After you’re past your due date, you may wish to naturally induce labor. After all, you’re tired of being bloated, achy, not being able to get up… Now, some claim that certain foods can help you do that. The research on it is scarce and proof mostly anecdotal (except for one type of food, where it seems there may be something there). But just because there haven’t been definitive studies, it doesn’t mean it’s all bull. After all, there’s nothing to lose if you try some of these foods to naturally induce labor.
Disclaimer: Please don’t try to induce labor unless you’re past your due date or there’s a medical reason for it. I know it gets tough and you get excited to meet the little guy or gal. But the longer the baby is inside the mom’s body, the better for them. So if you’re looking to learn how to induce labour naturally at 38 weeks, please only do so if there’s a medical need for it.
Foods That Induce Labor: How Do They Work?
According to studies and anecdotal evidence alike, the food that’s supposed to help you induce labor works with several different mechanisms. All of them will be explained with each food mentioned (so long as there actually exists an explanation). However, what really causes labor is oxytocin, a hormone secreted when we’re being hugged (and more than that). But if you’re looking for foods with oxytocin to induce labor, you’ll hardly find those. For some ideas on better oxytocin secretion and inducing labor, stick to the end of the article.
List of Foods to Naturally Induce Labor
So far, dates seem to be the only food with a somewhat proven effect on labor induction. Not only does eating them in the weeks before labor make the need for induction less likely, but women who ate them also tended to spend less time in labor. That definitely sounds like something we can all benefit from!
It’s long been said that you should eat spicy foods to help induce labor, but it hasn’t really been proven. So if you came here googling how long after eating spicy food will labor start, I have to disappoint you. Not only do we not know this, but we aren’t sure it even will start. The evidence is anecdotal. But once again, eating Indian food to induce labor won’t harm you, and if it ends up working – great!
This is one of the popular fruits that induce labor (according to some), and despite lacking scientific proof, it does have a scientific explanation. Namely, the enzyme bromelain is supposed to soften your cervix and help the labor start. I can’t answer how long after eating pineapple will labour start or even if it will at all, but there’s certainly no harm in trying.
Eggplant Parmesan Dishes
Yes, it’s that specific! Some people claim that these types of dishes have helped them start labor. So if you’re all out of things to eat to induce labor, order a tasty eggplant parmesan dish and give it a go.
Foods That May Induce Labor, but Which to Avoid
Apart from these, you’ll see mentions of some other foods and even drinks that anecdotally cause labor, but that may be dangerous for your baby. Raspberry leaf tea is one such drink that should be avoided all throughout pregnancy, and the full list is here.
Other Things That Can Induce Labor
As mentioned before, one surefire way to improve your chances of going into labor is oxytocin release. So if foods to naturally induce labor don’t work, here’s what can cause your oxytocin levels to spike, thus helping you induce labor.
- Sex and physical contact in general. Any cuddling, hugs, or stroking help oxytocin get secreted, but sex and orgams do so in the largest quantities. Be careful though, and be sure to react if it gets painful for any reason.
- Warm baths. Warmth on the skin is also known to promote oxytocin release, so a warm (not hot!) bath could also help your labor start.
- Certain exercises. While not necessarily releasing oxytocin, these may help your baby get positioned and ready to get out faster, prompting labor that way.
- Yoga. I did some yoga for inducing labor on a Saturday. On Monday evening, my waters broke, so I wholeheartedly recommend trying it out!