Want to go into labor? Try these tricks!

I’m ready. I’m past my due date by 5 days and hoping for labor to begin any minute. Actually I’ve been hoping for 3 weeks now, since I reached 37 weeks – the official “full term” date. That’s a fun little fact about pregnancy… you’re pregnant for 40-ish weeks (which, if each month is 4 weeks, actually comes out to 10 months, not 9) and due for 5 (between 37-42 weeks). Basically the due date is a giant guessing game that lets you know approximately which month you’ll give birth in, not the date you’ll do it on.

Another fun thing about pregnancy is that no matter how perfectly developed the baby is and no matter how ready you are, your body – not you – has 100% say in when you go into labor. Believe me, I have been pleading with this kid (as well as trying to bribe and sweet talk) for weeks and nothing. My body isn’t ready yet. I was born 3 weeks late (I’m sorry, Mom). My doctor’s policy is to go 1 week past the due date before induction, so if she hasn’t come out on her own by Friday, that’ll be my induction date.

Induction is a scary thing. There are a few different medical techniques and frankly none of them sound very appealing. I’ll let you go visit the site and read about them… talking about it makes me cringe since I’m likely going to end up having to get one of them done.

One thing you’ll find during pregnancy is that everyone is an expert and they all want to give you advice, whether you ask for it or not. Sometimes this is welcome! At the beginning you’ll get lots of advice on keeping yourself from puking the day away and getting rid of migraines. But then as you get to the end of your third trimester, and therefore are approaching labor and the birth of your spawn, you’ll be told LOTS of natural ways to “induce” labor. Most of these methods are used by midwives and frankly I can’t find much proof that they work other than anecdotal evidence.

Let’s discuss a few of the things you’ll be told to do by the maternal masses:

