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Safe, Natural Ways to Try and Induce Labor

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Your baby's due date has come and gone with no baby in sight, and you're starting to get restless - what can you do? While nothing can be guaranteed to induce labor, there are some safe, natural things you can try. (Of course, always discuss any of these methods with your midwife and physician before trying them, and avoid them if you've had pregnancy complications or a history of premature labor.)

1. Walking. Many women swear that a long walk got their baby moving. As long as you feel comfortable, why not give it a try? 

2. Sex. Another form of exercise that many moms swear by, sex may help speed up labor. There is some evidence that sperm has chemicals in it that can ripen the cervix, and that orgasms can cause uterine contractions. It's not guaranteed, but if you and your partner are in the mood, it can't hurt to try.

3. Spicy food. Every community seems to have its own folk beliefs about what to eat to induce labor, from pineapple slushies to enchiladas. A lot of moms swear by spicy foods, and there's no harm in trying - just make sure you don't give yourself heartburn right before you go into labor!

4. Evening primrose oil. For hundreds of years, women have used evening primrose oil to help the cervix prepare for pregnancy. However, this herbal oil (which can be taken in capsule form or even rubbed directly on your cervix) isn't safe for all moms, so be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before giving it a try.

5. Acupressure, foot massage, and pedicures. Many moms swear by acupressure and/or massage, especially of the feet, as a way to coax your baby into the world. Perhaps that's why some women swear by pedicures - the foot massage might be its own form of acupressure. As long as you're cleared by your healthcare provider, it can't hurt to try - and even if it doesn't work, at least your toes will look nice whenever your baby does finally make his appearance.

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