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During the months leading up to the birth of a child, expectant mothers prepare themselves for delivery day. Pregnancy experiences differ greatly, but most women’s bodies offer similar signs that the baby will soon arrive. Research shows that the baby sets labor into motion by releasing a deluge of hormones. Recognizing the early signs of labor and preparing for what follows leads to a more positive birth experience for both mother and child.

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1. Getting Things Started: Self-Induced Labor

Before labor can begin, the cervix must be fully open. In the weeks leading up to her due date, a woman watches for signs that the arrival day is near. They may try a variety of techniques to bring on uterine contractions. Around 30% of women try to induce labor through sexual activity, walking, spicy food, acupuncture, nipple stimulation, and castor oil. Research into the effectiveness of these methods is sparse. Before engaging in attempts to trigger labor, an expectant mother should discuss them with her physician.

self induced labor spicy food Enes Evren / Getty Images
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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.