  • Sex. Everyone loves to tell preggos to get it on. Obviously they’re willing to do it if they’re harboring a mini-human in their loins, right? Semen contains prostaglandins which can aid in ripening the cervix. Because of this, people think that having sex starts labor. It doesn’t. It helps the cervix prepare for dilation. This can happen up to a month before labor. Female orgasm is said to start contractions. This may be true, but if you’re the kind of woman who needs certain positions and movements to spark an orgasm, you’re likely not going to orgasm when you’re in the physical condition of a beached fucking whale.
    On top of that, being told every god damn day to have sex when you’re more worried about peeing your pants when you sneeze (because you will) is the most obnoxious thing ever. To everyone who told me to go and get it on, despite seeing me say “no” to every mention of it for weeks: thanks, but blow me. Seriously, women. How is it helpful or in any way kind to tease people who are in pain? Maybe you had awesome timing and happened to do it as you were starting labor anyway or you didn’t feel like your lower abdomen was going to split in half and your organs were going to spill onto the floor. If that’s the case, good for you! I’m bloated, crampy, gassy and sore. Jumping on my husband’s dick is not going to make me feel better, whether it were to start labor or not. I personally enjoy sex for the fact that it feels good. I miss it terribly and so does my husband! We don’t want the last time we do it for 6 weeks (the recommended amount of time after birth before you go at it again) to be an experience which would lead to me crying and him literally seeing our daughter swimming around in my belly under him. If you’re comfortable with that, go right ahead but stop fucking telling me to do it.
  • Walking. Walking is good for you. I don’t suggest NOT walking when you’re getting ready for labor, but don’t expect to go from not-in-labor to baby-head-popping-outta-your-vag by taking a walk around the block. One of the reasons walking is suggested is because hip movement can help the baby cram its way down into the birth canal (“dropping”). I support walking for health benefits, but it’s not going to start your labor if your body isn’t ready to start it on its own.
  • Spicy Food. I love spicy food. The only thing that doesn’t give me heartburn, somehow, is spicy food. I eat it all the time. I am not in labor yet. Basically, people say that spicy food gets your digestive system working overtime, which in turn starts contractions. This is an old wives’ tale. Sure, I know some girls who went into labor after eating Mexican food. But there could be any number of other factors at play that just weren’t mentioned because since it’s said to work, it must – right? The thing is, if you’re not the type of person who typically eats spicy food or doesn’t handle it well, this is only going to make you ill. It doesn’t seem fair to anyone involved to force yourself to eat spicy food before labor. You’ll be uncomfortable and your doctor has a gross enough job to do.
  • Castor Oil. Uggggh. Please don’t try this. This is along the same lines as spicy food but way more ridiculous. It “works” by causing contractions in your intestines because it gives you massive diarrhea. Also, it doesn’t necessarily work. There are more accounts of women trying it and crapping their brains out than trying it and popping a kid out. Why would you want to do this to yourself? You wouldn’t. And if anyone suggests it to you, they aren’t your friend. Another danger regarding castor oil is that sometimes people don’t read labels. I have seen warnings everywhere that promotes it as a form of natural induction to not drink castrol oil, like that which you would put in your car. Seriously.
  • Nipple Stimulation. This isn’t necessarily false. Your body has all sorts of wacky tricks that it uses to make pregnancy and returning to pre-pregnancy shape possible. It’s been found that nipple stimulation through nursing your child releases oxytocin (one of the things used in medical induction) to return your uterus back to normal size. Because of this, some women use stimulation to release natural oxytocin and start labor contractions. The problem with it is that it’s possible to cause fetal distress by using this technique. When a doctor applies this method or IV oxytocin (Pitocin) in the hospital, you’re hooked up to all sorts of monitors to track the baby’s heart rate, etc, and if something goes wrong you’re in the hospital surrounded by doctors and nurses. If you do this at home and don’t know that your fetus is in distress because of strong contractions, it’s going unmonitored and that can be dangerous for the baby.
  • Drink Semen. I wish I was joking. Earlier I was telling you about how semen contains prostaglandins, which help to ripen the cervix. Apparently some nutcase thinks that ingesting semen works just as well, if not better, than having it smeared on your cervix. How much would you have to drink for it to have an effect?! Elyse and I almost got ill discussing it earlier, as if you’d sit there with a cuppa-cum and sip it as you went about your daily business. I’ll tell you what… I don’t want to blow my husband right now and that’s ok. He wouldn’t let me if I did want to. It’s not a sexy time, being 40 weeks pregnant.
  • Acupressure. At the beginning of pregnancy you’re told to avoid massaging certain parts on your lower legs and feet because they can trigger contractions and cause miscarriage or pre-term labor. I can tell you that I was all over the place massaging when my legs started to hurt and I didn’t once experience a contraction until I was supposed to. Elyse sent me an awesome link earlier relating to acupressure induced labor. The woman writing this was “skeptical” about acupressure until she found that the sales site she was looking at offered a money-back guarantee. Because that always means it works! Not only that, but when she gave it a try she went into labor 24 hours later. After she was already past her due date. So there’s no way she just naturally went into labor, because she had her partner poke certain parts of her body 24 hours before labor started, which means acupressure saved the day! Give me a fucking break.

Pregnancy kind of sucks, especially at the end. That said, it is completely worth the hassle. I’m the most impatient person ever. I don’t even like waiting 2 minutes for something to microwave. So you can imagine how I feel about being 5 days “late” to giving birth, considering this is a whole lot more uncomfortable than craving a Hot Pocket. The truth of the matter is, I appreciate people giving a shit whether or not I deliver the baby via induction. We’re glad you care and we’re glad that if we have questions about our pregnancies, you’re there to answer questions. But please, for fuck’s sake, do the next preggo a favor and don’t offer these bullshit “sure things”. They’re not proven, nor are they comforting, just because you know five women it worked for and all that’s happening is that I’m being reminded of how futile it is to think I can make her come out without medical intervention. The only way to induce labor is to have your OB do it in a medical setting. Sometimes we just want to complain. Let us do that without saying, “well you know what works?” because it doesn’t. I can almost guarantee it doesn’t work unless what you’re suggesting is going to the doctor.


