Before you’ve even reached your estimated due date (estimated, people, estimated!), people will start telling you how you can induce labour.
Strangers will stop you in the street to tell you about how their cousin ate 15 pineapples just before her waters broke.
Your grandma will ring to tell you how castor oil worked for her (don’t try this, find out why here).
Your friends will text you hourly suggesting you try sex to see if that works.
If you’re still pregnant the morning after your due date, these comments will multiply each day until you are spending each waking minute trying not to punch people who ask if you’ve tried eating a curry.
The one good thing about being pregnant after your due date (I refuse to use the term ‘overdue’ because some pregnancies are naturally longer than others, and there’s nothing overdue about that) is that you can punch pretty much anyone you like.
Nobody will judge you. You’ve got late pregnancy rage, it happens to the best of us.
By the time you reach 40 weeks, you’re probably pretty fed up with being pregnant.
Even the smoothest most enjoyable pregnancy can get a little tedious towards the end. You probably haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in weeks, you might be suffering from aches in your hips and you’re probably getting bored of heartburn by now. Pretty much every pregnant woman has reached that ‘I just want this baby out of me’ stage by 40 weeks.
Add to this the fact that time slows down so that it’s barely moving as soon as you hit your due date and you can be forgiven for going a little crazy during those final weeks of pregnancy.
I recently had my second child. My first was born three days after her due date. If you’d asked me at the time, I’d have told you that those three days were the longest in the world.
Ho-ho, how wrong I was.
The actual longest days in the world were the 17 days I had to wait after my due date for my second born.
Yep, 17 days. A whole 17 days over. I was 42 weeks and three days pregnant by the time my second baby eventually decided to make an appearance.
If you want to know what it feels like to live in slow motion, try going 17 days ‘overdue’. I hated everyone and everything that crossed my path.
Going so far past my due date meant that I spent six whole weeks listening to unwanted advice about how to induce labour. I tried everything. EVERYTHING. Nothing worked.
7 Things That Didn’t Induce My Labour
Here are seven of the things I tried to induce labour:
I was seriously huge. I was carrying a big baby and too much fluid and my bump was massive as a result.
By the end of the pregnancy, most of my maternity tops fit more like crop tops (a great look at 42 weeks pregnant, as I’m sure you can imagine).
Lugging around all that excess weight wasn’t easy, but in my desperation to get the damn baby out I started going for very long walks. Well, waddles, to be precise. I walked so many miles during those final weeks. Miles and miles and miles.
And, guess what? No baby. But I did get aching hips and a swollen fanny so it wasn’t all bad (it was all bad).
#2: Eating Spicy Foods
By the end of the pregnancy, I was pretty much eating two meals exclusively: very very hot curries and burgers with plenty of jalapenos.
Both of these meals were very spicy.
Sometimes I washed them down with pineapple juice, I was desperate.
I ate so many curries, so many. I have now sampled pretty much the entire vegetarian menu at my local Indian restaurant.
My husband perfected a recipe for incredibly spicy bombay potatoes. My mouth was on fire for weeks.
And yet, no baby. No matter how many curries I ate, or how spicy they were, labour did not start.
Have you ever seen those YouTube videos of heavily pregnant mamas dancing around and then, wow, they have their baby later that day?
Well, I have.
I watched a lot of them and I decided that dancing was the way forward. So despite weighing about two million pounds more than normal and not having danced in months, I turned my speaker up loud and danced. A lot.
My four year old daughter and I danced our way around the house. I did down to the floor bounces, this is not easy when you’re fifteen years pregnant. I danced so much that my thighs hurt for two days.
But still, no baby.
#4: The Birthing Ball
Ah, the birthing ball. I sat on it the whole time I was watching a documentary about Ina May Gaskin’s The Farm. I spent hours making a figure of 8 with my hips. I bounced, I rotated, I swayed, I rocked. I did it all.
It was a hot day and I was wearing knickers and a t-shirt, so each time I tried to stand up, the ball stuck to my bare thighs and then made a slight farting noise as it dropped off.
It was humiliating, but I did not give up. But still, no baby.
#5: A Bumpy Car Ride
This wasn’t a deliberate attempt to force the baby out, but sometime around the due date, I visited an animal sanctuary with my family. The sanctuary was located down a country lane and that meant plenty of potholes and bumps in the road.
I tried very hard not to wet myself, I gasped in pain each time the car jerked and I secretly prayed that the traumatic journey might start labour. It didn’t, of course.
Try acupuncture, they said. The baby will be born in no time, they said.
I glared dismally at my bank account and then decided that if it was successful (which it surely would be because apparently it has worked for every other woman in the world), it would be worth every penny.
At the very least, I figured, it would be relaxing and I definitely needed to enjoy some calm. So I had a session of acupuncture and reflexology.
It wasn’t as relaxing as I might have hoped because the acupuncturist was very chatty, so I spent the hour talking about restaurants we both liked. I was still feeling pretty hopeful though, after all, it had worked for everybody else.
Well, guess what? Not for me. Nope. Still no baby.
There aren’t many times in your life when people demand you have a lot of sex, but late pregnancy is one of them.
You know, that time when you have swollen ankles, can’t see your bits and your boobs are crazy sore. So sexy. I couldn’t waddle down the street without someone telling me that I needed to have sex to get the baby out.
Oldest trick in the book, they said.
Yeah, the book of things that didn’t manage to induce my labour.
You know what did work in the end?
Nothing. Actually nothing.
It just happened all by itself, just like nature intended.
And no amount of vindaloo seemed to change that.