Let’s Get This Party Started!- Natural Ways to Stimulate Labour

So at 40 weeks and 3 days I am feeling still pretty awesome in my body, some aches and pains here and there and uncomfortably in the night hoisting myself out of bed to pee but all in all I could hang in there.  Wait I forgot about heartburn! That has been my ultimate worst feeling in pregnancy! Blah! I had started to feel some braxton hicks surges in my lower pelvis and felt some twinges in my cervix area and some shooting pains in down my left inner thigh they would happen and stop nothing consistent. I don’t want to force anything but just let my body and baby know…ok I’m ready!

My main fear is medical induction! Besides the fact that I am planning a home birth and didn’t want to go to the hospital the induction part just sounds awful and painful so I decided to start going about some more natural methods below.

I know there is a timing and a process here. Baby Hawthorn is totally in control and feeling very smooshy and comfortable indeed. In China there is a saying- “when the fruit is ready, it will fall off the vine!”

take the stairs


SEX- Though most recommendations state something about semen having prostaglandin’s that

sexhelp to ripen the cervix if semen is not available to you in your sexual lifestyle do not fear, you needed it to get pregnant but not to go into labour! An orgasm  either partnered or alone, relaxes the body and stimulates oxytocin- the labour hormone; also helpful in early labour to get contractions stronger.

ACUPRESSURE– stimulate the various meridians and energy flows in your body at home with a friend, partner or by yourself. A great way to relax, de-stress and connect to your partner/ doula or friend as you visualize, breathe and open your body to the energies.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnEcLSHTI0s– Helpful easy to follow routines.

http://acupuncture.rhizome.net.nz/- This site has a free booklet created by acupuncturist Debra Bettes that has some fabulous points to induce labour and support with pain management while in labour.

ACUPUNCTURE- more active or aggressive as you will need to leave your house, book and appointment and use needles but very affective support. If you do not have a trust acupuncture therapist check these sites:

http://www.communityacupuncturetoronto.ca/what.html– Very accessible sliding scale clinic in Toronto- Brenna or Naomi are experienced with pregnant women!

http://drewnesbitt.ca/toronto-acupuncture-clinic-drew-nesbitt-services/– Specializing in women’s support, fertility, pregnancy and beyond.

meditationVISUALIZATION AND MEDITATION- Every day I wake up and meditate with myself and the baby. I ask what we need- foods, places to go, rest and see what comes to mind. Sometimes I get clear messages- like a walk at the water and other times nothing tangible. I started visualizing my ripe opening cervix like a flower. I imagine the thinning, moving forward and shrinking. Visualizing with my breath creates ease, gentleness and clarity has been a supportive practice throughout pregnancy and I’m sure through birth.

HOMEOPATHY- Caulophyllum (Blue Cohosh) and Cimicifuga (Black Cohosh)-                                                                         These two remedies are used widely together and separately to support steady contractions and induce labour. You can start at a low dosage of 30x and up to 200x but use with the support of a homeopath/ naturopath/ doula to ascertain if this is the right action for you if you are not familiar with homeopathic medicine.

Homeopathy is gentle enough that if the baby is not ready and the body not ready to shift into birth then these remedies will only support in opening cervix and cause no harm. There are also remedies which may suit your specific energy profile and may prove to be more useful in getting labour started.

Lisa Farun Wonderful Doula/ Homeopath (queer friendly) on the Danforth- 416- 421-2447- http://www.homeopathytoronto.ca/aboutlisa.html

Piper Martin– Doula/Homeopath will do a skype natural induction consultation – 905-252-8929 www.pipermartin.com- excellent blog with resources; birth kits and guides for pregnancy


nipple stimulations

bumpy road

SPICY FOODS/ PINEAPPLE/ COFFEE-  Maybe or maybe not all together in that order! These items stimulate the stomach and digestion which can stimulate uterus into action. Pineapples contain bromelain which ripen cervix…if you eat 4 at a time!

