Okra Pregnancy Labor

Benefits of okra during labor

Eating Lady Finger (Okra) during Pregnancy - Is It Good?

In This Article

Last Updated on February 12, 2021

A good diet of fresh vegetables can make a great difference to your body, especially during pregnancy. With the number of changes your body is going through, it is important that you provide it with enough nutrition to sustain and accommodate these changes. Vegetables like okra can be ideal for your pregnancy diet. Let’s find out about all about okra, or lady’s finger, benefits during pregnancy.

Nutritional Value of Lady’s Finger

Okra stores a lot of nutritional components in its tiny frame. Here is a chart with the nutritional value of the vegetable:

Nutritional componentValue per 100 grams
Energy28 kcal
Carbohydrates3.62 g
Fibre4 g
Fat0.22 g
Protein2.0 g
Vitamin A11.52 mg
Vitamin B9 or Folate63.68 g
Vitamin C22.51 mg
Calcium86 mg
Magnesium66 mg

Health Benefits of Okra During Pregnancy

Okra extends several benefits to pregnant women. It is a low-calorie vegetable, and is rich in folate and riboflavin, which are essential for the healthy development of the baby. Some of the benefits of eating okra during pregnancy are:

1. Packed with Vitamin C

Vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron in the body, which promotes your baby’s growth. As an antioxidant, Vitamin C also prevents cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. It further promotes immunity and the development of skin, capillaries, and bones in your baby.

2. Rich in Folate

Okra is a good source of folate: folic acid can help prevent the risk of birth defects in babies. Consuming okra is especially recommended between the 4th and the 12th weeks of pregnancy, as this is when the neural tubes in your baby develop. Folic acid in okra aids this development.

3. Good Source of Antioxidants

Okra has an abundance of antioxidants which can build your baby’s immune system, promote foetal growth, and lower the risk of ailments and cardiovascular diseases or diabetes in the baby.

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4. Packed with Fibre

A rich combination of soluble and insoluble dietary fibre makes okra an excellent choice to prevent constipation during pregnancy. The soluble fibre reduces the risk of diabetes, and even cuts down cholesterol in the blood.

5. Promotes Good Sleep

Essential amino acids like tryptophan are present in okra, along with oils and proteins that are known to improve mental well-being, and aid in getting quality sleep.

Apart from these benefits, okra can also remove toxins from your body, as the mucus and the fibre in okra stabilise the glucose in the blood. Pregnant women can also consume okra to maintain their skin and hair, especially if they are affected by rashes and hair fall.

Promotes Good Sleep

How to Include Okra in Your Pregnancy Diet

With this multitude of benefits, adding bhindi in your pregnancy diet is something on which you shouldn’t miss out. Here are some tips on how to add okra to your diet, and some precautions you need to follow while doing so:

  • Ensure that you wash the okra thoroughly with water before cutting or cooking it. This helps prevent any risk of infection.
  • Try to cook okra on low heat to prevent losing out on essential nutrients.
  • You can try a simple recipe: clean the okra, slit into vertical halves, coat them in gram flour, and fry them. This can serve as a delicious finger food.
  • You can also coat the sliced okra with egg and breadcrumbs, and fry it.
  • You can also make okra soup or curry, as per your liking.

Okra is a wonder food that has no harmful side effects to your body during pregnancy. You can consume it every day to improve the health of both you and your baby. However, if you notice any allergic reactions to the vegetable, or feel any physical discomfort after eating it, it is recommended that you consult a doctor to rule out any serious issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will consuming okra help during labor?

It is believed that okra will increase the chances of easy labor and delivery, but there is no scientific evidence supporting the claim.

2. Does okra cause miscarriage?

No, okra is not known to cause miscarriage and is a safe addition to your pregnancy diet.

3. Is pickled okra safe to eat during pregnancy?

Yes, pickled okra is safe as long as you take in moderation.

Okra is almost without any side effects. You can include it every day in your diet with no worry. In case, you notice any allergic reaction to the vegetable, stop its consumption and consult your doctor.

Consuming lady’s finger or okra during pregnancy can enrich your diet with folate essential for fetal neuronal development. Lady’s finger is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber which supports the increased nutritional requirements when pregnant. In addition, its water-soluble fiber content aids digestion and helps manage diabetes. Taking okra water is also found to regulate cholesterol. You may include okra in the diet in the form of stew, fry, or roast. Okra also helps ease the process of childbirth, though the claim lacks scientific evidence.

