Pregnancy is full of so much discomfort and so many indignities, who am I to deny a woman any remedy or craving? The fact is, I wouldn't. But I sure as hell will deny myself. Thanks to old wives' tales on the internet, there's a seemingly endless list of remedies, recipes, and ways to induce labor. Some of them are, frankly, bizarre. Do what you have to do to remain sane and healthy during pregnancy, but there are certain things I'll never, ever be pregnant enough to try.
My pregnancy was wildly uncomfortable, so there were plenty of things I did try. I had terrible nausea the first half of my pregnancy. I took vitamin B12, wore seasickness bands, sucked on hard candies, and put peppermint oil on the back of my tongue. Yeah, none of it worked. Even doctor-prescribed Zofran only gave me temporary relief. Maybe that's what turned me off so-called "remedies." At some point I realized I was going to be miserable no matter what, and I just had to suck it up. So when it came to later discomforts, like swollen ankles and back pain or eventually trying to induce labor, I just wasn't willing to try anything that sounded kooky to me.
I know most of these things probably fall under the "don't knock it till you've tried it" umbrella, but you guys, I just can't. I won't tell you what you can and can't do, but I draw my own line at the following:
I may have my Asian card revoked, but I hate ginger (unless it's in powdered form inside a pumpkin pie). Maybe it's all those ginger candies I consumed at Tet as a kid, but I can't stand the stuff. So I'll take a hard pass on sucking on a hunk of peeled ginger root. I know ginger can help relieve morning sickness, but I'll take it in pill or tea form if I take it at all, thank you very much.
Apple Cider Vinegar
I actually love the smell of vinegar. I use white vinegar all the time to remove soap scum, and I add balsamic to any salad. But I draw the line at drinking the stuff, even if it would ease the burning in my chest. It sounds strange, but drinking apple cider vinegar tells your stomach to stop producing stomach acid, thus relieving your heartburn. But you have to choke it down first and, um, no.
My Husband's Bran Cereal
I've always had a tendency toward constipation (you're welcome for that information), but pregnancy just exacerbated it. During my third trimester, I developed hemorrhoids the size of a Starbucks chocolate cake pop. My husband was convinced that if I just ate a small amount of his bran nuggets every morning, I'd be just as regular as him. He wasn't wrong, but the stuff tastes like styrofoam. I'd rather have a cake pop, and you know how I feel about those.
I have severe allergies, so anything flowery gives me a huge headache. My mom has a tuberose perfume that can actually make me vomit. Just the idea of downing dandelion tea (even to relieve constipation) makes me sneeze. Plus, I'm not convinced that herbal teas are necessarily safe, especially since the brewing process concentrates the chemicals. I'd rather just skip it all together.
Yes, there are varying opinions on what's safe. Yes, most experts say some essential oils are OK during the second and third trimesters. There are some oils, however, that you should absolutely avoid. But even though lavender makes the cut and can be relaxing for any soon-to-be mom, I'm not going to use something for my headache that gives me a headache. Because duh.
In my head, I know that acupuncture is safe and has benefits ranging from improved mood to alleviating morning sickness, back pain, and sleep problems. That sounds awesome. What doesn't sound so awesome is tiny needles in my facial region.
Pickles & Ice Cream
I didn't crave any bizarre combinations of food when I was pregnant (besides french fries dipped in a Wendy's Frosty, which I will happily eat regardless of whether or not I'm growing another human being inside my body), so it's hard for me to understand why anyone would consume pickles and ice cream or a mustard-covered donut. Because that's gross. I mean, you do you, but keep your Buddy the Elf sweet spaghetti to yourself.
When my sister was a constipated toddler, her pediatrician told my mom to give her castor oil until she "sh*t in her shoes." So pardon me if I don't run right out and buy some to induce labor. In theory, the castor oil stimulates the bowels, thus irritating the uterus and causing contractions. In my opinion, it's not worth the side effects, not to mention the risks.
I went into labor on my due date, so I don't know what it's like to be overdue. But from everything my friends have told me about induction, I plan to avoid it like the plague.
Apparently, some providers will offer to strip your membranes to kickstart labor. This process involves an OB-GYN using their hand to separate the amniotic sac from the side of the uterus... with no meds. You guys, I'm sorry, but this sounds f*cking terrible.
Sex To Induce Labor
It was hard enough to convince me to have sex during pregnancy at all. I was just so miserable (yeah, go ahead and tell me it's because I didn't try any of the above). So sex at 40 weeks? Thanks but no thanks. I'm not saying sex doesn't induce labor, I'm just saying I don't want to have any part in it. That and anything else on this list.