I was told that 50% of babies end up late.
This seems like a completely useless statistic though, because at a rate of 50% either way for the options of ‘late’ or ‘not late’, it’s not as though you are more informed than before you learned this, nor is there much to work with to affect change in any way.
I gave my little one, one week’s grace before she was forcibly evicted from her accommodations, and considering all the midwives ended up saying “She’s a really good size”, I probably should have taken my OB’s advice to not have waited that extra week.
As the clock ticked closer to her due date, and then to her induction date, I did quite a bit of reading into natural methods of inducing labour. It’s not really something I thought I’d be writing about, but in the interest of science, here’s what I learned, tried, and whether I thought it ‘worked’.
Raspberry Leaf Tea
This is a uterine tonic and pretty safe to take for general health, though during pregnancy, not in first trimester, and preferably in late second and throughout third.
It comes in teabag (I guess tisane, technically) and tablet form, and a 2000mg tablet is meant to equate to about 6 bags of tea according to the shop.
Generalising and averaging out what I read on various sites, you’re encouraged to take it daily to tone the uterus, and you can increase your dosage in the final weeks taking double strength tea 2-3 times a day then, on your due date (and presumably after), you brew a 24 bag pack in 1 litre of water and drink that over the course of the day.
In tablet form, the 1500mg bottle a friend gave me said 1-2 tablets a day, so at 2 tablets (3000mg) a day that would technically work out to be 9 cups of tea per day. And to replace the extra strength tea on the due date, that’s about 4-6 tablets.
I took the tablets at first, then the tea, then a combination of the two to increase the strength. This would have resulted in taking the equivalent of about 3-4 tablets or about 12-18 cups of tea.
For reference, the tea doesn’t taste bad. Just tastes like an ordinary black tea. I saw some complaints about how it tasted awful, but the reviewers also indicated they weren’t tea drinkers (what a travesty) so…
I noticed nothing. Some people said they noticed uterine tightening and what they felt were mild contractions. Nope. Zip. One hopes it still had the intended effect of uterine toning though, that’s got to be helpful in any case.
Curry, spicy noodles and level 1 spiciness szechuan food. Delicious, and the szechuan was a little dangerously hot for my usual threshold, but nope. Nothing. Bub seemed to be a bit more mobile, but bub is normally mobile during meal times anyway, so nothing out of the ordinary there. Admittedly, I didn’t have any vindaloo or go for the level 2 or 3 spiciness szechuan. Perhaps that would have made a difference.
Six dates a day from week 36 is the recommendation. It also softens the cervix for birthing. According to the OB, cervix seemed soft, but who knows if it would have been without it.
Didn’t do anything to induce labour though. And if you’re eating six dates a day, try to space them out, or include them in other recipes, snacks or blended beverages. I would forget and end up eating them in one shot. So tedious.
Also, six seems a bit arbitrary. And of which type? Medjool are larger than the other pitted types you find, so six of those would end up a lot more by weight than the other sort.
Essential Oil Massage
A post on a forum suggested rubbing the belly and back with a carrier oil with lavender, jasmine and clary sage will bring about labour in 2 days. Clary sage was not advised by the midwives at the hospital, so I used lavender and jasmine only.
Smells nice, helpful for sleeping better at night (when you’re not constantly getting up to pee), but didn’t do anything noticeable, and I doubt bub appreciated the massage from the womb. Perhaps the clary sage is the key ingredient, but I wasn’t game enough to try it against the recommendation of health professionals.
You’re meant to avoid reflexology during pregnancy because there are some pressure points that can cause contractions and as a result, miscarriage. But they’re considered okay to use once you’re past your due date.
I intended to get my feet pummelled once I was due, but the massage therapist who was going to do it changed her mind. Very sad, and I couldn’t find anyone else who could do it.
At that stage of pregnancy, I was really hanging out for a good strong massage too.
Anecdotally, some people found these methods reliable, but there really isn’t any science to back these claims. Also, given the 50% late statistic, those for whom these worked might just have fallen into the 50% not late side of the stat as well. Or, their biology might have made them more likely to have these methods work. Who knows.
I also read on one of the forums in response to someone asking how to bring about labour early, someone saying “Start a bunch of projects you intend to finish before the baby arrives, go for a picnic somewhere remote in your best clothes, and unpack your hospital bag”. Which I found hilarious, but it could also be interpreted as “Worrying about it won’t make it happen faster, so just relax.” it’ll happen when it’s meant to happen. And if your OB suggests you should get induced before the baby gets too big to deliver comfortably, you may want to listen to them.
 Relatively speaking, considering I ended up induced anyway.
 In birthing, a toned uterus is technically meant to make your contractions and pushes more ‘effective’.