All The Ways I’ve Failed at Inducing Labor

I hear myself talking to people and all I can think is, shut up shut up SHUT UP! You sound ridiculous! Stop talking! STOP. TALKING. NOW. 

But I can’t.

All I can think – and talk – about is getting this baby out. NOW.

over itI thought I had been desperate last week, but that was until this week. And if Wee Connor decides to be stubborn about this the talks he and I are going to have about this situation are going to get serious.

I’ve been on the doctor-every-week schedule for a few weeks now, which along with continuing to perfect attempt be baffled by how I’ve never gotten better at peeing in a cup the upshot has been a constant reminder of how my body is doing. Last week I was 2cm dilated and slightly “effaced”, which I will never be sure I ever actually understand what that means due to the horrifically bad job my school did at sex ed growing up. But supposedly that combined with the Braxton Hicks (read: false) contractions tell me that I’m ready. My doctor confirmed this as well, especially considering at 36 weeks Connor was measuring at 6 pounds, 7 ounces.

Baby got back. And it’s trying to come through my stomach. Even Sir Mix-A-Lot would not be amused at this point.

As such, I have tried almost everything to try to “naturally”…”encourage” this baby into the world. Now, the thing is that I truly, truly believe that people claiming these things working is because they were ready to go into labor anyway. Getting a pedicure at 40 weeks and 2 days and suddenly you’re in labor? Maybe you were going to go into labor anyway. But either way, at this point, any hope is hope and I am desperate. So here you go. Here are all the ways I have failed at bringing on labor, beyond the options everyone already knows about. (And yes, again, my doctor said everything is ready and I am on my way.)


1. Pedicure

patrick stewart excitedTwist my arm, why don’t you? Best pregnancy bringer-onner…ever? People claim that the foot massage is actually reflexology and the pressure points can induce labor.

It didn’t work in bringing a baby into the world but dang if my piggies don’t look cute. I highly recommend it, but I generally highly recommend pedicures as life enjoyment boosters in general. Honestly this one was a no-lose scenario for me, because even if I didn’t go into labor after (which I didn’t), I had the lovely experience of a pedicure to comfort me.

Enjoyment? A+
Bringing on labor? F


2. Walking

cat walkingI already walk/walked a lot, especially for living in Charlotte. I have continued to walk my husband to work with our perfect little pup Brinkley (1 mile there, 1 mile back), walked to yoga, to restaurants, and anywhere I can. Despite Charlotte being the least walkable city in America, I still have walked all through pregnancy. I don’t know how much it takes to induce labor, but I have a feeling that walking may work for people who have generally not walked during pregnancy.

Maybe I’ll amp it up to wind sprints.

Enjoyment? B+ (it’s getting harder and harder to enjoy walking these days, but I’m always glad after I’ve gone)
Bringing on labor? F


3. Breast pump hookup

ScienceI did this one at the request of my doctor. Supposedly hooking yourself up to a breast pump can release oxytocin, which is what doctors use in synthetic form to induce labor.

“Science”, amIright?

My husband and I took out the breast pump, stared at all the parts, and worked through actually getting it working. Let me assure you: this was nothing short of an ordeal. Also never having been hooked up to a device that resembles the life-sucker Count Rugen uses on Westley in The Princess Bride, my face when it started doing its…sucking…made TLH laugh so hard he steamed his glasses from crying. This was not encouraging.

However, despite the “science” and the “doctor” asking me to do this, it still didn’t work.

Enjoyment? D
Bringing on labor? F, though I might ask my doctor if I didn’t do it long enough.


4. Pineapple

pineappleSupposedly fresh pineapple contains an enzyme that triggers some other hormone that triggers labor.

Delicious? Yes. Useful in triggering labor? No.

(A special shout out to Publix for selling perfectly cut, ripe, cut pineapple at a reasonable price, because it’s saved me a lot of time in hacking up pineapples.)

Enjoyment? A+
Bringing on labor? F (are we sensing a pattern here?)


5. Spicy food

srirachaExtra spicy Thai food? Indian food? Extra sriracha, please?

ALL OF THE ABOVE. Bring it on.

This is one of the ones that everyone seems to know about, and while delicious and enjoyable, it has been decidedly ineffective at bringing on labor.

Luckily though I have avoided any heartburn as a result, so this experiment has brought almost as much joy as my pedicure since I’ve slightly gorged on delicious takeout foods.

