3rd trimester


As I write this, I’m 40 weeks and 3 days, and even though I’ve had a pretty easy pregnancy, I can’t wait to meet our baby boy and relieve the aches and pains that have crept up this week. This post is a compilation of possible natural ways to induce labor that I’ve heard from midwives, my doula, friends, and Google. Keep in mind that these can encourage your body to go into labor, but probably won’t work if your baby and body aren’t ready. Most have mixed results from studies testing their effectiveness, but hey, worth a try, right?

Please get approval from your provider before trying any of these methods.

Foods to help induce labor

Spicy food: Spicy foods can irritate your digestive system and cause your uterus to contract, possibly starting contractions.

Pineapple: One site said to eat a whole pineapple, but that’s excessive, so I’ve just been eating a few pieces daily and put some in a fruit smoothie when I make one.

Dates: If you’ve never had dried dates before, they’re super sweet and sticky. Eating 4-6 per day can help soften your cervix.

Red raspberry leaf tea: Raspberry leaf tea is good for the uterus at any point in life, but can be especially beneficial during late pregnancy and postpartum because it helps strengthen and tone the uterus. My doula recommended 1-3 cups per day. I heard it’s a slight diuretic though so I make sure I drink water at the same time.

Hydration: Water won’t actually help start labor, but it’s super important to be hydrated as you approach/pass your due date for multiple reasons. First, being hydrated helps maintain healthy amniotic fluid levels; a decrease in amniotic fluid could lead to needing to be medically induced. Second, you want to go into labor hydrated so your body can perform at it’s best, and so you don’t need to be hydrated via IV. Third, being dehydrated can make braxton hicks (practice contractions) feel like real contractions; hydrating will help reduce the chances of thinking you’re in labor when it’s really false labor.

Exercises to start labor

Walking: My doula recommended walking twice a day for 30 minutes. This allows gravity to help bring your baby down.

Curb walking: While walking (or simply using a step inside), walk with one foot on the curb and one in the street. This asymmetrical move helps the baby drop into your pelvis. My doula recommended 30 each side, twice a day. I’ve heard you can also simply walk up the stairs sideways- just make sure you use a handrail for balance!

The Miles Circuit: The Miles Circuit is a 90 minute routine that helps the baby get into the birthing position. I wouldn’t call it exercises, since several involve just laying down in certain positions. You can find the moves in this YouTube video.

Yoga/birthing ball exercises: My doula recommended spending 30 minutes on a yoga ball, twice a day. During that time, make small circles in both directions with your hips, big circles in both directions with your hips, trace a figure 8 with your hips, and bounce on the ball. This helps open your pelvis and encourages your baby to drop lower.

Cat-cow: On all fours, arch your back up and down while looking down as you arch, and up as you drop your spine down. Aim to do this 30 times, twice a day.

Professionals that can induce labor:

Chiropractors that know “Webster’s technique”: Webster’s technique aligns the pelvis and can help rotate a breech baby, but our doula also recommended it as a way to initiate labor.

Acupuncture: I don’t like needles so I haven’t considered this option, but that hasn’t kept people from mentioning it as an option.

Acupressure: For this one, you actually don’t necessarily need a professional. Our doula showed my husband a pressure point between my thumb and pointer finger, and another on the back of my calf that he’s been able to massage each night for me. These pressure points can increase blood flow to the uterus and potentially cause contractions. You can learn more about acupressure from WebMD here.

Additional ways to start labor

Sex: From what I’ve read, having sex seems like it might be the most effective way to start labor naturally because semen contains a chemical that softens the cervix. If you feel up to it, give it a try!

Pumping/hand expression/nipple stimulation: Starting to pump/hand express and nipple stimulation can all trigger uterine contractions which can start labor naturally.

Relax: I know it’s hard to relax when your life is about to completely change, but you don’t want to be stressed while waiting to go into labor. If so, your body will likely be in a fight/flight mode and won’t think it’s safe to give birth. To relax, try massage (either from a professional or your husband), meditation (there are lots of free apps and YouTube videos), watch a funny movie, etc.