What To Eat in Last Month of Pregnancy For Normal Delivery

Entering the 9th month of pregnancy builds a lot of excitement and nervousness as you will have your tiny bundle of joy into your hands anytime soon. Eating the right food is crucial as the baby gains maximum fat and body mass during this period with his brain and lungs developing. 9th month pregnancy diet precisely includes food that will aid in proper weight gain to the baby.


Importance of Diets and Foods for The 9th Month of Pregnancy:

In the Ninth month of pregnancy, the body structure of a baby is almost developed. The baby gains most of its weight during this period. Just entering this month you can feel more weight, which can affect your digestive process. That’s why you need to back up your body nutrients with proper diet. In this article, we will discuss the right foods that you need to intake for the maximum benefit and how an Indian diet during 9th month pregnancy looks like.

9-Month Pregnant Diet Chart:

Here we have tried to summarize what foods to eat and what to avoid from the nutrition point of view along with the examples of the foods that provide the said nutrients. Have a look here:

Foods To Eat for 9th Month Pregnancy Diet:

 Fibre-Rich Foods:

Fibre is essential throughout the pregnancy and especially during the 9ht month when the problem of constipation is severe. You should include this component in 9th Month of Pregnancy Diet by consuming fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains etc. Also, more common sources are avocados, broccoli, white beans, black beans, cauliflowers, green leaves, corns etc. Balance the consumption of fibre by drinking lots of water which will ensure proper maintenance of water level in the intestines.https://googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/ads?client=ca-pub-5008630557429314&format=336×280&w=336&h=280&ptt=12&iu=6684770532&adk=3844905207&output=html&bc=7&pv=1&wgl=1&asnt=0-26891253941523027051&dff=Roboto%2C%20sans-serif&prev_fmts=300×250%2C300x600&prev_slotnames=7488847638%2C1861116434&brdim=0%2C0%2C0%2C0%2C1366%2C0%2C1366%2C646%2C1366%2C543&ifi=3&pfx=0&adf=4221062667&nhd=0&adx=307&ady=2069&oid=2&is_amp=5&amp_v=2205191749000&d_imp=1&c=35007077&ga_cid=amp-xQp_dwc3kzKVuQvUY5aoKg&ga_hid=7077&dt=1654186481583&biw=1366&bih=543&u_aw=1366&u_ah=646&u_cd=24&u_w=1366&u_h=768&u_tz=60&u_his=1&vis=1&scr_x=0&scr_y=131&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstylesatlife.com%2Farticles%2F9th-moth-pregnancy-diet%2F&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&bdt=240092&uap=Windows&uapv=10.0.0&uaa=x86&uafv=102.0.5005.62&uab=64&dtd=1007&__amp_source_origin=https%3A%2F%2Fstylesatlife.com

Iron-Rich Foods:

Iron is the mineral that prevents anaemia during pregnancy. Pregnancy can be the reason for unusual blood escape or haemorrhage of blood vessels. It can lead to a shortage of haemoglobin in your body. To reduce the effect, you need to Diet in 9th Month of Pregnancy, including 25 to 27 mg consumption of iron per day. Some fresh and natural sources are lentils, eggs, berries, raisins, spinach, dry foods, soybeans chicken, fish etc.

See More: Diet During 8Th Month Of Pregnancy

Folic Acid Rich Foods:

Folic acid helps to resist congenital disabilities in a baby such as asspina Bifida. It also helps to construct red blood cells and DNA structure. Needless to say that it is one of the vital components that the body requires at the time of 9 Month Pregnancy Diet Plan which can be sufficed by consuming 600 to 800 mg per day. Some very common sources of folic acid within your reach are chickpeas, legumes, green leaves, papaya, cereal, oats, asparagus, lentils, oranges etc.

Calcium-Rich Foods:

Calcium is required in a large quantity at this stage. You need to give a strong bone structure to your baby as well as you need to make yourself fit for an upcoming delivery. It is more important than anything to include calcium components in Diet during the 9th Month of Pregnancy to give birth to a healthy baby. You can avail calcium in various foods like bananas, green leaves, fish, lean meats, nuts, eggs, dairy products, sesame, almonds, oats etc.

DHA Enriched Foods:

It is the type of fatty acid that is essential for brain development. You should consume 200 mg of DHA per day by various foods to provide your inside baby with the basic ingredients to develop the frontal loop of the brain. This element can be available through fruit juices, egg, milk, peanut butter etc.

