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Are you past your due date and still no sign that labor is going to start soon? Does your doctor want to book you in for a medical induction at 42 weeks and you are desperately trying to avoid that? Or do you simply want to find out all the quickest ways to go into labor overnight so that you can be done with the waiting?
Then you’ve come to the right place! I have gathered all the information on the fastest ways to induce labor for you here, including stories from real moms, and both medical or natural induction methods with their pros and cons.
Because, let’s be honest, the last weeks of pregnancy can be so hard! Your belly is so big that you can hardly sleep anymore, you are constantly exhausted and, I am guessing, you can’t wait to finally meet your little one. Plus, if it’s your first pregnancy, even though you have your birth plan and hospital bag packed and ready, you might be getting pretty anxious about the upcoming birth.
So, let’s take a deep breath and have a look here at how you can safely speed things up.
Why should you Induce?
First thing first, before I take you through the list of ways to go into labor tonight, I think it’s important to understand why you may want to induce labor.
1) You are Past your Due Date
Other than the fact that you may be feeling like a beached whale by now, the most common reason why women are looking for quick and easy ways to induce labor is that they have passed their due date. However, try scrape that off your mind!
A due date, or EDD (estimated day of delivery), is exactly that: an estimate. It is usually calculated as 40 weeks from the first day or your last period, or based on your baby’s size when you have an ultrasound. But it’s nothing other than a guess – it’s not a target!
Only 5% of women deliver on their EDD and most women giving birth for the first time tend to go into labor after 41 weeks. So, if not going into labor by your due date is the reason why you want to induce, try relax and be a bit more patient: you baby and body might just need a few more days to get ready.
2) You want to avoid a Medical Induction at 42 Weeks
Lots of moms, myself included, start to freak out when they approach the 42 weeks of pregnancy. This is usually the cut-off for many doctor and midwifes after which they will book you in for a medical induction.
This is because, after 42 weeks, the placenta may not work as well as it did earlier in pregnancy and can no longer provide enough oxygen and nutrients for your baby, plus there is a greater risk of your baby dying before or shortly after they are born. So, if you want to avoid a medical induction, the ways to bring on labor at home before the 42 weeks mark might help and are worth a try.
3) Medical Reasons
Last but not least, your health provider may recommend inducing labor for medical reasons, such as:
- Your placenta is separating from the uterus or you have an infection in the uterus
- Your water breaks (which is an early sign of labor), but labor doesn’t start within a certain timeframe
- You have health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure, etc.
If this is the case, they will usually recommend a medical induction on a specific date, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try the natural methods listed below first. Just make sure that, before you try anything, you talk to your doctor or midwife first.
In particular, confirm that the method you are attempting below is safe for your condition, and that your pregnancy is at the optimal time to induce.
Natural VS Medical Induction: What is Best?
The term “labor induction” is usually used to refer to a medical induction, which is different from inducing labor naturally.
With a medical induction, your doctor or midwife will stimulate uterine contractions before labor begins on its own in a more invasive way compared to a natural induction. There are various methods in which this can be done: either by giving you medicines (by mouth, vaginally or intravenously), by separating the amniotic sac from the wall of the uterus (stripping or sweeping of the membranes), or by breaking your waters.
A medical labor induction has some risks associated, such as a higher risk of infection, contractions coming too close together (which will lower your baby’s heart rate), a higher risk of serious bleeding after birth, etc. Medically induced labor is also usually more painful than natural labor because uterine contractions are quicker and much stronger. So, if you are planning on having a natural birth without epidural, you might want to give an induction a second thought.
On the other hand, natural ways to induce labor are not invasive at all and, usually, the worst that can happen is that they don’t work and you just keep waiting for the signs that labor is going to start soon.
Most of these don’t really have any scientific evidence to back them up and are not proven ways to induce labor, but there is a reason why they are so talked about! And that’s why I have included storied from real moms here, who have personally experienced the benefits of the natural induction methods below.
Related: 23 Tips for a Birth without Epidural
When is it Safe to Induce?
The last thing I want to touch on before I dive into the ways to go into labor now is when it is actually safe to induce labor.
