Can You Induce Labor On Your Own?

Once you reach the end of your pregnancy, you'll likely be ready to get that baby out! Friends and family may tell you to eat spicy food or sip castor oil to induce labor... but will it work?

Woman getting acupuncture

Having sex

You may have heard (and not just from your husband!) that having sex can help jumpstart labor... and while there is no actual proof that this is true, there's no harm in trying! As long as your water has not broken and your doctor has not made you swear off sex for any reason, go ahead and hit the sheets with your partner and see what happens!


In some parts of Asia, acupuncture is used to kick start labor, but the jury is still out on if it's actually a good idea.

In a small study conducted at the University of North Carolina, pregnant women who received acupuncture were indeed more likely to go in to labor without medical assistance.

The study included 56 women that were 39-and-a-half to 41 weeks pregnant -- half of them received three acupuncture sessions and the others did not.

Of these, 70 percent of the women who got acupuncture went into labor versus 50 percent from the other half of the group. Another bonus? The study showed that the women who got acupuncture were 39 percent less likely to deliver by c-section. This one sounds like it's worth a try!

Eat spicy foods

Some women may swear that eating spicy foods is the best way to induce labor on your own. However because there is no direct connection between the stomach and the uterus, this is definitely a myth.

Drinking castor oil

The thought of drinking castor oil may be too much for many pregnant women to handle, and it's probably better off that you steer clear of this idea, too, unless for some reason your doctor advises you to drink a small amount. (It can stimulate the bowels, which lean on the uterus -- so if you're constipated, your doctor may suggest it.) But be warned -- drinking castor oil can cause serious diarrhea that can lead to dehydration. And that's no good for a pregnant woman who is about to give birth!

More myths, tricks and rumors

A look at pregnancy myths and wives' tales
Old wives' tales about pregnancy and baby: Silly or believable?
Boy or girl? Wives' tales to predict sex of baby


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