Vitamin A Rich Foods:

Vitamin A helps to develop blood cells, eyes, skin, immunity, and the power of resisting infection inside the baby body. The foods enriched by vitamin A are such as sweet potatoes, spinach, cantaloupe, carrots etc. You need to consume this vitamin also by daily intake.

Vitamin C Enriched Foods:

It is one of the essential components during this trimester stage. It helps to accelerate the burn of iron in the blood. You should take 80 mg Vitamin C per day by natural foods. It is available through different citrus foods, broccoli, tomatoes, oranges, cauliflowers etc.

Protein Enriched Foods:

Including protein in the right quantity in the body is very important during this final month of pregnancy. It is the vital component which gives the baby and you the source of strength. In this stage, you need to consume 50 to 55 gram of protein by a day. The common sources are egg whites, tofu, milk, yoghurt, fish, chicken etc.

Vitamin B12 Enriched Foods:

You can absorb the Vitamin B12 component by the various source of nature such as chicken, fish, dairy products, milk etc. As well as yo8u can take the supplement for this vitamin.

Carbohydrate Enriched Foods:

Some common and available sources of carbohydrates are berries, vegetables, whole grain bread, legumes, pasta, sweet potatoes, beans watermelons etc. Consume the complex carbohydrates instead of simple ones daily in quantity as per the doctor’s recommendation.

See More: 7Th Month Of Pregnancy Diet Chart

Foods To Not to Eat For 9th Month Pregnancy Diet:


Soft Cheese:

Avoid ripened cheese like brie, blue veins etc. It may contain listeria amount, which is an unexpected component for delivery. It may create difficulties during pregnancy. If you are fond of cheese, then go for hard cheese.


The caffeinated content may increase the symptoms of constipation during the last stage of pregnancy. If you are habituated by coffee, then you need to get rid of this habit. To make it easier, you can consume a huge amount of water of fruit juices.

Alcohol and Tobacco:

Alcohol and tobacco may create several complications during the time of pregnancy. Also, it has an adverse effect like unusual bleeding and may cause miscarriage at this final stage. That’s why you should avoid all this addiction by hook or crook.

Unpasteurized Milk:

The milk without pasteurization can prove to be extremely dangerous for a pregnant lady, especially in the final stage. The raw milk should strictly avoid along with goat milk because it is very risky at the time of pregnancy. It can create toxoplasmosis during the third trimester of pregnancy.


It contains listeria and may damage by creating listeriosis in uterus bed. It is a must avoid in pregnancy to avoid any serious complications. Otherwise, the consumption of this content may damage the baby life inside the uterus. It can be the reason of miscarriage birth and leads to a sick baby born. You should avoid pates in terms of a healthy delivery.

Indian Diet During 9th-Month Pregnancy:

The following is a typical example of a 9th-month pregnancy diet in India. You can bring variations in it as you know what to eat and what to avoid. The diet plan here is based on the 3000Kcal required by a normal Indian 9 month pregnant woman:

  • Milk or paneer.
  • Anyone of the following.
  • Vegetable Daliya.
  • A Vegetable Upma.
  • Vegetable poha.
  • Wheat flakes.
Mid-morning snack:
  • A bowl of fresh fruits.
  • One plate salad.
  • One bowl dal.
  • One bowl vegetables of your choice.
  • 3 rotis.
  • Raita/curd/buttermilk.
Evening snack:
  • One glass A2 cow milk.
    Anyone of the following:
  • Bhunna channa.
  • One besan chilla.
  • One boiled egg.
  • A bowl of fresh fruits.
  • One bowl sprouts.
  • One plate fresh salad.
  • One bowl vegetables.
  • One bowl dal or curd.
  • 3 chappati.
  • Dessert or.
  • Milk.

See More: 6Th Month Of Pregnancy Diet Chart

Supplements That Are to be Taken and Not to Be Taken During 9th-Month Pregnancy:

The two supplements that every pregnant lady needs to take throughout the pregnancy are the iron supplement and folic acid supplement. An iron supplement is required so that you have a sufficient amount of blood produced and you do not go anaemic while the folic acid supplement is vital to prevent any congenital disabilities in the newborn. Apart from these, whether any supplement is required to be taken or not during the 9th-month pregnancy will depend on case to case basis. Your doctor on the examination will decide what types of supplements will be required to be taken by you.