Chelsea is the proud mama of an amazing toddler-aged girl. She works in the retail industry while vehemently disliking mankind and, every once in a while, her bottled-up emotions explode into WordPress as a lengthy, ranty, almost violent blog. These will be your favorite Chelsea moments. Follow Chelsea on Twitter: chelseaepp.

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  1. I remember when my cousin was over her date I went over to hang out with her for an afternoon. While I gave her a foot massage she told me all the bargaining with her child (and god) and threats and awful things she’d do to get it out of her. It was possibly the funniest she’s ever been. It was so very very hard to not laugh at her frustration and discomfort but I just listened and laughed later.

  2. Even induction by an OB in a a hospital isn’t a “sure thing” – I was given prostaglandins and then an ungodly amount of pitocin and my uterus continued to say “I WILL BEGIN LABOR WHEN I’M DAMN WELL READY FOR IT SO FUCK OFF.”

    Looking back, it’s pretty obvious that my due date had been miscalculated and I should have just waited it out, but at the time I was pretty hopped up on hormones and not at my best decision-making capacity. (And since the end result was a healthy baby, I was eventually able to let go of the fact that my OB was a complete and utter assface.)

    So rather than offer advice, I’ll just cross my fingers and wish you some spontaneous contractions, a nice easy delivery, and a glass of wine when it’s all done.

    (Oh and hey, you left alcohol off your list of old-wives’ ways to induce labor! That one was way more appealing to me at 40 weeks than sex or walking.)

  3. If you don’t want to be induced, ask your doctor if you or your baby are in any danger if the baby stays in. When the answer is no, just tell your doctor you want to wait another week. Neither you nor your baby are required to follow a doctor’s schedule policy!

  4. What I find interesting about the ‘estimated delivery date’ is they round up from your last period *even if you know the exact date of insemination*. Like if you go through IUI or in-vitro. Given the state of modern medicine I’m amazed at how much of pregnancy in particular is just guesswork based on decades or centuries old traditions.

    I’m guessing the particulars of things like predicting delivery dates et al is a tough area to do research on because pregnant women are quite understandably hesitant to participate in medical studies that may impact the health of their child and themselve.

  5. @revmatty:

    You may know the exact date of insemination, but you don’t know the exact date of implantation. And that makes a HUGE difference.

    And, depending on how far along you are, they can date the age of an embryo down to the day. So it’s not a matter of the due date being guess work because of the guesswork of pregnancy dating… it’s a guess because a cervix doesn’t care what day science thinks you’ll go into labor.

  6. I can’t write a post that informative and funny when I have a mild cold, let alone a 10-month old human kicking around my innards. Nicely done, Chelsea, and I can’t wait for the baby to finally get the hell out!

  7. If you stimulate your nipples so much that you have as much oxytocin coursing through your veins as you would have on an IV drip of Pit, you’re doing way too much stimulating. I think you’d have to diddle them all day to reach that level, and frankly, who has time?

    If it’s any comfort, I went into labor naturally at 39 weeks with #1, and I had to be induced with #2 at 36 weeks due to intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy and pregnancy induced hypertension. My doctor applied Cytotec (internally) and then broke my water 4 hours later. I promise that my induced labor was no worse than my natural labor. I did not need pitocin, or pain relief. I had both of my kids vaginally and without pain medication (well, I had a tylenol with #2 for a headache, but I don’t think that helped with the labor at all!).

    I agree with the above commenter who said that you don’t HAVE TO be induced at 41 weeks if you don’t want to.

    Red raspberry leaf tea produces contractions. I’ve used it to stop hemorrhaging (when I had my IUD removed – I drank it consistently for the last few weeks of both of my pregnancies. It’s a uterine tonic, and you can totally feel it working (it’ll give you unmistakable Braxton Hicks contractions). But, it’s just tea. If you want to try something that will safely get things started, if your body is ready to start, clear it with your doctor and get a box of tea. I like Traditional Medicinals, and you can find it at any health food store and some large grocery stores.

    Again, it’s just TEA, so it’s not like caster oil and whatnot that can make you really uncomfortable.

    And sleep now, while you can, because sleeping is going to be out of your grasp for a while. :)

    Have a good baby!