Unless your own health or the health of your baby is at risk, induction before 39 weeks is usually not recommended. This is because babies born at or after 39 weeks have the best chance at healthy outcomes compared to babies born before then (which are considered to be premature babies).
So, for the moms out there who want to speed things up, please wait until you are 39 weeks pregnant at least! Even better if you wait at least until your EDD, which is at 40 week,s before trying any of the methods below.
And always remember to discuss and confirm these with your healthcare provider to make sure that, whatever you try, is safe for both yourself and your baby.
10 of the Quickest Ways to go into Labor Overnight
Without further ado, here’s a list of the quickest ways to go into labor overnight! I have divided these into medical induction and natural methods, so that they are easier to tell apart.
Just remember none of these are guaranteed ways to induce labor: even a medical induction can fail. However, the amount of success stories with the methods listed below is why I have added them to the list.
I will start with the natural inductions as, if you landed on this page, I am guessing it’s most likely because you want to find out the fastest way to induce labor at home naturally, without medication. If you are also interested in medical induction methods, you will find these towards the end of the article.
1) Having Sex
Having sex is a well known method to induce labor naturally, and it can often work overnight! A 2006 study actually found that the women who were sexually active at term did tend to deliver sooner than those who did not have sex. Plus, the need for labor induction was also reduced.
This is how it works:
- Human semen contains lots of prostaglandins (hormone-like substances) that, when deposited near the cervix, can help ripen (soften) it to prepare for dilation and may even cause the uterus to contract, therefore helping labor begin.
- Additional prostaglandins are released by the woman during sex.
- When a woman has an orgasm, or when her breasts and nipples are stimulated during sex, her body releases oxytocin, which can help cause contractions and speed up labor.
Synthetic prostaglandins and Pitocin (a synthetic form of oxytocin) are actually both used as methods of cervical ripening for medical labor inductions. So, if the synthetic forms of these hormones or hormone-like substances work, why not try them the natural way first?
Just make sure your water hasn’t broken yet (to avoid infections) and your doctor or midwife has given you the green light. And if you are not up for it (having sex at 40 weeks might not be that much fun anymore!), cuddling and kissing your partner (or masturbating!) can also help by increasing your oxytocin levels.
Sex worked for me. My water broke that night at 37 weeks.Kristers, Babycenter
My son was born at 37 + 3 , five hours after …… rough sex. Dtd about 12, woke up at 2 in pain, went hospital at 3 and had him just gone 5 🙂Shellie (6), Netmums
|✅Makes you feel closer to your partner|
✅Can help you relax and have a better night sleep
|❌Might be uncomfortable towards the end of pregnancy|
2) Swallowing Semen
Believe it or not, if you are wondering how to induce labor fast at home, swallowing semen might work even better than having sex. I know this might sound gross to many of you (and you may think it’s a theory invented by men just to get a BJ!), but I had to add it to the list – it’s worked for so many women!
The reasoning behind it is the the prostaglandins in the semen are absorbed much more easily and quickly through the stomach then they are from the cervix. So, if you are up for it and don’t mind it, might be worth a try.
It’s actually true as weird as it sounds. I did [swallowed semen] with my first and within hours I was at the hospital – I had a few friends it worked for also. My sisters is a nurse and she agrees. It’s true because it is absorbed a lot faster.BearHuntingMomma, What to expect
It may have been coincidence, but I finally went into labor 5 days overdue after doing it about 3 times in 2 days (yuck!). And with my 2nd child in 2008, I did it once at 1 day over due. I went into labor within 24 hours.Seamama75, Babycenter
|✅Can work better than just having sex|
✅Your partner will probably enjoy it (?)
|❌Can be very gross if not something you are into|
3) Castor Oil
Castor oil is a vegetable oil derived from the castor bean (Ricinus communis), a plant native to Southern Asia. It has been used for centuries for pharmaceutical purposes, particularly to help relieve constipation.
Castor oil is also often recommended by many doctors and midwives as a natural way to induce labor, as it works by stimulating the bowels, which irritates the uterus and causes contractions. There’s actually been multiple studies that found that castor oil can be very effective in inducing labor within 24 hours.
