Whether your pregnancy is easy breezy or you have 24/7 morning sickness plaguing you, every woman reaches a point when she's ready to get the show on the road. And there's no shortage of late night Google searches and shared opinions about the various ways to speed things up. You may have heard that castor oil does the trick, or maybe you're thrilled to find out that getting hot and heavy can trigger labor. There's also always the option of certain foods, like hot sauce or pineapple. But how much pineapple do you have to eat to induce labor? Experts say it's probably more than you bargained for.
A tiny fruit salad won't do the trick, because according to a 2009 study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, the amount of bromelain in pineapple isn't as robust as you might think. That means you would have to down quite a bit of pineapple for the enzyme to maybe kick labor into high gear. More bad news? You're more likely to experience diarrhea than contractions.
The reason for chowing down on bromelain — which is also found in papaya — is that the enzyme is linked to softening the connective tissue of the cervix, triggering labor, noted Today's Parent.
But it would take a lot of that enzyme — as much as seven pineapples — to trigger labor contractions, explained Mom Junction. Plus, you would have to eat the whole thing, including the core, for reap optimal benefits. Considering trying it? Take it from fellow Romper writer Gemma Hartley and think twice. She ate 10 pineapples over the course of the last two weeks of her pregnancy and saw zero results — except for chapped and bleeding lips.
Plus, other side effects of indulging in too much pineapple include heartburn and diarrhea as a result of excess vitamin C, and the high amount of natural sugar could be problematic if you are dealing with gestational diabetes, according to Mom Junction.
Other old wives' tales about inducing labor that you might want to skip? Eating spicy foods (hello heartburn), an enema (just don't), and drinking castor oil (more diarrhea). But all hope is not lost. In fact, there are some effective methods for inducing labor — including sex and a bit of exercise — that experts agree upon.
"One of the most important ways to induce labor is staying active during the third trimester," Dr. Lakeisha Richardson, a board-certified OB-GYN, tells Romper in an email interview. "The more women walk and stand, the easier labor will be and the more likely they are to go into spontaneous labor."
Then again, if you're up for activity of a different sort, you may want to consider some sexy time with your parter, Carley Mendes, a registered holistic nutritionist, childbirth educator, and expert at The Tot, tells Romper in an email interview.
“The prostaglandins in semen can help to prepare the cervix and the female orgasm can softly stimulate the uterus,” she says. “But this is only safe if the waters have not broken yet.” Mendes says nipple stimulation might also encourage labor, as it releases the hormone oxytocin which can help stimulate contractions. Richardson agrees, adding that having an orgasm can also initiate contractions.
My very unprofessional advice? Take a trip to Target. If you're anything like me, you'll stroll the aisles long enough that you will be standing in the greeting card aisle when your water breaks and one whole day later you will be holding your bundle of joy in your arms. The magic of Target, am I right?
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