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6 Ways You Can Induce Labor Naturally

Has your due date come and gone? If so, you’re probably itching to give your body a little nudge to bring on labor and push that sweet little bundle of yours out into this world. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. As an acupuncturist specializing in fertility and pregnancy, I meet a lot of women who want my help to naturally jump start labor. Though there’s no surefire to coax that bun out of the oven (aside from being induced by a doctor, and that even can fail), there are things you can do to try and speed up the process -- as long as your body and baby are ready to cooperate, that is. You just need to make sure that you are past your due date or in the safe zone for induction.

Here are 6 ways to induce labor naturally. As always, consult with your prenatal care provider and make sure you’ve got his or her okay.

1. Acupuncture & acupressure: I always tell my patient that the most important part of the labor induction is a ripe cervix -- meaning, it is soft and beginning to open. Then, and only then, is your body ready to be induced. If it isn’t ready, trying to naturally (or even chemically) induce labor can be challenging and have negative implications. Acupuncture and acupressure, which you can start doing at 37 weeks, can help move things along by assisting in cervical ripening, which means softening and opening the cervix. The best points for cervical ripening are the Spleen 6 (also known as SanYinJiao) and the Large Intestine 4 (also known as HeGu). Both practices have been recommended by midwives for cervical ripening and labor induction, and Debra Betts, a renown midwife whom I’ve had the luxury of studying with, put together this resource. For more information and personalized advice, see an acupuncturist. He or she will be able to guide you.

2. Evening Primrose Oil. Many midwives in the United States commonly prescribe EPO to ripen the cervix in a non pharmacological way (McFarlin, Gibson, O'Rear, & Harman 1999). Though I find it is way too estrogenic and hormonally disruptive, my 12 years of clinical experience do confirm that taking EPO is an effective way to prepare for labor and delivery.

3. Sex & orgasms: Sex can also help induce labor and prepare your body for labor and delivery in many ways. First, having sex throughout your pregnancy is a great way to keep healthy bloodflow to your pelvic area. Orgasms stimulate the uterus into action and trigger the release of oxytocin, which can also jump start labor (that only happens when the cervix is ripened and your body is ready to go, so don’t worry. Sex during pregnancy otherwise do not induce labor!). Finally, semen contains a high concentration of prostaglandins, which help soften the cervix.

4. Nipple stimulation: In addition to the female orgasm, nipple stimulation causes the release of oxytocin -- the labor hormone -- and can thus get labor started.

5. Dates: According to a recent study, “the consumption of date fruit in the last 4 weeks before labour significantly reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labour, and produced a more favourable, but non-significant, delivery outcome.” So, try eating 6 dates a day starting at week 36 of your pregnancy, and see how that helps.

6. Raspberry Leaf Tea: This tea is a known uterine tonic that can cause contractions. For that reason, I never recommend drinking it in pregnancy outside of the last 3 weeks. However, having a cup of red raspberry leaf tea on a daily basis from week 37 or 38 on can help move along your labor. One study also showed that women who drink raspberry leaf tea towards their due date have shorter second phases of labor compared to those who didn’t drink the tea.

Keep in mind that everyone is different, and every pregnancy is different. In other words, all of these modalities could work, but all of them could also fail. At the end of the day, baby will come when he or she is ready. We can do things to try and speed up the process, but forcefully inducing labor is something I don’t recommend.

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Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.

Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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