Weight Gain During 9th Month Pregnancy Diet:

A pregnant woman in her 9th month of pregnancy gains the maximum weight as the baby gains the maximum weight during this period. The baby is fully developed by know and puts on maximum fat and mass in this period. Hence it is required to consume proper food to increase baby weight in the 9th month.https://googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/ads?adsid=ChEI8L_hlAYQsd3wr_yP4ODWARI5ADF19AHbghAjyqtCQ-apmsiOcpQJOWWU37FP_Yo9ZYUNYEur29yPMQxg4JctK8fFCJ8Wh5YtnER5&jar=2022-06-02-16&client=ca-pub-5008630557429314&format=336×280&w=336&h=280&ptt=12&iu=2157901980&adk=2819533141&output=html&bc=7&pv=1&wgl=1&asnt=0-369804652220293394&dff=Roboto%2C%20sans-serif&prev_fmts=300×250%2C300x600%2C336x280%2C300x300%2C336x280&prev_slotnames=7488847638%2C1861116434%2C6684770532%2C9731388661%2C9686338394&brdim=0%2C0%2C0%2C0%2C1366%2C0%2C1366%2C646%2C1366%2C543&ifi=6&pfx=0&adf=1845553993&nhd=0&adx=307&ady=7533&oid=2&is_amp=5&amp_v=2205191749000&d_imp=1&c=35007077&ga_cid=amp-xQp_dwc3kzKVuQvUY5aoKg&ga_hid=7077&dt=1654186489564&biw=1366&bih=543&u_aw=1366&u_ah=646&u_cd=24&u_w=1366&u_h=768&u_tz=60&u_his=1&vis=1&scr_x=0&scr_y=6238&url=https%3A%2F%2Fstylesatlife.com%2Farticles%2F9th-moth-pregnancy-diet%2F&ref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F&bdt=248073&uap=Windows&uapv=10.0.0&uaa=x86&uafv=102.0.5005.62&uab=64&dtd=141&__amp_source_origin=https%3A%2F%2Fstylesatlife.com

Additional Tips for 9th Month Pregnancy Diet:

  • Make sure your diet has all the required nutrients, and if the diet cannot fulfil the requirements then you must take additional supplements such as:
  • Iron supplement.
  • Calcium supplement.
  • Multivitamin supplement.
  • Folic acid supplement.
  • Cut back on foods such as candies, cheese, fried foods, desserts that are high in calories and low in nutrition as they will unnecessarily add to your pregnancy weight.
  • Eat a lot of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains instead of these unhealthy food options.
  • Split the meals into 6-7 smaller portions rather than 3 big meals.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Do 15-20 minutes of exercise to keep a check on swelling, constipation, heartburn etc.
    Avoid taking the stress.

A proper diet through whole pregnancy period will help you to get a healthy baby. In the ninth month pregnancy diet, you should keep more attention on a nutritious diet. You need to take nutrients and essential components in the proper ratio. Apart from doing your dieting, you also need to keep yourself hygienic and stay fit for the very close due delivery date.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers;

Q1. Is walking well during the 9th month of pregnancy?

Ans: Walking is an important exercise during pregnancy, and one must follow it throughout the pregnancy. It has some amazing benefits. Going for a walk and following the 9th-month pregnancy diet can aid in normal delivery of the baby.

Q2. How can I increase my weight during the 9th month of pregnancy?

Ans: During the 9th month of pregnancy, the baby gains the maximum body weight and hence, the pregnancy weight increases a lot during this 9th month. By following the 9th-month pregnancy diet and eating only healthy and nutritious food can assure the proper growth of the baby without putting on those extra kilograms in the pregnancy weight. Gaining a lot of body weight during pregnancy may render difficulty in delivering the baby normally.

Q3. What are the symptoms of delivery in the ninth month?

Ans: The following are the common signs that labour is approaching:

  • The frequent urge of urination.
  • Dilation of the cervix.
  • Back pain.
  • Contractions.
  • Mucus plug passes.
  • Water bag bursts.
  • Thinning of the cervix.

Okra During Pregnancy Third Trimester

By the time you’re 39 or 40 weeks pregnant, you may be willing to try just about anything to bring on labor more quickly, like firing up a search for “labor-inducing foods” and hitting the stores for a cart full of pineapple, eggplant and raspberry leaf tea.

But do any of the foods commonly thought to induce labor actually work? And more importantly, are they safe?Top Articles10 Benefits of Exercise During PregnancyHealth Benefits of Pregnancy and Motherhood20 Strong Boy Names With Powerful MeaningsREAD MORE18 Unisex Baby Names for a Boy or a Girl6 Surprising Pregnancy Symptoms — for Partners!What Does It Mean to Have an Anterior Placenta?20 Strong Boy Names WithPowerful Meanings


Can certain foods really induce labor?