  8. Both my girls were 2 weeks late from their due date. I was miserable. My doctors were both “hey, when they baby is ready, it’s ready”. WIth my second girl it was “ok on Wed, we induce” that Sunday (Fathers Day) my daughter decided what could be a more perfect gift for her dad than to finally come out. WIth both babies, my friends all tried to help. WIth Evelyn, a GIANT Mexican meal and a 2 mile treck through knee deep snow (my friend DRAGGED me) resulted in labor that night (or not). I tried the giant Mexican meal again for Aynsley (last thing I felt like eating). Worked again, though lets face it those babies were ready to come out.

    A later baby has a different look than a regular newborn. A little bigger (which is better) a little more “dry” and even more advanced with intelligence.

    But, pushing out 10 pounder Aynsley was interesing. Ahhh, I did it! But she was one BIG baby.

  9. Having been pregnant 3 times in my life, I can safely tell you that the baby will come when your body decides it’s the right time.

    My first was c-section, pretty much right on time and done by c-section due to her flipping and wrapping the umbilical around her neck.

    Second and third, again came right on time, natural and nothing I did made a difference prior to this (yes, a week prior to my due date with both, I tried sex, accupressure, walking, you name it).

    In some cases, the old wives tales or things you’ve read can cause more problems than help with bringing on labor.

  10. True story:

    I went into labor with Moose on his due date. How did I make that happen? I read Skepchick. For real. I spent the day reading Skepchick.

    I guess Chelsea’s been watching Oprah and reading Cosmo.

  11. At the risk of angering the possibly still pregnant woman, I have to point out the calendrical error in this post.

    A month isn’t 4 weeks. On average a month is 30.4 days. Counting actual months, 10 months means at least 303 and at most 306 days, while 9 months is 273-275 days. Average months gives us a length of 304 and 274, so I feel comfortable using those.

    This means that 40 weeks is just 9.2 months, and that if you play fair and only round up once you reach 9.5 months, the earliest point you can claim to be 10 months pregnant is after 41.26 weeks. (Or 41.14 if you start at February 1st and use actual months, a difference of less than a day.)

    [Self deprecating joke deleted]

  12. It’s like trying to set up a meeting with the most surly, self-obsessed office coworker ever.
    Best of luck.

    As an aside, my gyn is a retired ob from waaay back (yet still incredibly progressive by today’s standards). He tells some pretty crazy stories about when he first came over from South Africa and had to convince the doctors over here that four point restraints for laboring women was an incredibly bad idea.

  13. For whatever it’s worth, my daughter was induced–Prostaglandin suppository and pitocin drip–and it was shocking and notable for how not-bad it was. The drip feels like any other IV; the suppository felt like nothing, really. After ten minutes or so, I really didn’t notice anything, so I got to spend the first six hours relaxing, watching television, and reading.

    They started the drip around ten. At four, I had my first contraction, then I napped for a few hours. Woke up around eight, and just after midnight, I was holding my daughter.

    I know it sounds horrifying, and there are certainly plenty of people lined up to tell you all sorts of horror stories, but my experience, at least, was pretty darn pleasant. I hope it is for you, too.

  14. @Bjornar:

    If you want to get pedantic, then you can actually never be 10 months pregnant because you’re not even pregnant until you’re at least 2, maybe even 3 weeks pregnant, and you’ll be induced before you get to be 44.26 weeks along.

    So maybe Chelsea should quit complaining until she’s ACTUALLY 10 months pregnant.

    (BTW, in girl-terms, the average “month” is 28 days. And each day after 36 weeks feels like a month and a half anyway.)

  15. I have never heard of any of these. All of my kids were born on time or a few days early. I was born 10 weeks early, completely hairless, no nails and missing the outermost layer of my epidermis. Apparently my mom wanted to get rid of me fast. I have begun checking Chelsea’s FB page half a dozen times a day to see if Spenser has been born yet.

    Good luck, I hope she is a super healthy baby and starts sleeping through the night on the second day. and potty trains is record time.