I know it feels like your baby might not ever come, but I promise he/she will- possibly sooner than you think! In the meantime, use this time to get some last minute chores and preparations done.

I hope these natural ways to induce labor are helpful; give some a try and let me know which worked for you in the comments!

Natural Ways to Induce Labor

I know Amazon can be pretty hit or miss. I spent a lot of time researching, trying on, and returning Amazon pregnancy items. So, I wanted to compile a list of the pregnancy-safe and affordable maternity must haves I’ve been using during my pregnancy so far! 

This post contains affiliate links to my favorite items, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you. Learn more here.

First Trimester Must Haves

These are some early pregnancy must haves I couldn’t have survived without!

Nature Made Prenatals, $20: I’m not a doctor so you should consult your doctor and take whatever they recommend for you. In my case, my doctor recommended these to me. I started taking them months before we even started trying to get pregnant. I don’t like fish so I like that they have omega 3 and DHA in them without any fishy taste. The pills are pretty big but I got used to them.

Amazon Prime, $139/year: Even just the thought of going to a store (or multiple stores) looking for an item I needed during the first trimester was exhausting. Instead, I started ordering everything on Amazon and it has saved me so much time and energy. You can try Amazon Prime for free for 30 days when you use this link.

HelloFresh, varies: When pregnancy exhaustion wipes you out, it can be hard to cook. Annoyingly, it happens right when you want to start eating your best, but you have no energy (and often no appetite). HelloFresh was super helpful for several reasons. First, it was delivered straight to my door so I didn’t need to grocery shop. Between low energy and peeing all the time, grocery shopping was one of the last things I wanted to do. Second, I could cook up a nice meal for my husband that I also could nibble on. It was healthier than takeout, which would have been what we lived off of if not for HelloFresh!

Save $150 on your first box with this link.

What to Eat When You’re Pregnant, $17: Speaking of food, this is a really nice book that focuses on what we can eat while pregnant (rather than what we can’t). It has weekly suggestions and recipes for optimum growth and health for both the baby and us. During the first trimester, I couldn’t follow it too closely because of my nausea. However, it did provide healthy snack ideas that I tried. I’ve been using it more in the second trimester.

As a picky eater, I don’t like all of the recipes (does anyone like all the recipes in any recipe book?). But, I love that it mentions a food item per week so that I can make any recipe I want using that item if I don’t like their recipes for the week. It also includes a meal plan per trimester, and a little bit about what’s happening with the baby each week.

Hint Fruit Infused Water, varies: I’m sure you’ve heard it’s super important to stay hydrated during pregnancy, but during the first trimester I got so tired of plain water. For a while I added lemon juice to it, but even that started to get boring after a while. Hint water has the perfect amount of fruit flavor to jazz up my water without being overpowering. Plus no sugar, sweeteners or calories! I also liked that it isn’t sparkling (but if that’s your thing, they have Hint Sparkling). I’ve never been a fan of carbonated beverages, but especially during pregnancy I didn’t need extra air/bloat in my stomach.

They have a promo right now where you can try it for $1 per bottle + free shipping on your first order. You can also save $10 on your first order when you use this link.

Outfandia Pee Bottle, $17: I peed a LOT in the first trimester. So much so that I almost felt it interfered with my life because I always had to be near a bathroom. I never actually had to use this pee bottle. BUT it was so nice knowing I had it if I needed it! Simply knowing I had it for emergencies often helped me hold my bladder longer because I knew I wouldn’t pee my pants even if we couldn’t find a bathroom.

KF94 Face Masks, $20: Since COVID’s still a thing and can negatively impact babies in utero, I decided to get some intense face masks. These are comfortable, and fit both me and my husband. We like that they have ear loops rather than strap on by going around our whole head.

