The Truth About Foods That Induce Labour

Foods that induce labour

You’ve passed your due date and there’s still no sign of any activity.

Where is this baby!? I hear you cry. Does it not want to be born? Onto the internet you jump and frantically look up all of the things you should be doing and eating to induce labour.

But stop for a second – are these foods that induce labour really safe?

What You Need to Know About Foods That Induce Labour

The internet is a wonderful thing, but with so much information at our fingertips, how do we know which of it is reliable?

When I was overdue with my daughter, I took to all sorts of pregnancy forums to find out how to get things going.

Even though I’d worked hard on eating well throughout my pregnancy, I was suddenly contemplating ingesting all sorts of weird things in the hope of meeting my little one a bit sooner.

With a range of online suggestions from exercise to ahem, other activities, I soon discovered that some advice was worth a try, while some of it was downright dangerous.

pregnant waiting for labour

Foods to Induce Labour

So what is the truth about some of the most commonly suggested induction foods on the internet?

Castor Oil

Drinking this disgusting gloop is a highly controversial method of inducing labour, and for good reason.

Not only can it cause nausea, diarrhea, dehydration and exhaustion, the severe cramping it brings on can also put the baby under stress by increasing its heart rate.

In some (but by no means all) cases, it can work to bring on labour. However it is not recommended as a safe method and I would advise to stay well away.

castor oil

Spicy Curry

The jury is out on this one, although many people argue it’s just hearsay.

The thinking behind it is that it stimulates your stomach, which in turn can get your uterus going. It’s pretty safe though (besides some potential heartburn), so dig in if you fancy it.


The enzyme ‘bromelain’ found in fresh and juiced pineapples is supposed to aid with the ripening of the cervix, but it’s very hit and miss and most likely requires a lot of pineapple.

Watch out for the laxative effect too if you do decide to give it a try.

sliced pineapple

Raspberry Leaf Tea

Drinking this from around 32 weeks is reported to help tone your uterine muscles in preparation for labour.

However, don’t start ingesting loads when you’re overdue, as it can cause very intense contractions that distress your baby.

Cinnamon Sticks

I tried a few desperate cups of cinnamon tea to no avail, but apparently it can help to ripen the cervix and kick-start labour.

That said, it’s believed in can in rare cases cause preterm labour if consumed in early pregnancy. I’d maybe give it a swerve just in case.

cinnamon sticks

Sitting on Coffee

Yep, the ‘coffee potty’ is a thing. Sitting on a steaming cup of coffee is not recommended by experts (funnily enough).

Unsurprisingly, the hot steam could both scald your poor lady parts and upset the delicate balance of natural bacteria.

foods to induce labour

Can You Really Induce Labour Naturally?

Although it can’t hurt to try some of the safer methods from the list if you are overdue (that means no sitting on your next Costa!), ultimately, your body will do the job when the time is right.

It can be incredibly frustrating, but eating to induce labour can often trigger even more disappointment when it doesn’t work. If you’re at all worried, seek professional medical advice rather than jumping on an internet forum.

I tried many-a-thing to get labour going, but my body and my baby just weren’t ready. At the time I felt like I had somehow failed in my womanly duty to give birth. I now know that it simply happens when it’s supposed to.

But hey, if curry and pineapple are your thing, then by all means give it a whirl.