Can Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar Induce Labor? An Expert Responds

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The end of pregnancy is such a slog. It's that weird period in your life where you can't decide if time is speeding up or slowing down, and you're pretty sure it's somehow managing to do both. It's a nerve wracking couple of weeks that are as uncomfortable mentally as it is physically; you're just ready for it to end. If it's taking longer than expected, you'll probably try anything to hasten your labor. With all the buzz about the miracles of apple cider vinegar, you may wonder — can drinking apple cider vinegar induce labor? Or should you put it back on the shelf?

Apple cider vinegar is really experiencing a moment, which is funny, because it's ostensibly been around as long as fermentation itself. However, recently more and more people, especially celebrities, have been lauding the health benefits of the sour liquid. Lovers of the drink claim it does everything from help them lose or maintain weight to get rid of acne and boost their mood. While it's not been studied extensively in many areas, the studies that have been completed do suggest that its benefits go beyond making silky cake batters and delicious salad dressings. It also works to aid in the digestive process by assisting in the breakdown of sugars in the gut. However, there is no research to suggest that it would do anything to bring about labor.

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With all of the food-based folklore out there regarding labor induction, it certainly seems plausible that if there exists a near-magical recipe for eggplant parmesan that brings about labor for many of the women who've tried it, it's not that big of a stretch to think vinegar could have the same effect. Also, while this isn't proven or even studied, I'm fairly certain eggplant is actually the slimy leavings of an evil snail that some people have developed a taste for. Apple cider vinegar is quite yummy on chips or in salads, therefore making it a pleasant alternative to the marinara covered vegetable of hell. (I may have a bias against eggplant.)

I scoured the current literature. I read every last article about the benefits of apple cider vinegar for your skin, your hair, your wood furniture, and I found nothing about childbirth in a scholarly article. Sure, there are plenty of vinegar companies and message boards that say that this works, but there hasn't been one study completed. As of right now, any evidence linking successful labor induction with the ingestion of apple cider vinegar is purely anecdotal, and probably just coincidental.

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I spoke with midwife Alice Metzger-Davis of Brooklyn, New York, and asked her, "Can drinking apple cider vinegar induce labor?" She tells Romper, "Probably not." She says that if anything, drinking the stuff would likely irritate your mouth and your stomach when you're pregnant and just serves to make you really uncomfortable. "It's true that anything that makes you heave or vomit could induce labor, so if the smell or taste of the vinegar is making you want to throw up, then it could conceivably set your labor off, but it wouldn't be because of any super properties in the vinegar itself."

For her part, Metzger-Davis thinks that apple cider vinegar is fine to drink if heavily diluted, or as a salad dressing with a carrier fat like olive or coconut oil. "Pregnant women tend to be really sensitive to smells and tastes, and I just can't picture this being a good solution at all. It sounds pretty miserable, actually."

It kinda does. So while it might be a great additive in foods and glass cleaner, it's probably not worth the hassle if you're using it to try to induce labor. Maybe try the evil known as eggplant parmesan, instead?

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