SWEEPING THE MEMBRANES- a procedure your midwife or OB can perform and basically gets up in there and feels out your cervix, separating it from the membranes. I found it uncomfortable and a tad painful.


And if none of these work and I get to 42+ weeks forget all these tender massages and cooing voices I’m breaking out the Black Sabbath and doing shots of Jack Daniels- something to shake up this little Buddha baby!

Herbal Supports in Pregnancy

I will start off by saying I am not a certified herbalist but as a green witch with a love of plant medicine these are some of my favourite plants. Please consult herbalists, naturopaths or other trusted professionals if in doubt or dealing with specific conditions.

RED RASPBERRY LEAF- Rubus idaeus red raspberry leaf

The most highly used herb during pregnancy, labour and nursing. Red Raspberry leaf tea is a friend till the end. During first trimester R.R’s high mineral content, rich in calcium, magnesium and iron build strength and can aid morning sickness as well as leg cramps. It also has a high concentration of Vitamin C.

A nourishing energy to the reproductive system R. R brings increased blood flow to the uterus which supports a healthy growing baby and as well tones the uterus for a speedy recovery. It’s astringent nature also support in slowing bleeding during labour and can help to dispel the placenta.

Taken after labour this herb can support milk flow and bring mineral support back into the depleted body.

 How to use:   Red Raspberry tea can be made from dried leaves (either gather from garden or purchased at a reputable herbal store) Also bought in pre-made tea bags.

Drink hot or cold mixed in combination with other herbs or alone.

Can be made into ice cubes to be sucked on while in labour or during times of morning sickness. Boil ginger root and at a tea bag of raspberry leaf- freeze into cubes and suck on through out labour or periods of nausea.


Cup– 1 cup water to 1 tsp Red Raspberry leaf- steep at least 10 minutes

Jug– Boil 4- 5 cups water, Add 2 tbsp. Red Raspberry and steep at least 10 minutes

Vat– To make a huge batch just 3/4 to 1 cup of R.R. 16 cups of boiling water. I pour the herbs and boiling water into a big glass jar, cover with a plate and leave overnight before straining for a strong tea. That can be then watered down to taste, or frozen into ice cubes.

 OAT STRAW- Avena sativa oatstraw

Oats and oatstraw are incredibly kind to the body’s nervous system. High in magnesium calcium and silica supports building healthy bones, tissues, nails and hair in mama and baby. Oatstraw can be a safe energy booster bringing centered energy into the body after nervous exhaustion or a bad nights sleep.

Nourishing to the brain, oats are fabulous for reducing anxiety and creating a calm, alkaline state internally, by improving digestion and bowel function. Oatstraw tea can also improve circulation to the uterus. Oats or oatsraw tea can also be applied as a cold compress to relieve itching or stretch marks, eczema or other rash flair ups.

How to use:

Make an oatstraw tea- purchase at herbal store loose or in bags. Herbalist Susun Weed recommends loose to get more full spectrum of the herbs.

Eat oatmeal for breakfast! I was not a breakfast person but something happened around my second trimester and I needed to eat when I woke up to get me through the day.I actually remembered that my mom had said she ate a ton of oatmeal while pregnant with me. She thought that is why my complexion was one that was more apt to burn. While she ate a ton on coffee ice cream with one of my brothers who soaks up the sun and almost becomes another race. So be warned about an oatmeal baby!

My breakfast of champions was oatmeal. I craved it!

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or almond butter
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • handful walnuts, pumpkin seeds
  • a smackrel of honey or maple syrup
  •  a dash of quality cocoa powder or cinnamon


gingerGINGER- Zingiber officinale

Ginger is a warming herb that works on the digestive system and immune system. Ginger has long been used as a sacred remedy in many traditions from the creation of gingerbread for digestion in Roman times to the use of ginger ale to prevent sea sickness and vertigo for Viking travelers. Gigners medicinal properties are highly regarded in Chinese medicine as a yang stimulating herb and used in hundreds of preparations because of its stimulating nature and ability to carrier other remedies through out the blood.

