When you’re eagerly awaiting baby’s debut, you might be inclined to do what you can to kick start her departure from the home you’ve graciously provided for the past nine months. If the old standbys (long walks, spicy foods and sex) haven’t worked, there are some stranger ways to jumpstart labor that some soon-to-be moms swear by.
For this to work, it’s best if your fruit is fresh and raw—so put the canned variety back in the cupboard and head to the supermarket to pluck one from the produce aisle. The tropical treat doesn’t actually initiate contractions, but it does contain an enzyme called bromelain that is believed to help ripen (read: soften) the cervix.
The rumor behind this veggie has more to do with a specific dish: eggplant parmesan. (Though, some experts suggest it’s all about the seasonings, not the veg.) In fact, an Atlanta restaurant, Scalini’s, has become famous for sending more than 300 expectant mamas to the delivery room within 48 hours after eating its eggplant parmigiana. Get the baby-bringing recipe at scalinis.
3. Nipple stimulation
As awkward as it sounds, this trick is one of the only scientifically proven ways to jumpstart labor. Why? In response to the nipples being rubbed and rolled, your body releases oxytocin, a hormone that helps initiate contractions. If you’re up for giving the girls a go, the idea is to mimic the feeling of a newborn suckling. (We’ve heard some moms-to-be even break out the breast pump for this.)
Many mamas are big believers in getting a move on to encourage their tiny tenants to start packing. This could be anything from dancing to your favorite song, bouncing on a birthing ball (hey, gravity has to help a little, right?) or hiking up and down flights of stairs. Just be careful not to wear yourself out too early on— you’ve still got to push the baby out.
This follows the same train of thought as the old wives’ tale about castor oil, but fortunately doesn’t come with the same dreadful side effect of diarrhea. The thinking is that by flushing things out down below, you cause your bowels to contract, which could then cause the uterus to do the same. But, to us, it kind of sounds like a lot for a maybe (just sayin’).
Fancy reading more from Pregnancy & Newborn? Here are the 10 things your friends haven’t even told you about childbirth.