What are some foods to induce labor?

By the time a female is 39 or 40 weeks pregnant (close to the due date) and she might want to try just about anything to induce labor quickly. Many females consider home remedies or widely used options to induce labor faster. There are also some foods that are believed to induce labor. 

There has not been enough research to support the theory that some foods can induce labor. But, many females swear by certain foods that have helped them induce labor.  

Also Read- What happens during Labor and Vaginal Delivery?

Many foods that are reputed to induce labor can bring on gastrointestinal distress or diarrhea, which can cause cramping and uterine contractions.

If the pregnant female’s body is ready to go into labor, the cramping and contractions caused by gastrointestinal distress might get the labor started faster, but can also bring side effects ranging from mild discomfort to the unsafe symptoms (like dehydration).

So before trying any food to induce labor, talk with your gynecologist and get her advice on this. While eating certain foods may seem safe, some foods and drinks to induce labor can bring on unpleasant or unsafe effects.

Also Read- What are Braxton Hicks contractions and are they the same as Labor?

Foods and drinks to induce labor

  • Castor oil

Past research has revealed that castor oil can bring on uterine contractions. Even though castor oil to induce labor has been used by many females in the past years, doctors are less likely to recommend this due to its intense laxative effect, which can lead to serious discomforts and dehydration.

  • Pineapple

pineapple to induce labor

Due to the enzyme bromelain found in pineapple, this fruit is thought to help soften the cervix and trigger uterine contractions. But, this theory has yet to be supported by clinical data and evidence.  

  • Spicy foods

 Much like castor oil, spicy food can irritate the pregnant female’s intestines, causing cramping and uterine contractions for females who are already dilated. 

  • Evening primrose oil

Evening primrose oil contains omega-3 fatty acid ( gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA ), which is a precursor to prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are also found in sperm and are a hormone-like substance that helps soften the cervix in preparation for childbirth.  

  • Red raspberry leaf tea

The herbal tea made with the leaves of the red raspberry plant has been known to boost blood flow to the uterus and thus trigger uterine contractions. No study has proven the success of red raspberry tea leaves to induce labor.  

  • Garlic


garlic to induce labor

Garlic stimulates the bowel movements, helping empty them which can help to induce labour. It is considered one of the most popular and helpful foods to induce labor naturally.

  • Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic seems to be another food item with a reputation for inducing labor.  But, no clinic data or evidence can back up this remedy to induce labor naturally. 

  • Black Licorice

Due to the chemical glycyrrhizin in black licorice, it can stimulate the production of prostaglandins, which can possibly induce labor. Consuming too much black licorice can result in mild diarrhea, which can cause mild contractions in the intestines. This can result in sympathetic contractions of the uterus, thus inducing labor.

Also Read- Things you should know about Vomiting in Pregnancy

Is it safe to eat foods to induce labor?

Talk to your doctor before taking any herbs or foods like castor oil, red raspberry leaf tea or evening primrose oil to induce labor.

Most of the foods credited to induce labor, such as pineapple, eggplant parm, dates and spicy foods, are safe to eat during pregnancy, although they cause heartburn, upset stomach, or diarrhea. 

When to call your doctor?

Female speaking to a gynecologist

It is totally understandable to look for safe ways to induce labor when approaching your due date.  Keep your doctor in the loop about how you are feeling, and discuss the best ways to induce labor based on your health records and individual medical history.

Most important of all, do not try to induce labor before 40 weeks of pregnancy. Always talk to your doctor before taking herbal supplements like castor oil, red raspberry leaf tea or evening primrose oil to induce labor. If you experience lower back pain, abdominal cramping or bleeding after taking such foods, seek medical help immediately. Speak to a doctor online in case of any doubts or concerns. Getting a doctor’s advice is important for you and your baby’s safety. 

Also Read- 

Last Month of Pregnancy Checklist- What to pack for the hospital? 

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