By Jen Garcin
First of all, a big heaping of congratulations and empathy are in order! Your baby is full-term, and will soon be making their grand entrance into the world. This is an exciting time, but for many of us it’s also a challenging time. There is so much excitement, and nerves are high—mixed with lots of third trimester discomfort. These last few weeks are tough. You’ve become a watermelon smuggler after all!
Are you ready to evict your beautiful baby? If you have the okay from your doctor to try some natural methods, we’re here to help.
The only scientifically proven way to jumpstart labor is by increasing your body’s love hormone. Yep, you read that right. Our bodies naturally produce oxytocin—the love hormone—during social bonding, sex, intamacy, reproduction, childbirth, and post-partum. It’s referred to as the love hormone because it makes you feel good! In fact, it’s so effective that it’s artificial counterpart, Pitocin, is used to medically induce labor by initiating contractions.
When you’re ready to try and get things going, the ideas below are great ways to get some oxytocin flowing. Make sure to consult your doctor before trying any of these recommendations, particularly if you’re having a high-risk pregnancy or have experienced any complications.
1. Get Moving
You’ve probably heard many moms say, “I went for a long walk, and that night I went into labor!” That’s because walking, dancing, yoga, or any other physical activity that you enjoy can help kickstart the labor process. Moving in ways that feel good not only boosts oxytocin, but also has so many benefits for you and baby. Your little one loves it when you bust-a-move.
2. Enjoy a Warm Bath
Rest and relaxation produce oxytocin, and warm water is proven to both encourage labor and act as a natural painkiller. Make sure your bath isn’t too hot (your baby can’t yet regulate their temperature and you don’t want them to overheat). Find that perfect warm temperature, dim the lights, sink in, and enjoy.
If you’re like me and don’t have a bathtub, there are inflatable ones available to buy. Here I am in my kitchen enjoying a third-trimester soak. Hilarious and a life saver! I labored for 36 hours in this thing before it was time to go to the hospital. We used the faucet from the kitchen sink to fill it up.
Look how relaxed I am at nine months pregnant getting my oxytocin on!
When it comes to oxytocin, laughter truly is the best medicine. Throw on your favorite hilarious movie, go out for a girls’ night with mocktails, or check out your favorite comedian’s latest stand-up special. Anything that makes you belly laugh is fair game, and will pump you full of the love hormone.
4. Get Intimate
Need I say more? There’s no guarantee that you’ll be in the mood for sex in the late stages of pregnancy, but if the mood strikes, romance, touch, sex, and orgasms are powerful oxytocin producers. Any intimacy with your partner as you both prepare for the journey ahead will produce oxytocin. And if you’re not feeling it, don’t worry—there are plenty of other forms of physical contact that work. Massages, hugs, foot rubs, make-out sessions, and snuggles can all do the trick!
If you don’t have a partner or want a different kind of boost, a professional massage is an excellent way to kickstart labor. It’s worth finding a massage therapist who has expertise in prenatal massage; they will have a special table or pillows and know the safest methods.
If you have pets or other children, snuggles and quality time with them can also boost the love hormone.
5. Eat Your Favorite Foods
This one can be particularly fun if you’ve held out on any major cravings during your pregnancy. Now is the time to eat things you love, whether that’s a spicy taco or a bite of decadent chocolate cake, if something makes you close your eyes and sigh “mmm”, the oxytocin will be flowing!
6. Set the Mood
When I say set “the” mood, I mean set your mood. This one is all about whatever makes you feel happy, calm, and safe. The night I went into labor, I was sleeping in my soon-to-be daughter’s nursery that I decorated with a sense of serenity. My water broke (and woke me up) from a dream about someone who made me feel safe, secure, and loved during my childhood.
Put on your favorite artist or playlist, light some candles, and treat yourself in whatever ways you’ll enjoy most. Being in a good mindset (and being somewhere you’re physically comfortable and familiar) can really help set you up for a successful labor and some amazing bonding with your little love. Feeling good is the key! Anything that makes you feel good, calm, soothed, happy, safe, secure, or loved is perfect.
Whether you’re a first-time mama or a 5-time delivery expert, getting some oxytocin flowing is a great way to get things going. It offers the perfect opportunity for you to focus on you—doing things you love, and spending time focusing on what makes you feel good before your baby becomes the center of your world. Naturally increasing your oxytocin is amazing for labor, delivery, and bonding with your little one once they’re safely in your arms.
Jen Garcin is a proud mom of a human baby and two kittens. She had an exciting and fulfilling career in criminal justice reform before transitioning to her favorite job ever, being a mom to her daughter & boss, Eloise. Jen is passionate about all issues related to motherhood, social justice, and works as a freelance writer and marketing consulting. She is also a certified yoga instructor, is super active in her local community, and hosts a monthly cookbook club.