it well by having your health care provider monitor his or her heartbeat. Best to talk to your doctor first!


Based on anecdotes, indulging in a spicy curry actually does seem to work!


Many midwives will recommend evening primrose oil which is prescribed in capsule form to be taken three times a day or rubbed directly on the cervix, is believed to help soften the cervix and ready it for labour. However, the few published studies that have looked at its effectiveness failed to find that its use caused labor to begin any earlier. But one study suggests it may actually prolong the active phase of labor and boost the incidence of certain labor complications (such as arrested descent of the fetus in the birth canal).

Raspberry tea is often recommended in the weeks before a due date to tone the uterus but hasn't proved to have any effect on labor. And numerous studies have suggested that acupuncture may help induce labor in women who are full term.


Acupuncture seems to have very mixed results on inducing labour with no significant studies to back it up.


The safest and healthiest labor is one that starts spontaneously. Skip the home remedies, eat right, rest and enjoy those last few days of pregnancy as much as possible.

We'd love to hear from you! Were you overdue? What did you do to bring on labour?