For any mom, the experience of 9 months long pregnancy can be quite overwhelming. After such a long wait, it is only normal for you to get anxious to meet your precious little one. But sometimes labour does not start even after crossing the margin of the 37th week, which usually marks the start time for the first phase of labour. With each passing day, you must have been trying to figure out how to start contractions during pregnancy and find guaranteed ways to induce labour. Are you constantly looking for signs of labour too?
[Read more: What Happens During Labour And What You Should Do]
What is labour?
Labour is essentially the process a pregnant woman’s body undergoes to deliver the baby into the world. It starts with regular and mild contractions after the 37th week of pregnancy. The mother goes through 3 stages of pregnancy. Sometimes labour can start before the 37th week, which is known as preterm labour.
But in some cases, labour may not start until 40-42 weeks of pregnancy. Are you crossing your delivery due date too? Don’t lose your patience, mommies! Here are top 12 labour inducing foods you need to know:
Yes, unripe papaya is always placed among the top 5s of any list containing the fruits to avoid during pregnancy. It is because, the enzymes called Papain and Pepsin, which are found in the leaves and latex of unripe papaya, are known to cause contractions of the uterus. Even though eating papaya in pregnancy leads to premature deliveries and miscarriages when eaten during the early-pregnancy days, you can eat some cubes of this delicious fruit to induce labour once your due date arrives.
Pineapple is another forbidden fruit that is considered among the top 5 fruits to avoid during pregnancy. But if you are already past your due date or want to start the contractions during pregnancy, pineapple is considered among the guaranteed ways to induce labour. A proteolytic enzyme called Bromelain is found in fresh pineapples (especially the core) that helps to soften the cervix and stimulate labour.
Garlic is considered one of the most effective foods that induce labour. It stimulates the digestive system and bowel movements which helps in inducing labour contractions during pregnancy. The empty bowel creates more space and helps the baby to move downwards and start the delivery process.
Studies have found that women who consumed dates during the last four weeks of their pregnancy had an easy labour and delivery. Dates have multiple compounds such as calcium, tannin and serotonin that help in starting the contractions during pregnancy by creating the Oxytocin effect. The fatty acids help in the production of Prostaglandins which are required for labour.
5. Castor Oil:
If you are between 40 to 42 weeks of pregnancy, you can use a dose of castor oil to induce labour at home. Castor oil is a laxative which helps to stimulate bowel movements. Increased bowel pressure stimulates contractions during pregnancy and induces labour within a day.
If you are looking for fruits that induce labour, banana is another one that you can try. Bananas are rich in Potassium, which helps in inducing muscle contraction in the uterus. But make sure to eat banana only during the last days of your pregnancy i.e., during the full-term, as the Chitinase enzyme present in bananas can harm your pregnancy if eaten before mature-stage in achieved.
7. Raspberry Leaf Tea:
A cup of warm tea made from raspberry leaves can not only help you relax but also help in the induction of labour. Do not drink raspberry leaf tea until you are at the last stage of pregnancy and much closer to your delivery date. Raspberry leaves contain chemicals that mimic oxytocin and help in starting contractions during pregnancy.
Licorice is another food item that many women swear by when they are asked for guaranteed ways to induce labour. A compound called Glycyrrhizin which is present in licorice roots is known to be the cause of the increased production of Prostaglandin that leads to uterine contractions during pregnancy. It is advised to consume licorice only after your due date is passed.
9. Spicy food:
Eating spicy food is probably one of the most recommended and guaranteed ways to induce labour in pregnant women. A compound called capsaicin present in pepper is known to stimulate bowel movements which result in the induction of labour. Also, spicy foods increase the production of Prostaglandin which helps in starting labour contractions during pregnancy.
10. Fruit-milk smoothie:
Smoothies are healthy drinks rich in essential nutrients that not only refreshes you but also provides energy. Fruit-milk smoothies are known to stimulate bowel activities. Increased bowel pressure stimulates uterine contractions during pregnancy. Since these smoothies have no side-effects you can enjoy them without worrying a bit.
Craving for some seafood? Lobster is known to be comparatively a safer option to try during pregnancy, especially during the last few days before delivery. Lobster contains a high amount of Prostaglandins which helps in stimulating labour. But, make sure to keep your consumption of lobster to a minimum as the high-mercury content may affect your pregnancy.
12. Fibre-rich foods:
Fibre-rich foods help in maintaining healthy bowel movement. Eating more fruits and vegetables that contain fibre, can stimulate bowel movement which helps in starting contractions during pregnancy and thereby induce labour.
Even though these foods are known to be quite efficient in inducing labour, more scientific research needs to be done to confirm the effectiveness of these foods. The effectiveness varies from woman to woman as the different body types respond differently to a particular food. Therefore, before consuming these labour-inducing foods, make sure you consult with your doctor once (just to be sure, of course). Also, confirm about the doses or amounts and frequency at which you can consume these foods before you try them out.