  16. @Elyse: AAAGGGHHH!!!

    Skepchick: best birth control ever. Excuse me while I check to make sure my NuvaRing is still in place.

    Seriously, when I do get around to having kids, you ladies better still be posting this stuff. Great info, Chelsea!

  17. @revmatty: From a perfectly logistical standpoint, if date of conception is used to date a pregnancy instead of last menstrual period (LMP), then the conventional dating system is thrown off. The best example of this is probably prenatal screening for down syndrome and neural tube defects- “normal” is entirely dependent upon the number weeks gestation at the time the sample is drawn. Since the convention is to date by LMP if you gave your doctor weeks’ gestation based on conception, it would change the implications of your test results. In addition, certain decisions about delivery are made based upon weeks’ gestation (a friend of mine was recently given steroids for preterm delivery that weren’t necessary because of the conception vs. LMP dating issue).

  18. Per Lynn D. Montgomery M.D. [OB/]:

    ‘Keep in mind that all of the ‘tricks’ you may try at home to cause labor to begin will only work if you were so ready that you probably would have gone into labor without them! Some of them may be downright unpleasant, if not less than safe for mom or baby.

    RR [red raspberry] leaf tea is generally considered a tonic. It will not work at the end of pregnancy to induce labor. It is best used throughout pregnancy to achieve the desired effect. Anecdotal effects are somewhat shortened labors, shorted early stage of labor and speedier placenta deliver along with less bleeding immediately postpartum. ‘

    Evidently, the plant is chock-a-block with vitamins, calcium and other good things.

    I was three weeks overdue and 9 lbs 9oz. My mother is 5’1″ – and I was the smallest of her children. I’m not quite sure why she had three of us. OTOH, her labours and my sister’s were quite short – my sister’s first came in 45 minutes, as she hadn’t noticed that she was in labour until her water broke. I had to wait 27 hours for my son, but then again, that was sitting at LAX waiting for a plane that had been delayed by a snowstorm

  19. I was watching all of those threads happening so much on your facebook that it was annoying ME. I finally had to say something although it wasn’t as snarky as I wanted because I don’t know you or your friends personally.

    I had to be induced. I was leaking amniotic fluid so they thought my water had broken and her head had plugged the hole so I didn’t even know. They gave me pitocin at first and I still didn’t dialate enough. Then they put the uterin-catheter thing in. The catheter wasn’t bad. I have only had one child and that was with pitocin so I don’t know how it would have been otherwise. Labor is not fun. To what degree mine was, I couldn’t tell you.

    My labor was awful enough (just because it’s labor, lol) but I had the nurse from fucking hell. I don’t know why I felt like I shouldn’t say anything but I look back on it and wished I would have ripped her a new one. Not that she was a bad nurse, but throughout the entire labor she would not SHUT THE FUCK UP. She was talking so much that my doctor kept mouthing “I’m sorry” to me over and over again. Not only would she not shut up but she kept pointing out what was wrong with my body — like my hemmerhoid, or a mole in a sensative spot, or a little scar over my belly button, etc. Thank god you can’t bring a gun into the hospital :-P

  20. @jtradke:

    Cite provided:

    “Brewed as a tea or as an infusion, raspberry leaf is one of the safest and commonly used tonic herbs for women wanting to get pregnant or for women who are already pregnant. Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) tones the uterus, improves contractions and decreases constipation.”

    Several websites are careful to say that RRL tea doesn’t “cause” contractions. It “improves” them. I guess the distinction is important because you don’t want to “cause” /productive/ contractions at 25 weeks by drinking it (and it can and in many opinions should be consumed throughout pregnancy). But if contractions are happening (which, at 40+ weeks, they probably are, whether you can feel them or not) it can help make them more productive. Can’t hurt, anyway, it’s just tea.

    Next time I get pregnant I’ll invite you over to feel my belly before and after drinking RRL tea. It makes my stomach hard as a rock. It’s really quite fun to watch, and I attribute my extremely fast labors (3 h 45 min with #1 and 1 h 9 m with #2) to good genes (my mother’s labors were in the 6 hour area) and RRL tea.

