Can You Really Kick Start Labor at Home?

By Lindsey Johnson
Pregnant woman in white dress holding stomach and standing outside

The final weeks of pregnancy can feel like an endless game of waiting. Expectant mothers may be physically uncomfortable and anxious to meet their baby. As the due date approaches, parents wonder if there is anything they can do to speed up the process and kick start labor at home. Here are some common solutions and the verdict on each.

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Some women have sought out acupuncture, the insertion of tiny needles into pressure points, or acupressure, the application of pressure to these specific points, as a way to induce labor. This theory assumes that applying pressure to certain parts of the body causes the uterus to contract, thus spurring labor. A randomized trial by Andersen et al. (2013) did not show that acupuncture helped reduce the need for induction in women at 41 weeks gestation. A systematic review by Smith et al. (2013) and a study by Schlaeger et al. (2017) showed that acupuncture did show some additional cervical ripening when compared to a control group. Schlaeger et al. (2017) did not find any cervical ripening by the use of acupressure. All studies cautioned that there is not enough data yet to understand implications for clinical practice.


It is unlikely that acupuncture or acupressure on its own will induce labor. There are stress and pain relief benefits from these complementary therapies but seek permission from your provider before you go this route.

Nipple Stimulation

In studies by Demirel and Guler (2015) as well as Kavanagh et al. (2005), researchers found that nipple stimulation is effective in helping induce labor. Stimulating the breast also releases oxytocin which spurs uterine contractions and signals your breasts to prepare for lactation. Nipple stimulation has also been associated with a lower incidence of postpartum hemorrhage.


With your provider’s permission and recommended timing, you may stimulate your nipples to prepare for childbirth. Some women also choose to use a breast pump. This may help kick start labor a home.


This tropical fruit contains an enzyme called bromelain which is sometimes used to move the bowels. According to the Cleveland Clinic, since the intestines are situated next to the uterus, contracting bowels may irritate the uterus and cause it to start contracting also.


There is not enough research to determine the effectiveness of eating pineapple as a way to jump start labor. However, eating this juicy fruit can help you stay hydrated and give you a nice boost of vitamin C, manganese and fiber.


While studies have not found definitive evidence that walking helps get labor started, the experts at What to Expect state that the act of walking uses gravity and the swaying of your hips to help move the baby into position for delivery. The pressure in your pelvis may help prime the cervix for labor. Certified Nurse Midwife Jessica Costa, MSN, APRN, CNM from the Cleveland Clinic recommends that her patients walk 30 minutes daily to help build endurance and prepare the body for labor. If you have already experienced contractions and are in active labor, walking may help speed the process.


If your provider has given you the green light, there is no harm in walking. It can help get your body ready for the demands of labor and provide exercise and stress relief until then.


There are many reasons that sex may help spark labor. According to Healthline, having an orgasm releases oxytocin, which can trigger uterine contractions. Semen also contains prostaglandin hormones, which help ripen the cervix and prepare for childbirth.


f your provider says sex is a safe option for you, it is worth a try. It also provides an opportunity to connect with your partner before the baby comes.

There are many methods that expectant mothers have tried to spur labor. While empirical evidence does not necessarily provide an easy button, some of these methods may be worth trying since they have other benefits as well. Check with

your provider before attempting any possible labor induction method to ensure it is safe for you and your baby. Take a deep breath and try to enjoy the final weeks of pregnancy. Baby will arrive soon one way or another!

Always check with your doctor before trying to start labor at home.

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