Unfortunately, there is no miracle food that will bring on labor, at least as far as medical science is concerned. (Old wives’ tales are a different story.)

So why do so many moms swear that eating a particular food kick-started their labor? Many of the foods that are reputed to bring on labor really bring on gastrointestinal distress or diarrhea, which can include cramping and uterine contractions.

If your body is ready to go into labor, the cramping and contractions caused by GI distress might get the process started faster … but with side effects ranging from the uncomfortable (hours in the bathroom) to the unsafe (dehydration).

So before trying any food, herb or supplement purported to help bring on labor, talk with your practitioner and get his or her okay first. While consuming certain things may seem like a safe, natural way to induce labor, some foods and drinks can have an unpleasant or unsafe effect.

Foods and drinks that may induce labor

Here are some of the foods and drinks commonly thought to induce labor, and what the science says about each.

Castor oil

Research has shown that castor oil can bring on contractions, but while this folk method for kick-starting labor has been used for generations, doctors are less likely to recommend it today due to its intense laxative effect, which can cause serious discomfort and dehydration.

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Evening primrose oil

A recent clinical trial found that evening primrose oil was not effective in inducing labor. Still, some practitioners may recommend taking evening primrose oil to help get labor started. 

Why? Evening primrose oil contains an omega-3 fatty acid called gamma linolenic acid, or GLA, a precursor to prostaglandins. Prostaglandins, also found in sperm, are hormone-like substances that help soften the cervix in preparation for birth — one reason sex is a touted as a natural way to induce labor.

Red raspberry leaf tea

Red raspberry leaf tea has been said to boost blood flow to the uterus and thereby trigger contractions. No study has proven these claims, however, and experts say that the lack of quality data makes this tea a risky bet.


You may have read that eating a whole pineapple can start labor due to the enzyme bromelain, which is thought to help soften the cervix and trigger contractions. Again, this theory has yet to be supported by clinical evidence. 

Very few studies have looked at eating pineapple or drinking pineapple juice as a way to induce labor, but the little research that does exist suggests only that pineapple extract can cause contractions when applied directly to tissue samples — not when the pineapple is eaten.

Spicy foods

Spicy food can irritate your intestines, much like castor oil (albeit more gently), which may cause cramping and uterine contractions for women who are already dilated. That said, there’s no evidence to support the theory that spicy food induces labor. 

To date, only one study has found a connection between eating spicy food and going into labor — but that study focused only on preterm births. Dousing food in hot sauce still hasn’t been proven to help induce labor for a pregnant woman at 40 weeks or beyond. 

One thing spicy food is very likely to cause? Heartburn — which you’ve probably already had more than enough of during pregnancy.


In one small study, women who ate six dates per day in the month leading up to their due dates had a higher chance of going into labor on their own and had higher cervical dilation when they were admitted. A more recent study suggests that eating dates has no impact on kick-starting labor, but may help with later stages of labor. 

Dates are naturally high in fiber, and a sudden increase in the amount of fiber can cause cramping and digestive issues, so it’s possible that the effect of eating extra dates every day is similar to the effect of eating lots of spicy foods while pregnant. That said, without further study, there’s no evidence that dates are effective at inducing labor.


Eating eggplant to induce labor has not been studied, so there’s no medical proof that it works. 

Eggplant’s reputation as a possible labor kick-starter is most likely due to a famous eggplant parmesan dish at a restaurant near Atlanta, Georgia, called Scalini’s, known for its “eggplant babies.” According to lore, when pregnant women eat the dish, they go into labor within two days. If you’d like to give it a try, the recipe is on the restaurant’s website. There’s no scientific evidence that it will work, but at least you’ll have a delicious dinner.

Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar has not been studied as a food that induces labor, so, again, there’s a lack of data to suggest whether it works. 

Balsamic seems to be another ingredient that has gotten a reputation for jump-starting labor thanks to a well-known restaurant dish — the “maternity salad” at Caioti Pizza Café in Studio City, California, which comes with a homemade balsamic vinegar dressing that some moms claim is the “secret sauce.” While it sounds delicious, there’s no research to back it up.

Is it safe to eat foods that induce labor?

Talk to your practitioner before taking any herbal tonics or supplements such as castor oil, red raspberry leaf tea or evening primrose oil.

