November 9, 2021 9:10:10 am
While pregnancy is a joyous journey, it can also become a tad overwhelming, especially in the end-stages of gestation. The anticipation of birth can be both exciting and scary, especially for first-time mothers.
“Many times as the due date comes closer, mothers-to-be want to try and accelerate the process of labor naturally. They often resort to various forms of exercises, and some are even open to practising the techniques of perineal massage or nipple stimulation, and are most comfortable in consuming certain foods that are believed to help induce labor,” says Dr Vanshika Gupta Adukia, pregnancy/childbirth and lactation specialist, a pelvic floor physiotherapist and the founder of Therhappy.
“Not all foods believed to help induce labor are backed by research or evidence, however, towards the end of pregnancy, most of these pose no danger to either mother or child,” the doctor adds.
* Pineapple: This fruit is one of the first ones to top the ‘prohibited food list’ at the start of pregnancy. But towards the end, it is believed that pineapple can help aid the process of labor induction naturally. It contains an enzyme called bromelain that is believed to help with the process of cervical ripening which will then cause cervical dilation.
Keep in mind that the core of the pineapple is richest with the bromelain content and must be consumed as well.
* Date: Rich in fibre content, date is believed to help in the process of cervical ripening which can then induce labor naturally. Dates, however, are high in their sugar content and must be consumed wisely by cutting out on other forms of sugary foods. They are not suitable for those who have gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
* Unripe papaya: This is another fruit which sees itself on the list of foods to be avoided during pregnancy, but towards the last days of pregnancy, unripe raw papaya can actually help aid the beginning of labor. It contains latex which acts in a similar manner to the hormone oxytocin and can help bring the onset of labor.
Keep in mind that ripe orange papaya would not have the same effect and it is the raw unripe green papaya that one can try.
* Red raspberry leaf: Red raspberry leaves in the form of tea or a tincture are believed to help strengthen uterine contractions and aid pelvic muscle tone. For this reason, it is believed that regular consumption of these leaves closer to the due date can help with the process of natural labor. Since it also influences Braxton-Hicks contractions, consumption of these leaves is advised only towards the end of pregnancy, preferably after week 34.
“Although these foods can be consumed to help bring about the onset of labor, remember to trust your body and stay relaxed. The wait and watch approach also works and anxiety can actually prove to be detrimental, stalling labor instead,” Dr Adukia warns.
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