Getting Real with Neve Spicer, Founder & Director at

The nine months we spend carrying our babies can sometimes seem to fly by in a haze of appointments, celebrations and preparations. Once a mom passes her due date, though, time may seem to slow down a bit – you’re eager to meet baby, and may be equally eager to avoid the prospect of medical induction, which can lead to labor complications. Though we don’t believe in rushing baby along, moms who are recommended for induction and are hoping to avoid a Pitocin drip may be interested in discussing natural methods of inducing labor with their doctor or health care provider.

Natural labor induction has been a part of recorded medical history for millennia, and the list of rituals, tinctures, herbs, and oils with which doctors, apothecaries and their patents have experimented is mighty long. While many of those fall under the heading of so-called “old wives’ tales”, other remedies have long been considered by traditional wisdom as legitimate ways to naturally trigger active labor.

For moms today who are armed with medical knowledge, natural labor induction methods pose a few important, clear-cut questions. Is it safe? Is it effective? Are there side effects? Does your doctor consider your method to be a safe alternative to hospital induction? While there’s not a proliferation of research available on naturally inducing labor, the studies that do exist let us know that there’s reason to believe some natural labor induction methods can actually trigger active labor. On the flip side, while some have a short and innocuous list of side effects, other methods can cause issues ranging from unpleasant symptoms to serious labor complications and birth defects – in other words, nature is powerful, and induction methods shouldn’t be assumed to be safe solely because they are natural.

As deceptively simple as it sounds to kick back with a bag of tasty dates and wait for your water to break, knowing the facts about the efficacy and safety of natural labor methods from a scientific perspective can help you understand the way they work and whether they’re appropriate for your situation. It’s always essential to discuss your plans with your doctor for a final go-ahead, as their informed knowledge of your pregnancy can help them steer you in the right direction. We The Parents put together a helpful visualization detailing nine of the most common natural labor induction methods to help moms understand what science has to say – read on to learn more.