Foods to Induce Labor


Your due date has come and gone, and your baby has made no sign of making her debut. You are ready to try some natural methods of inducing labor. Around 50 percent of women try a nonprescribed method to induce labor and 10 percent of those eat spicy foods to do so, found Z. Chaudhry and colleagues from the Ohio State University College of Medicine in their study "Women's Use of Nonprescribed Methods to Induce Labor: A Brief Report," published in the June 2011 Birth journal. Spicy foods and other natural methods may not work for you, and always consult with your doctor before trying them.

Pregnant woman in labor with husband holding her hand.
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Spicy foods are one of the most well-known edibles thought to help bring on labor, notes the OBGYN North website. This includes many Mexican dishes, some Chinese food, hot peppers and foods with hot pepper sauce added.

Eating spicy foods can be counterproductive and isn't always recommended by doctors because certain types of spicy foods -- specifically those with peppers -- release capsasins. Capsasins can counteract the endorphins your body releases, which act as a natural painkillers during childbirth, says the OBGYN North website.

Red peppers hanging on strings.
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Eggplant receives some notoriety for helping moms-to-be bring on labor. At Scalini's, an Italian restaurant in Georgia, pictures of babies adorn the wall. These newborns came into the world after their moms treated themselves to a plate of the restaurant's eggplant parmigiana. Scalini's website claims that more than 300 pregnant women have given birth within 48 hours of eating this eggplant dish.

Herbs, such as oregano and basil, may be what really makes eggplant parmigiana so famous for inducing labor. These herbs sometimes bring on uterine contractions, according to the OBGYN North website.

Large pile of eggplants.
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Pineapple is sometimes eaten to induce labor. Fresh pineapple contains bromelain, which is an enzyme that may help to ripen your cervix and start contractions. Canned pineapple does not contain this enzyme.

Eating pineapple may help your the cervix ripen and cause your uterus to begin contracting, but like other natural methods, it may have no effect on your body.

Plate with grilled pineapple.
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Eating certain foods isn't the only way to possibly induce labor naturally. Other methods might help moms-to-be get labor started, including sex and nipple stimulation, which stimulate the uterus and release oxytocin. Semen also contains prostaglandins that often help in softening and ripening the cervix.

Exercise, specifically walking, is another method of inducing labor. When you walk, your baby's head presses on the cervix and causes oxytocin to be released. Finally, visualization and relaxation are safe, noninvasive methods of bringing on labor, relates the OBGYN North website.

Talk with your doctor before trying out any of these methods of naturally bringing on labor.

Pregnant woman on walk with her husband.
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