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Well, truthfully, there is no real, definitive answer to this question. If left undisturbed, your baby will come when your baby is ready. And all babies will arrive on their birthday-they just don’t tell us when that is! However, I appreciate that this is not a helpful answer if you’re in the midst of your final few weeks of pregnancy as there’s quite a large possibly that you’re feeling somewhat fed up.

Everything is an effort. Sleep is much needed but not always possible and as you struggle to get comfortable and you might feel pretty miserable.

It’s at this point you find yourself googling ways to bring on labour and start considering weird things like drinking castor oil-which by the way I definitely woudn’t recommend.

But there are things you can do which may help.

There is lots of evidence which suggests that eating 6 dates every day from 36 weeks will help not only to bring on labour but lead to a shorter first stage of labour as well. Randomised controlled trials have linked date consumption to increased cervical ripening, reduced need for medical induction and one study found a less significant postpartum blood loss. Personally I think this all sounds very positive-plus I absolutely love dates- so it could well be worth gobbling a few down daily as a snack, blend them into a smoothie or chop some into your porridge!

Light exercise will always be good for you so take yourself for a nice little stroll and go and soak up some of natures bounty! You can also have a bounce on your birth ball or use it to have a stretch and relieve some of the pressure in your pelvis, hips and back. Remember, staying fit throughout pregnancy can improve your sleep and your mood and it can also make a huge difference in how your body copes during delivery of your baby and recovery afterwards.

You might decide to head to the curry house. The theory is that spicy foods-just like castor oil stimulate the bowel which then irritates the uterus and causes contractions. However, as I said before, I would encourage you to give castor oil a very wide berth as it’s consumption can have side effects like nausea, vomiting and uncontrollable diorrehea. And it’s also rank! You really don’t want to be drinking it.

A curry on the other hand is delicious and sharing a nice meal with your partner or friends and family is likely to raise your oxytocin levels which can only be a good thing. I’m also very partial to a pappadum.

Sex can be great as it will promote the release of oxytocin…that is of course if you’re up for it…but it might actually be the last thing you feel like. It’s worth noting that sperm contains a high concentrate of prostaglandins which help your cervix to soften. Nipple stimulation may also be worth a try to increase your oxytocin. If however, you’re feeling like a beached whale and the thought of a hump is making you wince then I’d say don’t bother. Sex is supposed to be pleasurable- and you’re unlikely to be releasing any oxytocin if you’re not enjoying it. Cuddling is a great alternative if you’re not up for red hot ram rod! Chest hugs of at least 20 seconds have been proven to release oxytocin and will also make you feel calm and relaxed.

Accupuncture or acupressure to induce labour may be something you want to look into. The belief is that stimulating certain points of the body can release oxytocin and help induce labour. While the effectiveness of this method is still up for debate, a foot massage when you are heavily pregnant can feel totally heavenly so whether you go to a professional or just get your birth partner to lovingly rub your feet-I think this one is a real goer!

You’ll notice that there is an ongoing theme with these methods…the magic hormone Oxytocin. Basically anything that makes you feel good and release that hormone the better your chance of going into labour. Spend time with people who fill up your proverbial cup. People who make you grin from ear to ear! Watch films that make you happy and programmes that make you laugh- book some nice little treats for yourself so that you’ve got lots of things to look forward to in those final weeks of pregnancy. You are worth it! Soon your new person will be here and life will never be the same again! Particularly if this is your first baby. Try to take some time for you. And enjoy it. This is the calm before the storm!

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