Ginger tea can promote digestive juices and increase desire for food if you are feeling nauseas with morning sickness (that might come and go throughout the day!) It also supports healthy digestion. Ginger also can aid the body in the absorption of nutrients so if you are not able to keep food down making a very nourishing tea with ginger and other mentioned herbs could be away to continue to receive the nourishment your body and growing baby needs. It can also support digestive functioning if your body is having trouble with constipation during pregnancy.

Ginger also improves circulation which can help maintain energy levels throughout the day during all stages of pregnancy.

 How to use:

Ginger tea hot or cold- When I was starting to feel like I might be coming down with a cold my number one remedy is:

 Ginger Immune Potion  (all measurements are rough estimates)

  • hunk (4 tbsp ish) chopped ginger root
  • 5 cups water

Simmer for 15 minutes then add the following

  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. honey

(Possibly a clove or 2 of garlic for extra immune boosting)

  • Ginger can also be combined with Red Raspberry leaf for a tea infusion for morning sickness
  • Ginger can also be taken in capsule form or found in candy format to suck on
  • Ginger foot soak for fluid retention and circulation

NETTLES- Urtica dioica 


The Tibetan master and Buddhist saint Malirepa is portrayed in images as green because it was said he lived off nothing but nettles for years in mediation. Nettles also contains high amounts of chlorophyll, the compound which supports the absorption of light in a plant and gives plants their green colour.

Nettles, like dandelion is considered a weed, but this weed which grows world wide, has many delightful properties. This deeply nourishing and rich medicine is high in iron, calcium, folic acid and vitamins A, C, D and K.

In early and late pregnancy nettles is supportive to energy levels, strengthens kidney and adrenal function and can be a great remedy for those who are suffering from anemia. Due to it’s astringent properties it can be useful for those who may get hemorrhoids, to be taken as a tea or made into a poultice or put in a sitz bath.

Nettles is a wonderful immune booster and increases our resistance to illness by improving absorption of iron, regulating blood sugar levels and supporting liver function.

In later stages of pregnancy, birth and beyond nettles naturally increases milk production, and it may reduce the likelihood of tearing and hemorrhage during birth.

 How to use:

You can gather nettles and cook in summer with spinach and lemon for a salad, for full connection to the plant and mineral absorption. But nettles does sting so wear gloves to harvest!

It can also be used fresh in tea infusion or dried or frozen for later use in teas.

Some grew in my garden so I harvested for all of these uses and drank dried throughout the winter season. You can find nettels in health food stores loose of pre-packaged.

Potent Pregnancy Potion

I drank a combination of these herbs throughout my pregnancy.

I had grown the peppermint and lemon balm consciously in my garden and the nettles was a friend that popped up all on its own! I had harvested some red raspberry leaf from the raspberry’s that grow at my cottage and the rest was purchased from an herbal store. Drinking this tea always felt deeply nourishing to my mind, body and soul. In early pregnancy when I felt nauseas I would add more peppermint or throw in some ginger and drink at room temperature throughout the day. When winter months and my third trimester hit I upped the red raspberry and nettles which felt like a green infusion to my system and strengthened my reserves. On nights where sleep was intermittent I would add more oat straw or lemon balm to sooth my nerves.

General Pregnancy Tea Tonic IMG_7234

  • 4 parts Red Raspberry
  • 2 parts Nettles
  • 1 part Oat straw
  • 1 part Alfalfa
  • 1/2 part Peppermint
  • 1/2 part Spearmint
  • 1/2 part Lemon balm

celebration herbalsFor pre packaged tea bags Celebration Herbals can be purchased at Noah’s’; The Carrot Common, Hoopers.

To purchase loose leaf teas you can find at Thuna’s on the Danforth; Qi Natural Foods.