    Or find your own pregnant woman and do your own science. :)

    The link that broke was to my blog where I described using RRL tea to stop hemorrhaging after my Mirena IUD was removed.

    There it is again. I’m not sure why my links are breaking, or why I’m not getting follow up comments via e-mail.

  21. @Displaced Northerner:

    Many doctors will do an internal ultrasound at approximately 8 weeks to measure the baby and determine a “scientific” due date to avoid the LMP vs. conception date difficulties you describe. My doc did the ultrasound on both of my pregnancies, even though I knew my exact conception date with #2.

  22. @loudlyquiet: Angry pregnant women are a force to be reckoned with. And they’re also funny as hell. :)

    @Alterjess: Oh man! Yeah, I know some girls who got induced and went right away and some that still took hours and hours. Nothing really is a sure thing – it’s just that going to the doctor is a much safer bet than trying a lot of the suggestions. I actually wasn’t told to drink to induce. I was made to feel like a freak for not wanting to though! “How could you not want a glass of wine? You’re 37 weeks pregnant!” I just couldn’t do it. I understand that there’s nothing wrong with it and don’t think any differently of women who do, I just couldn’t do it myself.

    @kblackma1: I know that I don’t have to be induced, but I very much don’t want to go any later than when the doctor suggested anyway. I asked at my 38 week exam to have the membranes stripped but I wasn’t dilated enough. Believe me, I don’t follow anyone’s schedule unless it jives with how I’m feeling.

    @prettybabies: Haha! Yeah, from what I’ve read they suggest doing it several times a day for up to half an hour each time. I guess they basically want you to play with yourself about as often as you’d be nursing to get the proper amount. Regardless, it seems excessive to me. I’m going to have sore enough boobs in a few days! I don’t want to cause it myself. :P

    @kittynh: Wow, 10lb baby! My doctor hasn’t guessed at this one’s size. Last week he said she’s a nice healthy size but not giant. I hope he’s right!

    @reneehendricks: One thing I have found to be true is that stress doesn’t help. Not that being totally relaxed will help you go into labor, but I feel like the more I stress about it the more my body is going to rebel. Trying anecdote after anecdote is stressful! The more you try to no avail, the more futile it seems.

    @Bjornar: Ha. Yeah, pretty much what Elyse said. At this point I feel like I’ve been pregnant for a year and a half, so being 0.8 months off isn’t too big of a deal. And anyway it depends on the pregnancy and how long you allow yourself to be overdue. :P

    @Surly Nymph: Oh I’m so sorry. Having a witch for a nurse can’t be helpful in that situation! We’ve been to L&D twice in the last month – once for a false alarm and once for middle of the night bloodwork. The first time we had kind of a surly nurse who I hope was just tired and a little cranky because it was 3am. The second time I wanted to hug the nurse I got when I was leaving. She was wonderful and I’ll be really disappointed if she happens to be off during my stay in the maternity ward.

  23. My sister-in-law was induced (that was a better work now or emergency c-section due to pre-eclampsia) and it wasn’t fun for her but it went okay. She can’t stay in there forever.

    Also I’m with Nicole, Skepchick is the best birth control motivation. I’m quite happy being an aunty.

  24. @prettybabies: Truth. But that date is determined by the “norm” based on dating by LMP. Depending on the trimester, the LMP trumps the ultrasound dating if it’s within 1-3weeks of the u/s determined date. So if a patient comes in at 20 weeks by LMP and an u/s says she’s actually 21 weeks 2 days, we still go by the LMP dating of 20 weeks. The earlier the u/s, the smaller the margin of error, though.

  25. My husband’s grandma tried to get me to drink raspberry leaf tea, but I never tried it. It smelled kind of weird, and I don’t really trust anything my husband’s grandma gives me. She also recommended catnip, for some reason. She’s a weird lady.

