Q: Can rubbing my nipples cause labor?

A: Many overdue moms-to-be may wonder if stimulating their nipples is a good way to bring on labor, but experts generally don't recommend this.

When your nipples are stimulated, your body releases the hormone oxytocin -- the same one that kicks off labor by causing the uterus to start contracting. (Pitocin, the drug that doctors used to induce labor, is a synthetic version of oxytocin.) Rubbing your nipples may start contractions, but is unlikely to trigger actual labor unless your body is otherwise ready (your cervix is thinning and dilating, too, for example). What's more, very long or strong contractions from nipple stimulation can even be dangerous for your baby's heart.

It can be frustrating if you're late for your due date, but your best bet is to just sit tight and follow your doctor's advice. If he or she thinks your baby should be delivered, you'll be induced in a safe setting under your doctor's careful watch.

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