Q:

What are some safe things you can do to help induce labor at home?

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Quick Answer

While there are many suggestions for inducing labor naturally, including eating spicy food and drinking castor oil, most experts agree that the only safe method of labor induction is with medications in a hospital setting, according to WebMD. Many natural labor-inducing suggestions are simply rumors, while others are potentially harmful.

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Full Answer

Common ways expectant mothers attempt to induce labor naturally include sex, nipple stimulation, a bumpy car ride, drinking red raspberry leaf tea and gentle exercise such as walking, according to Healthline. However, these methods are not backed by scientific evidence or proven to work. Typically, it is best to allow labor to begin naturally and speak with a doctor before attempting to induce labor. A full-term pregnancy is 39 weeks.

Babies born before the due date can have problems breathing, issues keeping warm, newborn jaundice, trouble feeding and a longer hospital stay, explains New York State Department of Health. Often, preterm babies are readmitted to the hospital with medical complications and also have a less developed brain when they are born, as a baby's brain at 35 weeks is only two-thirds the weight it is at 40 weeks. In some cases, long-term health effects such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder may result from premature birth. Expectant mothers should ever ask to deliver or induce labor before the due date for a nonmedical reason.

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