5 Foods That Induce Labor

Submitted by Pregnancy and Baby Care team on May 14, 2012

As a mom-to-be in the 39th or the 40th week of pregnancy, you are probably yearning to hold your little one in your arms. However, if you are fed up of feeling uncomfortable and if you are finding it difficult to move around, rest assured that you are not alone. Several women feel that they have had enough by the time they are close to the due date. To make matters worse, you may even cross your predicted due date without any signs of going into labor. In such situations, some expectant women try to speed up the arrival of their little bundles of joy, by inducing labor.

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Apart from activities like walking, dancing, swimming and massage therapy, women also try to consume foods that induce labor.

Which Foods Induce Labor?

Many women have gone into labor within a couple of hours after consuming castor oil, eggplant, or vinegar. This causes everyone to believe that certain foods can help bring on labor. Given below is a list of 5 foods that are said to induce labor:

  • Spicy Foods: No one can deny the fact that spicy foods disturb the digestive system! Based on this fact is the theory that eating spicy food during the last trimester of pregnancy can trigger a small amount of bowel distress which could induce labor.Medical experts, on the other hand, claim that there is no connection between the uterus and the digestive tract or the stomach, which negates the theory. Your doctor will probably ask you to avoid eating a lot of spicy food as this could have a negative impact on your health. For starters, spicy food could give you a terrible heartburn (not to mention diarrhea), thereby increasing your discomfort during the last few days of your pregnancy. Secondly, some varieties of spicy foods release a substance called capsaicin, which is counterproductive during labor. Capsaicin thwarts the natural painkilling effect of endorphins in your body, making it difficult for you to have a pain-free natural birth.
  • Chinese Food: You may hear of stories where moms-to-be have been taken straight from their favorite Chinese food restaurant to the labor room. However, this could just be a coincidence and there could be no connection between going into labor and digging into a Chinese meal. There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support the claim that Chinese food can induce labor.
  • Pineapples: Women are generally asked to avoid eating pineapples when they are pregnant, except when they are trying to bring on labor. It is believed that pineapples act as a cervical-ripening agent and accelerate the production of prostaglandins (a labor-inducing substance) in the body. Again, this is just a theory that cannot be backed by any scientific research.
  • Egg plant: Many moms swear that they went into labor soon after having a dish known as eggplant parmesan, the main ingredient of which happens to be eggplant. Because of this, many people believe that eggplant helps in inducing labor. However, there are no known substances in eggplant that could possibly cause you to go into labor. Conversely, other ingredients that are also usually a part of eggplant parmesan could be responsible for speeding up the labor procedure. Certain herbs like basil and oregano are known to stimulate uterine contractions.
  • Salads: The best part about these salads is that you can add any ingredient you wish to it, like eggs, greens, peppers, carrots, chicken and so on. Even if these salads do not induce labor, they should be good for you and your baby. You could also season your salad with herbs like basil and oregano, as they could lead to uterine contractions.

Are Foods to Induce Labor Safe and Effective?

Contrary to what oldwives say, doctors claim that there is no magic meal for jump starting labor. According to medical science, nothing you eat can cause you to go into labor, unless you have already started dilating. Moreover, here are certain side effects that have been associated with labor inducing foods and herbs, some of which include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Contractions in the uterus that are not related to labor
  • Dehydration (a possible consequence of diarrhea)
  • Nausea and vomiting (rare)

Therefore, before you try any of the foods to induce labor mentioned above, do make it a point to consult your healthcare provider.

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