Here's What To Drink To Induce Labor

by Cat Bowen

If you're reading this, you're likely very sick of being pregnant. You've probably walked countless miles and googled which foods from what cookbook made your third cousin's best friend go into labor after eating it. But drinks are different and there isn't as much lore about what to drink to induce labor. (Although it seems an easier way to get it done rather than chowing down on spicy food or having sex.)

I remember with my first child, the lore was all about raspberry leaf tea, which, according to the Australian College of Midwives, might actually help bring on labor, and make it faster. There was also this notorious eggplant parmesan. This is problematic, because I would rather french kiss Pat Robertson than eat eggplant. It's easily the worst vegetable ever identified, in my opinion. But tea? I can get behind some tea. In fact, I'm a heavy user of tea, so it was kind of ideal. Raspberry leaf tea itself is a mildly sweet, aromatic tea, that doesn't really need sugar — it's OK when it's iced, but hot tasted better to me. Several of my friends also swore by pineapple juice. I actually quite liked that one, because, for some reason, even though I had hyperemesis gravidarum (I threw up every single day of my pregnancies), the pineapple juice didn't make me turn puce.

If you're searching, many baby boards and websites will turn you on to black cohosh. Black cohosh, a member of the buttercup family, is either taken by capsule, or brewed in a tea. It is used frequently by women with cancer or menopausal women to alleviate the effects of sharp hormonal changes in the body, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). However, The Mayo Clinic noted it is not safe for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

But what else can you sling back like a frat boy at a kegger to evict your little belly-dweller? Pretty much all of the holistic sites tell you to drink cumin tea. It, like most spicy foods, briefly raises your metabolic rate, which is thought to possibly stimulate labor, according to a study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology. But while, the science on this one is sketchy, it's listed as "probably safe." (It just tastes terrible.) Cumin is a smoky, earthy spice that dominates many of my dishes, but it's terrible in tea. I made some cumin tea and I'm telling you, don't. Just don't. The only way this would've put me into labor, would be because I was puking so hard that I actually had my baby out of my mouth like a snake with a detachable jaw.

But the oldest of the old wives' tales on what to drink to induce labor is castor oil. Dating from ancient times, it's thought that because it stimulates the stomach into contracting around the colon, it will also cause the uterus to contract. (Have some raging bathroom issues and a baby at the same time.) However, The Australia and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology determined that while it's not necessarily unsafe, it doesn't work. And while the study didn't say that the obscene diarrhea caused by castor oil is super not fun, I think everyone can safely agree — it's super not fun.

There is probably no magical elixir you can drink that will allow you to drink in the smell of afterbirth and baby head any faster than he or she wants to come. But that doesn't mean you can't try. Hey, maybe you like your tea to smell like a taco. I'm not judging you. Bottoms up, so hopefully your baby will also get bottoms up.