Your due date can’t seem to get here soon enough. While 36 weeks is just one-week under term, there may be reasons you need to go into labor or help speed up the start of natural labor. Keep in mind that your baby continues to develop all the way up to the 39th week of pregnancy. If you decide to do a natural labor stimulant, always check with your doctor first. This article contains some methods that have been helpful to triggering natural labor contractions, plus tips and cautions to help with this process. 

How to Induce Labor At 36 Weeks

In order for labor to begin, the cervix must be ripe. The cervix is the bottom neck of the uterus that opens up in stages to allow the baby to pass through. The mild contractions you feel once in a while, plus the baby’s head pointing down helps to ripen and soften the cervix. Here are some other ways you can ripen the cervix and trigger contractions that can help get labor started:

  1. 1. Intercourse

Intercourse with your partner helps to soften the cervix and may even trigger labor in the later weeks of pregnancy. This is because your partner’s sperm has enzymes known as prostaglandins that can ripen the cervix.

  1. 2. Stimulate Your Nipples

It is the chemical, oxytocin, that helps start contractions in your body. Stimulating the nipples with rubbing or light pinching can help trigger the release of oxytocin by your body. Oxytocin is actually the drug used in hospitals to induce labor.

To do this, stimulate your nipples from one to three hours a day. If contractions come on too strong, reduce the amount of stimulation to one-half an hour daily.

  1. 3. Evening Primrose

From 35 weeks of pregnancy on you can try taking some evening primrose oil. Linolenic acid in evening primrose oil is a natural prostaglandin that can help ripen the cervix and shorten labor once it begins.

To use, begin taking 500mg evening primrose oil in your 36th week of pregnancy. If labor has not started by the 38th week, you can insert a little evening primrose into your vagina.

  1. 4. Red Raspberry Tea

Red raspberry contains chemicals that help strengthen the uterine wall. This can help make your uterus contract harder and stronger to shorten labor. It is recommended that raspberry leaf tea be started sometime after the 34th week of pregnancy.

To use, make red raspberry tea with 1 tbsp. Raspberry leaf in one-cup of boiling water. Allow to steep for 5 to 10 minutes, strain and drink with honey. You can also take raspberry leaf capsules. 

  1. 5. Take a Walk Daily

One of the best tips on how to induce labor at 36 weeks is walking. Walking uses gravity to help bring your baby into position to start labor. This places the baby’s head just over the cervix and can trigger the natural labor chemicals to be released.

To do this, set a time each day for a walk. In the morning after breakfast, mid-day, or after dinner. Make sure you wear good sturdy shoes and keep a pace that still allows you to talk while you breathe. Walk 15 to 30 minutes as tolerated.

  1. 6. Acupressure

Many women have successfully used acupressure to go into labor from 36 weeks on. Certain massage therapists are trained in pregnancy massage and the pressure points that can induce labor. Placing pressure down by the ankles and between the fingers can cause your uterus to contract.

  1. 7. Birthing Balls

Sitting on a birthing ball can also help move the baby down into position for birth. Doing pregnancy exercises and bouncing gently may help trigger labor contractions in the last weeks of pregnancy.

  1.  8. Goldenseal

There are two chemicals in Golden Seal that can help induce labor. Berberine and hydrastatine can cause the uterine muscles to start contracting. This is a very powerful herb for labor induction so make sure you consult a qualified herbal practitioner if you choose to use Goldenseal. 

  1.  9. Licorice Root

Licorice root helps stimulate the muscles in the bowels to promote bowel movements. This can trigger muscle contractions in the uterus. You need to use real licorice root brewed into a tea. Do not use this herb if you have high blood pressure.

To use, take 2 tsp. Licorice root and steep in one-cup boiling water. Strain and drink. Licorice is already slightly sweet so you may not need to sweeten. You can add honey if you like.

  1.  10. Pineapple

The enzyme, Bromelain, in pineapple helps to ripen the cervix and start labor. It can also lead to muscle contractions in the abdominal area that may help trigger uterine contractions and get labor going.

To use, you will need to eat at least 1-2 pineapples daily to get enough bromelain to start labor. The good news is, it is good for you and contains many needed vitamins and minerals that can replenish your body.

  1.  11. Sweeping The Membranes

Lastly, you can ask your doctor to “sweep your membranes.” If you ask your doctor how to induce labor at 36 weeks, this may be exactly the answer they give you. It also will not work to start labor if your baby isn’t ready.

To do this, your doctor will insert a gloved finger into your cervix and “sweep” the membranes away from the cervical opening. This releases labor inducing chemicals that may start contractions within a few days time. Walking after the procedure makes it work even better.           


Tips and Cautions

If you want to induce labor at 36 weeks, you should also be aware of the cautions with this procedure. There are also a few helpful tips to make induction work better. These include:

  • Keep in mind that some herbal preparations can cause very unnaturally strong uterine contractions. Stay within recommended dosing guidelines for herbs and consult an herbal practitioner if you can.
  • If your baby is not ready to be born, induction may not work at 36 weeks. If you try a remedy and it doesn’t work, wait a few more days to one more week and try again.
  • Research anything you try. Talk to people who have used certain methods and see how it worked for them. Talk to a midwife or herbal practitioner about things you plan to use.
  • If anything causes you pain or discomfort, stop using it and call your doctor. If you notice fewer movements in your baby, call your doctor. Some natural induction methods can cause fetal distress.

How to induce labor at 36 weeks? Now you know all.