Enjoyment? A
Bringing on labor? F


6. The pregnancy “dance”

Funny story: I actually do the BEST impression of this dance, mostly because it's essentially my real dancing style.

Funny story: I actually do the BEST impression of this dance pregnant or not, mostly because it’s essentially my dancing style in real life.

Lawd almighty. I can’t believe I tried this. But some people swear that their doula/midwife/friend/checkout lady at the grocery store gave them the same dance.

What is it? Rubbing your stomach for a minute vigorously, then walking lunges, squatting, and more walking lunges and squatting.

Stick with the pedicures, folks. They’re way more fun.

Enjoyment? D+ (only because I felt like exercise is never really a bad thing, but walking lunges with a horrible new sense of gravity and an extra howevermuch weight I’ve put on is horrible, plus the whole looking absolutely ridiculous doing walk lunges at almost 9 months pregnant thing)
Bringing on labor? F


7. Yoga

cat yogaI’ve done prenatal yoga all through pregnancy and I truly believe it has helped in numerous ways. I really love the atmosphere and the movements have helped with a lot of the hip/lower back pains, and sometimes I think that some of the benefit of yoga is just going for an hour and focusing on your breathing and taking some time away from everything.

However, in bringing on labor? Not so much. I still truly enjoy it, though.

Enjoyment? B (getting into certain moves now is just plain awkward)
Bringing on labor? F


8. “Labor Prep” tea

labor prep teaI’m so ashamed I bought this stuff, but I did.

And I’ve been drinking it.

Seriously people, after a while you don’t even care if it works or not. You will try anything.

Enjoyment? C+ (there approximately a thousand better-tasting teas out there)
Bringing on labor? F


9. “THE Salad” (Not tried, but worth mentioning)

Unfortunately I only heard about this a few days ago, but it has pretty much made my week.

In Los Angeles there is a restaurant called Caioti Pizza Cafe. Overpregnant women flock to this restaurant in Studio City for one menu item and one menu item alone: “THE Salad.” It’s not that the salad is covered in chocolate and Funfetti Cake and everything else you actually want to eat while you’re pregnant. Apparently the salad isn’t even that delicious or special. Why, then, why on earth do overpregnant women go to eat “THE Salad?”

Supposedly this salad dressing has magical powers that induce labor.

The image of it all makes me laugh uncontrollably: a restaurant filled with ready-to-pop, desperate, miserably pregnant women chomping down mediocre salads with the hope that maybe this will be the thing that finally does it.

Supposedly there is a way to order the salad dressing from the restaurant directly, and as such this will now be part of every baby shower gift I attend from here until eternity, as I assure the mom looking at me with inquisitive eyes as everyone else has adorned them with baby blankets and little booties that at a certain point they will be willing to try anything, even if that anything is a bottle of damn salad dressing from Los Angeles.


10. Membrane stripping

This is the one thing on this list I can’t do by myself and was actually done by my doctor. I am about to describe what happens, so if you’re grossed out by anything medspeak, please go straight to the next paragraph. As I understand, when you’re ready to go, your doctor can take the amniotic sac and separate it from the wall of the uterus with her gloved hand. Put bluntly: it’s not fun, causes cramps, and is uncomfortable. The idea is that this separation causes a rush of hormones (much like with the breast pumping) that will then trigger contractions.

If the stripping (also called “sweeping”) works, it will cause labor within 24-48 hours. I had this done today and at the appointment went from 2cm to 3cm dilated, so that’s at least something!

Enjoyment? D- (not an F because of the hope it instills that I will be going into labor within the next two days, but it’s not something I would recommend doing for fun ever)
Bringing on labor? Yet to be determined


The takeaways

I have a few takeaways from all these grand Internet experiments.

1. The Internet continues to be a shockingly frightening place. Not news.

2. Correlation should not be confused with causation. It’s a rampant problem, even in the medical/research field, but it’s important to remember that just because an event correlates with another event, doesn’t mean that one caused the other. Again, if you eat spicy Chicken Tikka Masala at 39.5 weeks pregnant and then go into labor that night, that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t have gone into labor anyway without the Tikka Masala. The two events correlated, but there is no way to know if the delicious Indian food caused the labor. These methods I’ve listed are more for my sanity in trying to get the baby out than I actually believe they will work.

3. The baby will come out when he is darn well ready, and not a day before.

4. I wish he’d be ready now.

5. No, seriously, I really wish he’d be ready now.

Are there any methods I’ve missed? Did you try anything crazy trying to get labor going?

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