No one knows for sure what brings on labor, so there is no way for a pregnant woman to break her water on purpose. In fact, What to Expect When You’re Expecting reports that fewer than 15 percent of pregnant women actually experience their water breaking before labor begins. There are, however, several theories as to how a woman can induce labor or speed up labor naturally.
Although childbirth experts say there is no proven ways to induce labor naturally without medical assistance, theories persist about how a woman can induce on her own, WebMD states. Medical professionals warn that such at-home techniques—like eating spicy foods or taking castor oil—are rumors that don’t work or may even be harmful to mother or baby.
According to WebMD, one of the theories that does show some promise within the medical community is inducing labor with acupuncture. In Asia, this technique has been used for centuries to help induce labor. One University of North Carolina study found that acupuncture helped some women go into labor without medical assistance. However, this small study included only 56 women and is not proof enough that acupuncture can induce labor.
WebMD says that another suggestion that has gained some support from doctors and midwives is using sex to induce labor. Ejaculate contains prostaglandins, the same hormone-like substances used in medications for inducing labor, which means that—in theory—ejaculate could stimulate the cervix and lead to the onset of labor, whether or not the woman's water breaks.