There’s no set dose for taking castor oil to induce labor and most of the comments I got were from women who only took 2 tablespoons. However, studies of castor oil for labor induction usually involve taking 4 tablespoons at 40-41 weeks of pregnancy. The liquid is then mixed with something else (juice, for example) to mask its bad taste.
The biggest downside about castor oil is that women may experience some of these side effects: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting (which can all cause dehydration) or stomach cramps. So, women who have a sensitive stomach or other gastrointestinal conditions should avoid this induction method.
Also avoid taking it before going to bed, just in case you end up having any of the side effects: you don’t want to spend the whole night having to run to the bathroom! And, if you do end up getting dehydrated, remember to drink lots of water to replenish the liquids you’ve just lost.
I took it with my son at 4pm and woke up in full labor with my water breaking at 2am. I took the recommended dose I believe: two tablespoons and mixed with grapefruit.stephaniedavies, What to expect
I took castor oil with my last baby. I was 38.5 weeks. I took two T. Spoons mixed in ice cream at 6:00pm and had him at 8:19am.3rdpregnancymommy, What to expect
My cousin drank a whole bottle of castor oil with her 3rd child and the same day she went into full blown labor and had her baby within 3 hrsavalentin83, Babycenter
|✅Studies confirmed it can be very effective within 24 hours|
✅Often recommended by doctors and midwives
|❌Unpleasant side effects|
4) Reflexology / Acupressure
Acupressure and reflexology are both techniques which involve applying pressure to specific points on the body for the purpose of addressing health complaints. And, while they are not exactly the same thing, they both provide quick ways to go into labor overnight by targeting similar points.
The one pressure point that’s common to both techniques is the skin / webbing between your index finger and thumb on your hand. It’s referred to as Hoku in reflexology or LI4 in acupressure (LI stands for large intestine) and, in fact, it affects the behavior of the large intestine which, in return, will stimulate uterine contractions.
You need to apply soft pressure on the area with your thumb and massage the point for one minute, take 1 minute break and start again. It will feel tender and you will know the spot when you find it!
Acupressure also has other points that are believed to induce labors and that you could try. You can read more about them here.
I had 3 children and the most effective way I found was the pressure points in the webbing of the index finger and thumb. With each pregnancy, when I hit 38 weeks, I would start the pressure points and within 15 min be having contractions. I swear if you look up reflexology you’ll find it.bookworm32485, Babycenter
|✅Some of these pressure points also help with other things, such as strengthening your immune system or move labor along more quickly once it’s actually started||❌Applying pressure to these points can feel pretty tender|
5) Nipple Stimulation
Now, if you remember from reading about having sex to induce labor, when a woman has an orgasm or her breasts and nipples are stimulated, her body releases oxytocin, which can help cause contractions and speed up labor. While if you make love to your partner your whole body gets stimulated, nipple stimulation on its own also works.
According to Healthline, you should limit the stimulation to 5 minutes only, wait another 15 minutes before trying again and only do one breast at the time to avoid hyperstimulation. In fact, when contractions happen too frequently and last too long in labor, your baby may become distressed and will require medical interventions to be born safely.
Finally, remember to also use this method once labor has started if it looks like contractions are starting to die off a bit – it will really help speed things up!
I did the nipple stimulation method at 11pm the night before I gave birth and I started contractions within half an hour. These continued mildly through the night and I repeated if I felt them dying off. Next morning decided to visit my grandparents and ended up getting on the wrong bus as I was having a contraction when it showed up (don’t ask me why I decided to get a bus whilst in labor!) by the time I realized I’d ended up in a dodgy part of town lost and started freaking out. Because I was stressed my contractions started to die off again so I was stood at a bus stop in Barton hill playing with my nips in broad daylight to get them going again! Had DD at 3am the following morning.Jam41qpk, Netmums
|✅Can help you relax and enjoy the rush of oxytocin|
✅Your partner can be involved as well
✅Can also help speed things up once labor has started
|❌Hyperstimulation can have side effects for the baby|
6) Breast Pump
Using a breast pump is another one of the fastest ways to induce labor overnight and it works by stimulating the nipples, the same ways as the method above.