  26. My wife showed some vaginal spotting 4 days before our daughter was due to be born, so she went to the hospital, and the ob/gyn thought they should induce labor. After about 12 hours of labor which was not productive, the fetus was showing signs of distress on the monitor, so my wife opted for a c-section. As it turns out, her pelvic arch is too narrow for vaginal delivery of a baby more than about 6-7 pounds, and our daughter was 9# 5 oz.

  27. Chelsea — believe me, I’m no expert, but I was induced last year (go BBC skeptical moms!) and it was great. Okay, not great, like great, but great as in, it made the experience as pleasant as it possibly could have been, with few complications and on the whole I’m glad it happened.

    Everyone likes to tell you horror stories about inductions, but honestly, with my labor? They fired up the pitocin, I got my epidural four hours later when they came in to break my water, I dilated FAST, and then the hardest part was waiting several more hours for the epidural to wear off before I could push. I spent that time stoned out of my gourd, which was kind of awesome, and felt very little pain.

    Having the induction scheduled allowed my friends and family to get to the hospital right on time, my doctor to be there when I needed her to be, and best of all, I get to say “HA” to all the crunchy types who were convinced the induction would prevent proper dilation and eventually lead to a c-section.

    I hope it happens for you soon, and rest assured the end result is SO, SO worth the wait!

  28. @chelsea:
    “I’ll tell you what… I don’t want to blow my husband right now and that’s ok. He wouldn’t let me if I did want to.”

    Uh huh. Of course he wouldn’t.

  29. My father is an OBGYN,and he said that he “prescribes” walking for women because it makes them feel like they are doing something and it’s not unhealthy. In fact, gravity plays no measurable part in the delivery of a baby, as you will no doubt find out when you get all squeezy in a few days.

    Do you have a picture of the baby’s face smashed up against the tummy? Like Mr Howdy in The Exorcist? That would rock!


  30. Chelsea, in the case of my son’s birth, I was also not “in labor.”

    Like Surly Nymph, I was leaking amniotic fluid, but was not in labor at all. My doctor would not “allow” more than 24 hours of leaking fluid without induction, for risk of infection… Forcing the issue (Pitocin drip) only resulted in a 23.5 hour waiting period until I even started dilating more than a centimeter. My body was NOT ready. And you know what, not one nurse or doctor even began to suggest that anything other than the Pitocin and relaxing (and some walking) was going to help. That was cool.

    I hope for the best for ya, and some action at least by Friday.

    I also wanted to throw in that epidurals are really neat and a true miracle of medical science… but you can’t feel if you’re pushing or pooping the entire time! Pros and cons, I guess.

  31. I am thoroughly ignorant about all things pregnancy and baby-related (my parenting advice to Chelsea was how often to clean the litter box), so I am curious to know: what happens if they don’t induce? Presumably there are health issues and potential complications in just waiting, but I know nothing of them. What happens if babies are just left to come out at their leisure? Is there a chance they won’t come out at all? Am I talking rubbish? Seriously, I know absolutely nothing about this stuff.

  32. your body – not you – has 100% say in when you go into labor.

    Actually, the baby has the last word, as I understand it.

    peeing your pants when you sneeze (because you will)

    I would try that. Can’t hurt. Wear old pants, though.

    When Amanda was “overdue” (according the the Wheel of Lies they use to estimate this) Bora (Corturnix) suggested that I eat a lot of garlic and breath on her. I did not do that.

    One thing that works is carefully reading a very long book. Start war and peace. By the time you are done with the book, you’ll be in labor.

    And good luck!!!!!!!!!

  33. @Tracy King:

    The more pregnant you get, the older the placenta gets… after you’re due, it starts to deteriorate, depriving the baby of food and oxygen which can cause fetal distress.

    Also, the thing keeps growing… and the bigger they get, the harder they are to push out. Dilating to 10 cm seems like a long way to go. It’s a huge hole… until you’re pushing out something that’s 12 cm.

  34. My wife (who is a labor and delivery nurse) just started a blog about pregnancy, labor and childbirth related things. She’s trying to provide evidence-based answers to common questions.

