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Doula Tips for Starting Labor


Make Sure and Certain the Time is Right to Begin Labor

Don't decide on your own that it is the right time to start labor. Speak with your medical professionals to learn about the development of your baby, the readiness of their little body as well as what the risk factors are.

I once had a client tell me that she was "ready to have this baby NOW!" I listened to why she was overwhelmed with being pregnant, and I reminded her that a pregnancy was typically 40 weeks, and she was only 35 weeks along. She told me how miserable she was and how uncomfortable she was in her own body. To answer a question, yes, some babies can survive from being born that soon, but some cannot. There is no reason to ever encourage a child to be born early in a normal pregnancy. In a pregnancy with risk factors, your medical staff and you will discuss options that will not be discussed here.

Here is something to keep in mind before you attempt to start your labor: There are important things that happen in the final trimester and babies need the vital protected time in the womb to be the healthiest baby possible. If you are not yet at your due date, if your medical professional is not talking to you about inducing labor, if you are only "ready to be done being pregnant", then relax and wait until the time is right for the baby to make an appearance.

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Olive or Mineral Oil Sympathetic Stimulation

Olive oil and mineral oil both have the effect of being a mild laxative. When bowel movements become more frequent, the contractions in the bowel can lead to sympathetic contractions in the uterus, leading to labor starting.

If you decide to ingest oils to bring on your labor, make sure that you speak with your doula for suggestions of dosage. Drink loads of water. Expelling wastes can make you dehydrated if you do not replace what you have lost.

I always tell my clients if they DO use this method to make sure and grab a wastebasket to have near the trash can. With some women, they can experience nausea and vomiting at the same time. Having a small wastebasket near can make that experience less stressful.

If you are using this method, after every bowel movement, wipe the anal/rectal area with a small amount of mineral or olive oil to prevent a raw bottom. Raw places can be miserable during labor.

Weight and Walk

Starting labor at home can be as simple as a large potted plant and some stairs. Hold the large potted plant in front of you as best you can and slowly go up and down the stairs.

For those that have found the potted plant too bulky to handle along with their size, a bag of playground sand also works very well.

Stop if this becomes painful. If you are having problems with balance, ask a friend or family member to accompany you as you walk around the house instead of up and down stairs with a potted plant or sand. Don't rest the sand or plant on your abdomen. Don't do this at home alone.

Squats- But Only with Help and Support

Do ten deep squats in a row, with your arms linked to your partner. You and they should have arms straight out, holding on to one another as you slowly and deeply descend and ascend. Your center of balance is off, so don't do this one alone.

After you do the ten squats, wait ten minutes and do 10 more. Do this for an hour, then rest for an hour. It does seem to help the pelvis open up.

Fastest results seen with this one? Active labor in two hours.


Sexual intercourse is WELL documented for starting labor. Make sure that you consult with the doctor or midwife before you do it. There are many instances documented where proper stimulation leads to the onset of labor. Don't do this if your home is far from your birth place of choice.
Friends of mine chose this method and selected a hotel near to their hospital. Good thinking. In less than two hours, we welcomed their son!

Nipple Stimulation

It is very well documented that nipple stimulation has been directly linked to starting labor. The belief is that the hormones are released to coincide with breastfeeding. If you don't have a partner that can help you, you can always use a breast pump.

Yoga to Stretch and Relax and Open Up

Yoga is a beautiful thing. Stretching can make you feel better, and some poses can help get things moving. Deep stretches, deep breaths, all can lead to your body opening up and relaxing. Make sure that you don't do yoga alone, because labor can start quickly if you have not been doing yoga up until now. Child's pose is a favorite among pregnant and laboring women.

Meditate and Calm Down

Sometimes, labor can be stalled or not start because of fear of pain or the birthing process.

Relaxing thoughts, focuses on accepting that you are welcoming a new person into the world can help set these fears aside. Talking to your birth professionals can be a big help, because they can offer suggestions and solutions to make your fears go away. I find that if you don't know something that the unknown grows bigger and bigger, like some monster. Knowing exactly what to expect kills that monster.

Yes, there will be pain with childbirth. Pain management techniques and for some, medications can help to make the birth process a pain free one. Choose what is best for you.

Hot and Spicy Food and Tea

A patient from China was 2 weeks overdue and desperate to welcome their little daughter into the world. Her physician was unwilling to induce as everything was fine. He said that babies will come when they are ready. She was unwilling to take the doctors' advice. She ordered several hot and spicy Asian dishes. That evening, she had dinner. That morning, she checked into the hospital, and by lunchtime, we were all welcoming little Jade into the world. Spicy foods may be an alliance for you and your baby to meet, but only do so if you can tolerate spicy foods.

Hire a Hypnotherapist for Your Labor

I have many clients who have used the services of a hypnotherapist before their labor date to prepare them for when they were in labor.

Several of these clients told me that they felt they were able to help their labor stay once it started by having a calm awareness of what was going on when they were actually beginning their labor.

Hiring a hypnotherapist is a wonderful idea, especially if the one that you choose will let you make a recording of the session for use in the birth room.

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Dixie (author) from Texas on September 25, 2012:

Yes, Duckymom, in RARE cases, I have had moms get diarrhea, of course, at that point, you make sure to increase water intake.

Ducky mom from Honolulu, Hawaii on September 24, 2012:

it's a good idea to warn moms that using oil to help start labor can also leave them dehydrated because it can give them diarrhea. I always try to stay clear of this one because dehydration can result in more problems that you would want to avoid. While we all know to itch to get baby out soon it's best to keep things as gentle as possible. Evening primrose oil inserted in the vagina has also been shown effective at softening up the cervix, and acupuncture can sometimes be effective as well.

Dixie (author) from Texas on August 13, 2012:

Thanks for your input!

Jose Juan Gutierrez from Mexico City on August 12, 2012:

It's interesting! It's useful information for future moms. It must be a difficult time for women to go through the stage of labor, but at the same time, it must be rewarding for them to know that they're bringing a new human being to this world.

Voted useful!

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