Medela recommends using your breast pump for about 15 minutes on each breast and to switch between breasts consistently. If you don’t start having contractions within about an hour of using the breast pump, try again the following day.
The main disadvantage of using a breast pump compared to nipple stimulation is that, particularly if it’s you are expecting your first child, it can turn up to be more uncomfortable than anything else. If you’ve never used a breast pump before, it may take you some time to figure out how to use it properly so that it doesn’t hurt: I remember it took me a while!
Not to mention that it can be a substantial investment! So it may not be worthwhile getting one just to induce labor, unless you also plan on using it to feed your baby expressed breastmilk.
I was 38 weeks with #3 and miserable, a friend of mine told me to use a breast pump. 7:30pm I tried both sides for ten minutes, by 11:30 I was ready for bed but started contracting. By 7:45am I was on my way to the hospital. Call it coincidental but I am on baby #4 and will try this again.nessajo00, Babycenter
|✅Can help you relax and enjoy the rush of oxytocin|
✅Can also help speed things up once labor has started
|❌Hyperstimulation can have side effects for the baby|
❌It can be uncomfortable if you’ve never used a breast pump before and don’t know how to use it properly
Finally, another natural method to go into labor faster is having acupuncture treatment. Similarly to acupressure, acupuncture works by targeting specific points of the body, but with fine needles instead of fingers.
The principle of acupuncture is to open the energy channels within a woman’s body. And because most of these channels run through the pelvic floor, the muscles and organs in that area receive improved circulation, which helps labor begin spontaneously.
In Asia, acupuncture has been used for centuries to jump-start labor! I have also personally tried it and I can tell you it really worked.
My acupuncturist said that it would take 3 sessions to work though. But, exactly like she said, the night after the third session I went into labor, and my baby was born before the end of the following day.
One thing to be aware of is making sure you are not already in early labor (check you if you have any of these signs!), otherwise acupuncture can have the same side effect as nipple hyperstimulation and cause contractions that are too frequent and last too long.
My friend was almost 3 weeks late and within a few hours of getting acupuncture she went into labor. If it doesn’t cause labor it’s still very beneficial in helping with relaxation and to stimulate blood flow.daphne.osuna, Babycenter
Acupuncture rocks, I had treatment the day I went into labor and I think it really helped.Anonymous, OhBaby
|✅Acupuncture sessions can be extremely relaxing||❌If done when labor has already started, hyperstimulation can have side effects for the baby|
Let’s now have a look at labor inductions, aka medical inductions, that are performed by healthcare providers. These can’t be done by yourself at home and, like we’ve seen above, they do carry higher risks and chances of complications compared to natural methods. However, if you are wondering how to go into labor now without waiting any longer, they are worth considering.
Also, be confident in knowing that your obstetrician will calculate the likelihood of the procedure being successful and make sure there aren’t any reasons why you should not have it done. This will minimize the risk of complications.
Note: not all induction methods are listed here, but only the ones that work faster according to stories from other moms who have already gone through it. If you want to find out more about other inductions methods, you can discuss these with your doctor or midwife.
8) Membrane Sweep / Stripping
A membrane sweep, also called cervical sweep or membrane stripping, consists in your midwife or obstetrician putting a finger into your cervix and making a circular or sweeping movement to separate the amniotic sac from the cervix to trigger labor to start. In fact, the “sweep” makes your body release prostaglandins, which help soften and open the cervix for delivery.
While it can be quite an uncomfortable procedure and can cause some light bleeding, it is usually very effective and most women go into labor overnight.
The membrane sweep is the least invasive of all the medical inductions, and is often referred to as a natural way of inducing labor instead, because it doesn’t involve the use of any drugs. It is also a very safe procedure with little risk associated to it.