Fitbit Charge 5, $119: Even though most professionals don’t use a specific max heart rate during pregnancy anymore, I’ve loved using my Fitbit to keep track of how often I’m working out (even if that’s “just” vacuuming the house), and how far my walks are (or runs, if you’re that fancy). I used to lift weights a lot pre-pregnancy. Lately, I’ve been enjoying walking more than lifting, and it’s really nice to know how far I’ve walked so I can celebrate hitting mile markers. It’s the little things in life!

You could get a different smartwatch like an Apple Watch. I was considering the Apple Watch SE ($230) but I chose the Fitbit mainly because I can go several days without charging it. I’ve heard you need to charge an Apple Watch daily. Even charging my previous Fitbit once a week was annoying to me. Plus, the price difference is pretty significant. The only main perk Apple has over Fitbit is the ability to answer phone calls, which I have a phone for haha. Ultimately though, it’s up to you and your needs/wants!

RinoGear Screen Protectors, $10: Not really pregnancy specific, but I bought these to protect my Fitbit screen from scratches (you’d be surprised how often your wrist bumps into things). I had bought this brand before and loved that they have a guarantee for the life of your device. This means for as long as you have the same device, they’ll send you replacement screen protectors!

USB Wall Charger, $16: During the first trimester, I rarely left the couch and spent a lot of time watching mindless shows (mostly 30 Rock), so having extra charging space for my devices was so nice.

Second Trimester Must Haves

This is when I really started to grow and had to upgrade my wardrobe; these are my pregnancy clothing must haves.

Comfortable Maxi Dresses, $35-$40: Even early in the first trimester I didn’t feel like wearing jeans or anything uncomfortable and knew I wouldn’t want to for any of my pregnancy (does anyone still wear jeans post-COVID?) so I bought these soft, stretchy, bump-friendly non maternity maxi dresses on Amazon that I’ll be able to wear throughout my pregnancy and even for breastfeeding postpartum as well! Plus, I feel so cute and pretty in them even during that awkward is-she-pregnant-or-just-ate-too-much-stage. I got two from the brand LaClef and one from Mother Bee (technically this is a maternity brand, but the dress isn’t a pregnancy-specific style). As an added bonus: Hubby’s a fan, so these are my new date night outfits for the next few months (and probably years, honestly).

Kindred Braverly Maternity Dress, $40: While we’re talking about dresses, and if you want more than one style of dress haha, I also bought this knee-length maternity/nursing dress/nightgown. I haven’t actually worn it yet because it’s more obviously a nursing-friendly dress, but I’ll definitely be wearing it soon now that my bump is becoming more obvious. I’m also really excited to wear this one postpartum for an easy transition from pajamas/loungewear to outdoor/presentable wear. Also, I tried on several knee-length maternity dresses. I was surprised how many passed my knee, even at 5’8”. I’m not a fan of dresses that come to my mid-shin. This one was actually a nice length.

Gailife Maternity Bras (4 pack), $29: By the end of the first trimester, I was down to only 3 sports bras that still fit me (am I the only one that lives in sports bras around the house?), and those were quickly becoming too small. After spending way too long searching Amazon and trying/returning a couple brands, a friend recommended these to me. They’re comfortable and have space for growth. It can also be used for breastfeeding so I might not need to buy more bras in 6 months (fingers crossed)!

Angelhood Maternity Bras (2 pack), $15: I purchased these in addition to the Gailife bras above because I wanted more than just 4 bras. These are practically identical to the Gailife bras. Yet, I think they have a little more room for growth in the breast area so I might be able to continue wearing them a little longer than the Gailife ones.

Pregnancy leggings, varies: I bought these maternity leggings for $26, but also found a few pairs at a thrift shop and one on Poshmark. Honestly the pair from Amazon are my favorite because the others don’t have the best fit.

If you haven’t tried Poshmark yet, you can use the code “sarahclyms” for $10 off your first order.

Third Trimester Must Haves

In addition to everything mentioned in the previous two trimesters, I’d also highly recommend these items for the 3rd trimester.

