Compared to the old wives tale, linking scientific evidence to certain foods to induce labour is a much laborious work. As far as medical sciences is concerned, taking in any food can’t really help with the onset of labour.
So why are there so many claims that eating a particular food can help kick start a labour? Most of the foods claimed to have that physiological benefit can cause disruption to the normal function of the gastrointestinal system. This could lead to cramping and uterine contractions.
If you insist on trying certain foods to induce labour, better talk to your doctor first. Why? Well, if your body isn’t ready to go into labour yet, taking it foods to induce it can cause hours of discomfort plus it can be unsafe.
This article would discuss some of the foods which are thought to induce labour and what science has to say about them.
Castor oil, one of the potential foods to induce labour?
When we are trying to recommend foods to induce labour quicker than you ever would (without), of course we are talking about facts which have been proven by research. People use castor oil to kickstart a labour for generations. Multiple research has shown its effectiveness in bringing contractions on.
However, before you start sipping the multipurpose vegetable oil, you should know that doctors are less likely to recommend it. This is due to the fact that castor oil has a potent laxative effect. Taking it in would put you at risk of getting serious discomfort and dehydration.
Choosing pineapple as a means to kick start labour
This fruit contains a protein-digesting enzyme called bromelain. It helps soften the cervix and is one of the most well-known foods to induce labour. However, there are only a few studies which support the notion that pineapple can induce contraction in practical sense.
Most of the studies applied pineapple extracts directly to tissue samples which triggered contractions. It may induce labour if it is taken in a certain form but there’s no evidence that eating a pineapple can help kick start labour.
Taking dates to induce labour
Similar to pineapple, dates is one of the foods which are thought to induce labour. A few studies have proved its contribution in helping women during labour albeit there are minor details which are contradictory to one another.
A small study which has been conducted in the past has shown that women who took 6 dates per day, a month prior to her due dates would experience spontaneous contractions. However, a more recent study in 2017 has found that taking dates would not affect the onset of contraction. It would only serve as a means to help with later stages of labour.
Like any other fruits, dates are rich in fiber. Whether or not it is one of the right foods to induce labour, taking in a huge amount of them can lead to digestive issues. It’s like taking in lots of spicy foods during pregnancy.
Without further study, there is no way we could know whether dates are effective at inducing labour.
Evening primrose oil, effective and as potent as sex?
You might have heard evening primrose oil as one of the foods to induce labour. Even if a recent clinical trial indicates that it serves no role in triggering contractions, some doctors would still recommend it.
This is due to the fact that evening primrose oil contains gamma linoleic acid or GLA. This particular substance is the precursor of prostaglandins which can also be found in sperm. It plays an important role to help soften the cervix while preparing for birth.
Maybe this is the reason why sex is tauted as one of the most effective way to kick start labour?
Spicy foods, what labour-related benefits could it bring?
Up until now, there’s only a single study which has clearly shows significant correlation between eating spicy foods and labour. However, that study was conducted on preterm births.
Similar to castor oil, spicy foods can irritate your intestine. This in turn could lead to cramping and induce uterine contractions in women who have already in labour. However, in terms of evidence, there is practically no scientific proof that could support the theory of spicy foods being one of the foods to induce labour.
The only thing that spicy foods are able to do is triggering heartburn, which is not a good thing.
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