There are several fruits, vegetables and food items that influence pregnancy and delivery. Some foods influence the health of the mother and unborn child by supplying the daily needed vital nutrients while there are other food items that are capable of stimulating the contractions and thus, inducing the labor. In some remote villages, people still use some fruits and vegetables to terminate unwanted pregnancies. This proves what some food items are capable of.
Why Should Labor Be Induced Naturally?
Towards the final weeks of gestation, all pregnant women look forward to the due date. But approaching or going past the due date without any significant sign of labor will leave them uncomfortable and impatient. This will urge them to think of something to make the labor faster.
The easy way is to depend on the medical interventions to induce labor. But before going for that there are several natural methods which they can try at home to induce or accelerate the labor.
One of the methods to hasten the labor is by eating the certain food. No food have been proved scientifically will induce labor. But there are some “circumstantial evidence” of the ability of some food items to induce labor. Here are some of the foods that can accelerate the labor:
Foods That Can Help To Induce Labor Fast
- Pineapple: Bromelain is an enzyme that is present in fresh pineapple. (Canning and juicing will destroy this enzyme). This enzyme is thought to help in softening the cervix and stimulate the smooth muscles to bring on labor. The amount of bromelain in pineapple is so low that eating a large amount of fresh pine apple is necessary to bring out the result. So, the chances of having diarrhea are more than quickening the labor (oops).
- Papaya: The green papaya (unripe) is used to induce labor. The enzyme found in papaya – papain which is found more in the latex of the leaves of papaya and unripe papaya is believed to trigger uterine contraction. Studies have shown that unripe papaya latex can act like prostaglandin and oxytocin which can initiate uterine contractions during labor. The concentration of the latex reduces as the papaya ripens. When the papaya is fully ripe the latex will be lost altogether. Hence eating a ripe papaya has no effect in generating the contractions.
- Chinese food: Spicy Chinese foods (Szechwan’s) are considered as magical food that brings on the labor. It might be the peppers, the major ingredient of Szechwan style, behind the stimulation of the contractions
- Garlic: Eating garlic moderately will stimulate the bowel movements and help to empty them. This will help your body get ready for labor fast.
- Castor oil: This oil is extracted from the bean of caster plant. For centuries, castor oil is considered as a labor inducer as it stimulates the contractions and pregnant women used to take it towards the last week of gestation. One major drawback of castor oil is that it can make you feel nauseous, make you feel like you want to vomit and can cause diarrhea (so, hydrating yourself is very important). Otherwise, it causes no harm to you or your child.
- Balsamic vinegar: Balsamic vinegar originates from Italy. Balsamic vinegar is manufactured from the white grape juice which is newly-harvested. Balsamic vinegar is a yummy ingredient of the salads. Taking shots of balsamic vinegar to induce the labor are found popular among some women. Some women prefer balsamic vinegar over castor oil to induce labor because Balsamic vinegar tastes far better than castor oil. Other discomforts like nausea or urge to vomit that accompanies the intake of castor oil are not associated with balsamic vinegar.
- Raspberry leaf tea: The study on raspberry leaf and its effects on labor reports that it can decrease the chances of pregnancy going beyond the due date. Drinking raspberry tea from 32 weeks gestation until due date is suggested for toning the uterus and preventing the postdate pregnancies. It is also found that ingesting raspberry leaves can shorten the second stage of labor there by, minimizing the chances of an assisted delivery. Moreover, drinking raspberry leaf tea is safe for you and your baby. Even though, more research are needed in this field to confirm the safety and efficiency of the raspberry leaves.
- Spicy food: Let it be an Indian spicy curry or a Mexican spicy dish, spicy food is often used as labor inducer. Spicy food stimulates the release of prostaglandin which helps in contracting uterine walls. Capsasins which are the active component of peppers bring out the bowel movements and able to bring on labor pain. Eating hot food will stimulate the bowel movements thereby, prompting the womb to get into action. Do hot foods induce labor?
- Eggplant parmesan: Eating eggplant parmesan (An Italian dish made with shallow or deep fried egg plant layered with cheese and tomato sauce. Recipe is available on the internet) can help to start labor. Some interpretation is that it is the seasoning of basil and oregano of this dish which influences the onset of the labor. However, it’s worth a try to enjoy this delicious dish to induce labor as it will do no harm to you or your child.
- Basil and oregano: These herbs aid in releasing the release of prostaglandin and there by inducing uterine contractions.
- Licorice: The root of this Mediterranean plant which belongs to the pea family is sweet and is used as a flavoring agent in candies medicines etc. Licorice root contains a compound called glycyrrhizin, which can increase the production of an active lipid compound called prostaglandin which promotes uterine contractions. It is not advised to eat a large amount of licorice during pregnancy as it triggers pre term birth. Same quality of this root will act as an aid to induce labor when your due date is passed. Eating licorice candy may not give you the results as they are merely sugar and artificial flavor. So, go for the actual black licorice from a health food store.
- Cumin tea: Cumin tea which is used in treating the digestive issues and bloating is also used in inducing the labor.
What Is The Relation Between Bowel Movements And Uterine Contractions?
The muscles that cause bowel movements are the same muscles which are used in uterine contractions. That is why the food items that increase the bowel movements are found to trigger the uterine contractions.
Physical Activities That Can Induce Labor
Here are some other tips to induce natural uterine contractions. As we already discussed the ability of the food items to induce labor has no scientific backups and more studies are needed in this field. Clubbing some physical activities along with the intake of the food items described above can activate the contractions even faster. Some of the physical activities are:
- Blowing up balloons which buildup the abdominal-pressure encourage to kick-off the contraction.
- Climbing up and down the stairs for a few times.
- Going for a brisk walk.
- A bumpy car drive or bouncing on a birthing ball.
Never attempt this when you are alone. And never take the food that you think will help in inducing labor without getting the permission from your doctor. Wish you a happy delivery.