Old Wives Tales to Induce Labor

by Carol Roberts, Childbirth Researcher on June 19, 2011

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Are you late in your pregnancy term, possibly later than 40 weeks, and wondering whether the old wives tales to induce labor are true? During this stressful time, you’ve turned to the internet to find a way to help move the process along, whether because you’re impatient or because you’re genuinely concerned. One way or another, you’re wanting to know whether it’s true that things like castor oil, primrose oil, pineapple, and sex can help you to go into labor.

The fact is, the success of most of these methods is contested by doctors, midwives, and patients. Whether there is any real foundation for most of them is uncertain. Research a few of these ways to induce and you will discover are connected to specific hormonal processes which do relate directly to contractions. There is certainly some truth in these methods. There are many women who say that they went into labor shortly after trying some of these old wives tales out for themselves.

One famous old wives tale concerns the use of castor oil. Castor oil does release prostaglandins, a chemical which can induce contractions. This same chemical is released through intercourse, as is Oxytocin, another compound which can induce contractions. Oxytocin is also released when you consume pineapple. So there is definitely some basis for these three old wives tales. Sex, castor oil, and pineapple can all theoretically induce labor. All three methods are backed up by numerous testimonials.

Castor oil is also known to be very unpleasant though. It can cause diarrhea and vomiting, both of which probably would stress your body out (and your baby) more than is necessary. Save this one as a last resort.

There is less evidence backing up a lot of other methods, but some herbs believed to help include evening primrose oil, ginger root, black and blue cohosh, and red raspberry leaf. Some of these herbs are known to contain similar helpful compounds which can trigger contractions; others are simply supported by a long history of use by midwives and patients. Some foods which are recommended for labor include spicy foods of any sort, eggplant, and balsamic vinegar.

Exercise is also recommended in old wives tales. Stair exercises, walking, and squatting are all thought to open up the pelvis and put pressure on the cervix.

Finally, acupuncture, reflexology and acupressure are all highly recommended old wives tales to induce labor. All three of these methods have produced tremendous results for a lot of women, inducing labor in many women within only 48 hours of treatment. These are temperate, safe methods to induce labor which will only work if it is really time. They help your body become ready to go into labor by cleansing your energy of blockages. Acupressure can be performed at home by yourself or with a partner. You can also see a professional. It is well known that acupressure is one of the most effective old wives tales to induce labor!

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