There are a lot of natural labour induction methods out there. Which ones work, and which ones are just dangerous? Eggplant Parmesan? Sex? Castor Oil? Herbs? Red Raspberry Tea? Find out!
Labor Inducing Eggplant Parmesan
One of the methods of self-inducing labor that’s been sweeping the internet in recent years is the myth that eggplant will start labor. This maternity myth started when a news story began circulating about a restaurant in Georgia named Scalini’s. Apparently the mothers of over 300 babies have gone into labor in the past 23 years, within 48 hours of eating the eggplant parmegiana.
The funny part is, it may just be that the dish causes the women to go into labor, but it’s not the eggplant. The herbs Oregano and Basil have properties that may cause contractions, though it is not yet known how or in what quantities. This is why, in aromatherapy circles, these herbs and essential oils are to be avoided whenever possible during pregnancy.
Sex to Induce Labor
Semen contains prostaglandins. Prostaglandins cause the cervix to “ripen”, or soften and prepare to open. While it is debatable whether there are enough prostaglandins in semen to have any real effect, it is not a terrible way to keep hope alive and while away the last weeks of your pregnancy. Another great side effect is the fact that orgasms produce oxytocin, the hormone that causes contractions. So, between the two, there is a pretty good case for the cure for pregnancy.
Evening Primrose Oil and Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
Neither will actually induce labor. While some lay midwives will argue that statement about the Evening Primrose, which is the reason it is not recommended until 36 weeks or “full term”, almost all sources with experience agree that it does nothing that the body was not ready to do on its own. I will repeat this at the end of this section, to make sure you understand this, as there is a lot of confusion and misconception surrounding these two substances.
Evening primrose oil is an excellent source of prostaglandins, which we already determined readies your cervix for labor. It can be taken orally as soon as 34 weeks, and can be applied directly to the cervix at full term (36 weeks). The general recommendation is two 500mg capsules per day until week 38, at which time you increase to 3-4 per day. The entire capsule can be inserted vaginally (inserted just before bed, it will dissolve before the first time you wake to use the bathroom), or you can use the oil on your fingers for your perineal massage, then also rub on your cervix (assuming you can reach it). Applying directly to the cervix is optimal, but the beneficial ingredients are absorbed through the external skin or the stomach also.
Red raspberry leaf tea is a uterine tonic used by Native Americans for thousands of years. It tones your uterus by helping to “focus” your Braxton Hicks contractions. Think of its job as helping your uterus do more effective exercising while you are pregnant. It does not “cause” contractions and can be safely used throughout pregnancy. It is contraindicated for those having complications “just in case”, however, by most doctors who do not understand its use. Many women safely use it from the moment they learn they are pregnant at six weeks until months after delivery. (It helps to tone the uterus after delivery as well, shrinking it back to size more quickly and reducing bleeding.)
Again, neither of these actually causes labor to start!