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The Overdue Blues

GIVING NATURE A NUDGE

There are several methods thought -- or at least rumored -- to kick-start a tardy labor. Your caregiver may recommend exercise (walking is known to encourage labor), nipple stimulation (which can spur contractions), and sex (semen contains prostaglandins, hormones that help prepare the cervix for delivery).

In addition, some practitioners advise taking castor oil or using an enema to irritate the bowel, since this may lead to uterine contractions. Certain herbs are also thought to promote labor by ripening the cervix or by bringing on contractions. They include raspberry leaves (ingested in the form of a tea), extracts from the black or blue cohosh plants (taken orally or in an enema), and evening primrose oil (consumed in capsule form or applied to the cervix). Of course, be sure to check with your obstetrician before giving any of these folk remedies a spin.

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