Tums, $8: I haven’t actually had any heartburn (yet?) but I started taking Tums during the second trimester just to help ensure I’m getting enough calcium. During pregnancy, your baby takes what it needs from you. If he/she isn’t getting what he/she needs from your diet, including calcium from your bones and teeth, it can lead to osteoporosis later in life. I love my teeth (and bones haha), so I wanted to do whatever I could to help keep them healthy.

Hypnobirthing Book, $11: I have a fear of childbirth, so this has helped calm my nerves and help me feel more in control/educated about the situation. The idea is to use breathing techniques to decrease labor pains.

Give Them Grace, $11: I haven’t actually read this book yet (I have it on my baby registry for now) but I’ve heard great things and I’m really excited to learn more about parenting using the gospel as a guide.

Pregnancy-Friendly Beauty Products

Fewer chemicals means these safer beauty products are better for you and your baby.

Burt’s Bees Belly Butter, (pack of 2) $27: I’ve been dreading stretch marks, and I’ve tried a few different creams and oils, but this is by far my favorite. It absorbs like a regular lotion (it doesn’t leave me feeling slimy like oils do) and has pretty good ingredients that won’t harm my growing baby. I’ve been using it on my belly, breasts, thighs and butt- all the places I’ve heard can get stretch marks during pregnancy. I also LOVE that my husband and I have made it a habit (when he’s in town) that he’s the one that uses this to lotion my belly. It’s such a sweet moment for us to slow down and for him to talk to the baby.

Juice Beauty Organic Sunscreen, $16: Regular sunscreen has some pretty nasty chemicals in it. Your skin absorbs everything you put onto it. This can be passed onto your growing baby. So, this is definitely a summer pregnancy must have! This has better ingredients and actually smells pretty good (for being a sunscreen, at least). Just keep in mind it’s only 30 SPF, so if you have more sun-sensitive skin like I do, you’ll want to limit your sun exposure or cover up more than normal.

Honest Beauty Mascara, $18: I love this paraben-free mascara so much. I honestly probably won’t switch back to my regular mascara after pregnancy! It has a primer coat that really lengthens the lashes, then a mascara coat to finish it off.

Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Liquid Soap, $15: Organic, plant-based ingredients means I feel confident using this during pregnancy. I use it as a body wash. It can also be used for hand dishwashing, laundry, washing the dog, mopping, etc. One bottle lasts a lot longer than you’d expect because it’s concentrated!

Nutiva Coconut Oil, $12: I’ve been using coconut oil as body lotion because the only ingredient is literally coconut oil- no chemicals or anything fake! Sometimes I use some on the ends of my hair, and supposedly it can even be used as a makeup remover! I plan on using it while breastfeeding because it doesn’t need to be wiped off before nursing, and using it as the baby’s lotion when he/she gets here as well.


It’s important to be active, but especially so during pregnancy. There are countless benefits for both you and your baby if you workout while pregnant!

Keppi Adjustable Dumbbells, $210: I actually bought these before pregnancy, and I had been eyeing this type of weights for probably a year. I love how easy and quick it is to switch between weights, and that I basically have a whole rack of weights but it only takes up the space of one set of dumbbells. 

Beachbody Workouts, $120/year: From pre and post natal workouts to yoga, barre, lifting, cardio, piyo and even boxing, Beachbody really has everything! I followed these programs for several years before pregnancy, and have been using them throughout my pregnancy. During the first trimester I was able to finish the regular program I was working through. However, during the second trimester I switched over to their prenatal workouts. You can learn which prenatal Beachbody workouts I’ve been doing and my thoughts on them individually here.

The membership plan is also available in 6 month payments and 3 month payments. You can also start with a free 14-day trial!

Mutu Pre and Postnatal Fitness $132/year or $28/month: I haven’t actually used Mutu. Another mom recommended it to me, and they have great reviews. Their workouts focus on improving the strength you need for pregnancy and beyond. Both payment options include a free 10-day trial.

I hope this helps you navigate your pregnancy easier and more affordably!

24 Pregnancy Must-Haves for Expecting Moms