Towards the tail end of pregnancy, things start to get a little bit uncomfortable. Your various limbs can feel swollen, you're tired and maybe not sleeping super well, and you're just over it. And though I suppose nine months isn't that long in the grand scheme of things, that stretch of time (especially toward the end when you're not-so-patiently waiting to meet your new little one) can feel interminable. If you've hit that point and are looking for ways to move the process along, take yourself out to lunch (or dinner) for the Olive Garden order to induce labor.
According to the Mayo Clinic, trying to induce labor through at-home methods or asking your healthcare provider about an induction shouldn't be done until the baby's gestational age is 39 weeks, so as to minimize any health risks to your little one. Once you pass that threshold, however, if you're ready to move past "pregnant" and onto "parent," dinner at Olive Garden just may be all it takes. Although there's no real scientific evidence that ordering eggplant parmigiana can lead to contractions and labor development, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence on the interwebs that this is the fast casual Italian meal of choice for mamas-to-be anxiously awaiting their new baby.
Eggplant parmigiana has quite a few ingredients that are said to contain labor-inducing properties, which may be why it's considered a dish that can help nudge Baby along. Mommy message boards all over the internet swear by the combination of basil and oregano to induce labor and help speed things up. Eggplant parm also often contains red pepper flakes, and though, again, there is no scientific evidence supporting this claim, some women believe eating spicy food is what jumpstarted their labor. Claims of garlic-laden dishes inducing labor are also plentiful on the internet, and the marinara sauce in eggplant parmigiana almost certainly has a good dose of garlic added to it.
There are also lots of stories floating around about how they went into labor after eating Olive Garden's salad with an Italian-style, balsamic vinaigrette dressing. According to one post on the Baby Center website, her midwife explained that balsamic vinegar itself may induce labor due to how it is aged. The aging process, done in wooden barrels, she was told, can lead to the formation of an oxytocin-like substance, which will move things along if your baby and body are ready.
Although it may or may not be likely that eating a big plate of eggplant parmigiana and salad will help your baby appear on the scene any sooner, it seems it could in fact help if you're far enough along. Romper reached out to Olive Garden to determine whether or not moms have thanked the Italian restaurant and their menu items for inducing labor but did not hear back at the time of publication. But even if it doesn't, you'll at least get a delicious meal out of it.