If the old adages are to be believed, a hot curry or having sex can help overdue pregnant women go into labour. Picture: Pexels

If the old adages are to be believed, a hot curry or having sex can help overdue pregnant women go into labour.

But researchers have found another solution – touching the nipples for one hour a day, three days in a row.

Researchers found breast and nipple stimulation could be likely to induce labour as it naturally produces the "cuddle hormone" oxytocin – which is often administered by medics to speed up delivery.

Writing in the journal PLOS ONE, scientists from St Luke’s International University, Tokyo, found that in six trials involving 719 women, nipple stimulation triggered the earlier onset of labour. 

In a previous study published in Birth, 201 women were asked if they tried to induce labour naturally at home. Of the group, about half said they tried at least one method, such as eating spicy food or having sex.

According to the study, the effectiveness of nipple stimulation did have solid scientific evidence. But depending on your medical history, the method may or may not be safe for you to try, healthline reported.

The minimum contact needed was one hour each day for three days. Some of the most well-known tricks for stimulating labour also include going for a bumpy car journey.

But while some scientists have suggested sex can work, others disagree.

If you’re concerned with going far past your due date, here are some questions you might want to ask your doctor:

  • What monitoring do you use after 40 weeks?
  • What types of natural or at-home induction methods do you recommend, if any?
  • What types of induction methods do you perform medically if labor doesn’t begin on its own?
  • At what point would you consider medically inducing labour if it doesn’t begin on its own?
  • At what point do you recommend I come to the hospital once contractions begin?