    I apologize if it’s bad form to promote another blog here, but if you’re interested, her blog is here:

  35. You said, “I can almost guarantee it doesn’t work unless what you’re suggesting is going to the doctor.”

    What on earth makes you think the doctors know? All they’re going by is anecdotal evidence. I’ve heard OB/GYNs recommend every single one of the first five items above. (I used to work in a maternity hospital.)

    Very little research is done with female subjects, and this is just not something anyone is going to spend money on, as there’s (probably) no med for it. So it’s *all* anecdotal.

    Sorry if this sounds angry – I know far too well just how much of medicine is based on science and how much is based on ‘well this is logical and I have a hunch it might work’.

  36. @Chakolate:

    I hear OBs actually have to list “10 things that worked for your roommate’s friend” before they can even graduate from med school.

    And 67% of OBs highly recommend douching with Diet Coke while jumping up and down on one foot as an effective form of birth control.

    Also true: anyone can deliver a baby in the maternity ward at any hospital in the US if they just claim they just made a huge PayPal donation to that hospital that afternoon. And if you use the PayPal excuse, your curling team can use NICU babies to practice!

  37. @Chakolate: While we’re being nitpicky, saying “I’ve heard ____” and announcing your former workplace as evidence is also anecdotal.

    I didn’t say that none of these are suggested by doctors. What I did say is that they don’t start labor. I am pretty sure that, considering the schooling they undergo to become an OB/GYN, they have at least a faint grasp of the female reproductive system and what works in contrast with what’s bunk.

    ‘well this is logical and I have a hunch it might work’

    Yes. This is called a hypothesis and is a step in the scientific method. Very little technical research is done on pregnant subjects because of the possible risks that random experiments could pose to a woman and/or her fetus. So yeah, some of their steps came from “hunches”, but they’ve been shown time and time again to be effective. This is how most if not all medicine has come to be.

    “Do you know what they call alternative medicine that’s been proved to work? Medicine.” – Tim Minchin, Storm

  38. @Bjornar: Nice math, Bjornar. I’d also like to point out the the first two weeks of “pregnancy” your not even pregnant yet. Human gestation is 266 days from implantation, so if the average month is 30.4 days, then humans are only pregnant (on average) 8.75 months, or 8 months, 3 weeks.

  39. @Chelsea: Oooh, buuurn. I love you, Chelsea.

    Good luck with everything! I cannot wait to see pictures on Facebook.

    I am never going to have kids, though. No desire. Each time someone gets pregnant in my circle of friends, I think maybe, just maybe, my clock will start ticking and my mind will be changed, but no. 28, and I’m still 100% positive I do not want kids.

    But I am forever glad that other people have them, so I can ooo and awww from afar :D

  40. @lexicakes:
    Catnip tea will knock you -out-. Well, most people anyway. I remember a friend mistaking catnip for oregano, putting it in his spaghetti, and passing out in the chair. If you’re having trouble sleeping, a cup of catnip tea should help. I have no idea how it might affect a pregnant woman, so I can’t help you there.
    Nice to know I’m not the only “freakish” woman who isn’t interested in having children. They’re great, but I’m pretty sure I don’t want one. All squirmy and heavy in mah belleh…*shiver* I’m 32, and only once have I ever felt that “Maybe” pang. Never got to be more than a maybe. My sister got the babymaking gene, she’s had two. If it wasn’t for the cancer, she’d probably have had a bunch more.

    I hope for the best for you and the baby, and I hope you have a speedy and relatively painless birth!

  41. Too funny. Tonight’s episode of Private Practice (don’t trash me for watching it) there’s a character with a birth plan that includes walking, eating spicy food, castor oil, and nipple stimulation.

  42. @Elyse #44 – I’m confused – are you making a point? Excuse my denseness (I’m often quite dense) but I don’t get it.

    @Chelsea #45 – Sorry! I misread the last part of your post. The way medicine is researched and practiced on women is a hot button for me. I’m 57, and over the years I’ve had doctors tell me that taking The Pill would solve all my problems, that getting pregnant would solve all my problems, and that taking hormone therapy would solve all my problems. And only two of those doctors were male. But all of them talked to me like I was a child. Grrrrr.

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