Natural ways to bring on labour: an overview

Now there is something to be said for being patient. Your baby will come when he's ready. But if an induction date is looming, you might feel like you want to give him a gentle nudge. We've got some alternative methods of bringing on labour:


Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into specific points of your body. This is thought to stimulate the energy within your body to act on a specific organ function or system.

Castor oil

We don't know exactly how castor oil works. It's thought that it stimulates your tummy and therefore stimulates your uterus (womb), kick starting labour. However, be aware that taking castor oil may make you nauseous and give you diarrhoea.


Curry is often suggested as a means to bring on labour. Eating spicy food may stimulate your tummy and therefore stimulate your uterus into action.


Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain which is thought to help soften your cervix and bring on labour. Eating large amounts will probably stimulate your tummy, which could also stimulate your uterus.

Herbal remedies

Herbal remedies such as blue cohosh and black cohosh are much stronger than homeopathic remedies and should be used with caution. Blue cohosh in particular has been linked to complications for babies at birth. You should get professional guidance before using herbal remedies as they are much stronger than homeopathic remedies.

Homeopathic remedies

Homeopathic remedies such as pulsatilla are often used to stimulate labour. There is lots of anecdotal evidence from mums-to-be who have found them helpful. However, talk to your doctor or midwife before trying them.


Nipple stimulation

Nipple stimulation is when you gently rub or roll your nipples to encourage the start of contractions. The idea is to stimulate the suckling of your baby. This releases oxytocin, a hormone which causes contractions to start.

Raspberry leaf

Raspberry leaf can be taken as a tea or in tablet form. It is thought it may stimulate your uterus and encourage labour.


Having sex can be tricky when you have a big bump. But it could trigger the release of oxytocin, a hormone which causes contractions. Having an orgasm could also stimulate your uterus to get labour going.


The pressure of your baby's head pressing down on your cervix from the inside could stimulate the release of oxytocin, a hormone which causes contractions. Being upright also encourages your baby to move down onto your cervix.

And finally:

Here is a selection of other methods (some of them a little bizarre) that other mums are said to have found helpful. There is no evidence for any of these and frankly we are not convinced!

  • Blowing up balloons: the theory is that the build up of abdominal pressure encourages labour to start.

  • Bouncing on your birth ball or driving your car down a bumpy road would seem to put the same faith in shaking things up a little.

  • Get a weepy video and have a good cry.

  • Wear your best knickers (sod's law will ensure that your waters break in them).

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