At 39 weeks, my OB suggested sweeping my membranes. I was told that most women go into labor within 24 hours after the procedure. Basically, the doctor inserts their finger during an exam and makes a circular motion around your cervix. Some women report minor pain, but I didn’t have any. Within hours, I started having contractions and it pushed me into labor. With this particular pregnancy, I didn’t tried anything else, so I knew that the membrane sweeping played a key role. My second son was born the next morning and I was so relieved to no longer be pregnant!Kimberly, The Savvy Mama Lifestyle
I had a stretch and sweep followed by a big walk and special cuddles and went into labor the next day.Rachael21, Oh Baby
✅As close to a natural way of inducing labor as possible, without the need for medications
|❌Can be very uncomfortable|
9) Foley Bulb Catheter
Another one of the quickest ways to induce labor overnight is having a foley bulb induction. This method consists in your doctor inserting a catheter into your cervix: once inside your womb, they will inflate the balloon with saline solution, which puts pressure on your cervix and encourages dilation. The catheter then falls out by itself once your cervix reaches a 3cm dilation.
While in most cases this method is used without medication, therefore making it another very safe and almost “natural” induction, it is sometimes used in conjunction with other labor-inducing medications.
Similarly to he membrane sweep, this procedure can also feel quite uncomfortable, particularly at the time when the catheter is inserted into your cervix. After that, if will feel like having a large tampon in!
I had a foley bulb catheter placed as a more natural induction method with my second when I was 41+5 and drank the midwives brew. It worked amazingly! Water broke at 3:45 am and he was born at 8:13 am!Siobhán Alvarez Borland, Mimosas & Motherhood
✅Close to a natural way of inducing labor, without the need for medications
|❌Can be very uncomfortable|
Last but not least, a Pitocin induction means your doctor or midwife will use Pitocin (a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin) to start labor contractions. This is given to you intravenously in your arm, and the dose gets gradually increased until you have contractions every 2-3 minutes. After that, you either stay on that dose throughout labor, or you are taken off it.
While this induction method can work extremely fast and be very effective, it is also true that it has various risks, such as: overstimulation of the uterus, infection, rupture of the uterus, fetal distress, etc. It is also well known for making women experience a very intense and painful labor, because contractions are much more frequent and stronger compared to a natural labor.
Started Pitocin at 12pm, didn’t really feel the contractions until my water broke at 7pm. Labored in the tub until 9:30. From 9:30-11pm was ROUGH but my husband and midwife were AMAZING. Started pushing at 11 and totally made it through with zero pain meds. It was tough but manageable for sure!!!bbear14, What to expect
|✅Very effective, usually works straight away||❌It is a procedure with many risks for both you and your baby|
❌It usually brings on a very intense and painful labor
Quickest Ways to go into Labor Overnight: Final Thoughts
Here it is mom-to-be, my list of the fastest ways to go into labor, whether you want to do it naturally at home, or with the help of medical professionals and/or medications. I am sure that if you are reading this post you probably can’t wait for baby to come out, so I hope this list provided you with some clarity with regards to all the induction methods that are available.
As a final comment, be aware that all these methods only work if your body is already ready to go into labor, whether you are aware of it or not. In fact, your cervix needs to be ripe (at least 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced or thinned out) and facing forwards, or they will likely fail.
Unfortunately there is not much that you can do to actually get your body to gear up for labor: it needs to get there by itself. What you can do though, is get things started sooner rather than later once it is finally ready. That’s also why it’s probably best if you wait until you are at least 40-41 weeks pregnant before you start trying anything.
In the meantime, try and relax as much as you can (you won’t have much time to relax once baby comes!), make sure you have your hospital bag ready and you’ve ticked off everything from your newborn baby checklist, and don’t forget to start getting ready for postpartum as well.
For more tips and information on how to get through labor, also check out these related posts:
- 23 Tips for a Birth without Epidural (Yes, you can do it!)
- How to Achieve a Confident Birth
- Perineal Massage during Pregnancy: increasing your chances of an Easier Labor
- The Most Powerful Birth Affirmations for a Positive Birth Experience
- 70+ Items Newborn Baby Checklist (with FREE Printable)
- 12 Must-Have Clothes for After Delivery in Hospital
For more information on postpartum check out these posts:
- Postpartum Care Kit Checklist (with all Essentials!)
- What to REALLY expect with your Postpartum Recovery
- Best Postpartum Pads (for Bleeding & a Quick Recovery!)
Are you a pregnant mom towards the end of your pregnancy and have any questions about the induction methods listed above? Or have you gone through another fast way of inducing labor that’s not listed here and that you would like to share with other moms? Then please let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you!
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