The third trimester of pregnancy culminates in labor, which marks the beginning of the process of childbirth. The onset of labor is signaled by regular uterine contractions. These contractions are accompanied by changes in the cervix that enable the easy passage of the baby out of the womb.
In certain cases, when labor does not start as expected, the obstetrician may decide to induce labor artificially. Although usually safe, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) does not recommend induction of labor before 39 weeks of gestation, except in case of a medical emergency. If, after 42 weeks, labor still has not started, the obstetrician will induce labor to avoid the risk of the placenta deteriorating.
Here are some commonly accepted aids to induce labor; it may be added, however, that none of these are medically accepted as being effective:
Often however, the reason many women have delayed labor is due to their own anxiety. Helping your spouse relax may often be enough to start the process of labor.