The definitive guide to getting labour started (caveat: none of it will work but you will try it anyway. Yes, even that).
Both my babies were overdue. My first made me wait 10 days, my second only 7 (I say only… it felt like for-blooming-ever at the time). I’m not a particularly patient person, & definitely not when I’m heavily pregnant, hot, tired, and miserable. In a bid to encourage my darling ones to arrive a little sooner I scoured the internet for every old wives tale going. And tried most of them. Here’s my guide to getting labour started (clue: when everyone says the baby will come when it’s ready, they’re right. Infuriating, but there’s nothing you can do that will encourage those little critters out. I know. I’ve tried).
My first was born during a heat wave. It was too hot to walk during the day. So every night at about 10pm I’d make my husband pound the streets of Islington with me. The incessant walking stopped when I made him go to Westfield, because it was air conditioned, so I could walk during the day. About 2 hours in to our trip, he turned around and completely lost it at the sight of my ankles. To be fair, they had swollen up to about 400 times their original size and wouldn’t have looked out of place on a baby elephant, but I wasn’t quite ready to laugh at the complete indignity of being overdue during a heatwave. No baby, and very nearly a murdered husband. 2/10, would not recommend.
2. Spicy food.
I am a lucky cow and didn’t suffer heartburn with either of my pregnancies (I know, don’t hate me…). So I happily tried this one. But there’s only so many curries, spicy Nando’s (yep, I have the gastronomic tastes of a 14 year old boy), and Mexican food you can eat.
Upshot: Didn’t make my babies come out. Did make going to the toilet a bit more interesting. 5/10, extra points awarded because Nando’s, not the labour-inducing qualities.
3. Bouncing on a ball
Because when you look like you’ve swallowed a watermelon, what you really want to do is bounce around like a bloody weeble. Is tiring. Didn’t start labour. 3/10 because I read somewhere that it’s good for posture or something.
4. Raspberry leaf tea
I bought the tea. I tried the tea. It was foul. Being heavily pregnant is miserable enough, thanks. So I spent a small fortune on pills instead. Didn’t do anything either. Babies still arrived late. 1/10, would not recommend except that it does mean that when well-meaning people ask you can say, ‘yes, I’ve tried that thanks’. Before punching them.
5. The thing that got you into all this trouble in the first place
I know, I know, some women feel glorious and beautiful and sexy when pregnant. I did not. I felt uncomfortable, swollen, and about as far from sexy as it’s possible to feel. But as my due date came and went I was willing to try anything. Even that. Let’s start by saying, logistically it’s quite tricky when you’re that pregnant. Also, I’m not sure shouting at your husband, ‘just hurry up and let’s get this over & done with, I want this baby out’ is the most romantic of experiences for either of you.
Astonishingly, neither of us were scarred for life enough by this experience to prevent us from going on to have a second child. But seriously, 0/10. Save yourself the hassle (and your relationship the trauma) and watch a nice Chris Hemsworth film instead. You’ll thank me in the long run.