That said, most of the foods credited with kick-starting labor, such as pineapple, dates, eggplant parm and spicy dishes, are perfectly safe to eat in moderation during pregnancy, although they can sometimes lead to heartburn or an upset stomach.

Natural Ways to Induce Labor

Should you try inducing labor yourself with certain foods?

While the last days of pregnancy can be frustrating and uncomfortable, it’s important to play it safe and keep yourself healthy, well-rested and well-hydrated … pretty much the opposite of how you’d feel after a bout of GI distress brought on by eating a crate of pineapples.

Be gentle and patient with your body — as hard as that might sound — and talk to your practitioner about natural ways to get labor started once you’ve reached your due date.

Should you try castor oil to induce labor?

Castor oil has been shown to help start labor in some women, but its powerful laxative side effects are so unpleasant that your doctor may not recommend it.

Castor oil causes nausea, cramping, upset stomach, diarrhea and sometimes vomiting, but in multiple studies, castor oil has also been shown to induce labor within 24 hours for more than half of women at term who took a dose.

If you do get the green light to try castor oil from your health care practitioner after you’ve passed your due date, follow the dosing recommendations carefully, drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and monitor your symptoms.

Experienced moms also suggest taking castor oil with orange juice to mask the taste, and glugging the stuff in the morning, so you’re not up all night in the bathroom.

Does pineapple induce labor?

Eating pineapple or drinking pineapple juice has not been proven to induce labor.

Pineapple (and its tropical cousin papaya) contains the enzyme bromelain, which is believed by some to soften the cervix and trigger contractions, but no research has shown that bromelain or pineapple actually have this effect. This could be because your stomach acids break down enzymes in food during digestion, or because most of the bromelain in pineapple is in the fruit’s core, not in the fleshy part that we eat.

That said, one serving of pineapple is a good source of vitamin C, folate, iron and other nutrients essential to a healthy pregnancy diet, so there’s no reason to avoid pineapple during pregnancy … but there’s also no reason to stock up on canned pineapple if you’re hoping to get labor going.

Should you drink red raspberry leaf tea to induce labor?

Red raspberry leaf tea has been used to kick-start contractions and speed up labor and postpartum recovery since the Middle Ages. However, the research on whether it actually works is limited.

While it’s reputed to strengthen and stimulate the uterine muscles, and boost blood flow to the uterus, only two studies have shown red raspberry leaf tea to have a potential positive impact on labor — and neither of them showed that it actually induced labor.

Also experts can’t say for sure that it’s safe without further study. If red raspberry leaf tea does stimulate the uterine muscles, it could potentially pose a risk of preterm labor, so it’s best to avoid drinking it before your pregnancy is considered at term.

What’s more, red raspberry leaf tea is known to have a laxative and diuretic effect, so drinking it might mean some repeat trips to the bathroom. Be sure to talk it over with your health care provider before giving red raspberry leaf tea a try.

Should you take evening primrose oil to induce labor?

Evening primrose oil may soften the cervix and help the body prepare for labor, but studies have not shown it to be an effective labor inducer. Many women try evening primrose oil as an alternative to other cervical ripening agents an OB/GYN may use, such as a prostaglandin based gel or insert, but make sure to get your practitioner’s greenlight first.

The herb can be taken orally in capsule form or inserted vaginally, and side effects include may include nausea, diarrhea and upset stomach.

Foods to avoid before labor

In addition to the better-known list of foods to avoid during pregnancy, such as unpasteurized dairy, undercooked meat, raw seafood and deli meats, some foods have been linked to starting labor too early.  

Licorice root

A chemical in licorice root called glycyrrhizin has been linked to preterm births in a recent study, as well as potential long-term health risks for babies when consumed in large quantities. The study originated in Finland, where licorice root is especially popular, but the National Institutes of Health recommends against taking licorice root supplements, especially if you are pregnant.

Black or blue cohosh

Black cohosh has long been suggested as a uterine stimulant to help kick-start labor, but studies have not shown it to be effective in getting labor started. Like all herbal supplements, black cohosh should be used with caution during pregnancy. Blue cohosh, which is made from a different plant, should be avoided altogether. It has also been known to cause contractions, but its effects are more dangerous and it has been linked to serious health problems for babies and pregnant women.

When to call the doctor

It’s understandable to look for safe ways to get labor going when you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy rope. Keep your practitioner in the loop about how you’re feeling, and discuss the best ways to bring on labor based on your individual medical history and health record.

Most important of all, don’t try to induce labor before 40 weeks, and talk to your health care provider before taking herbal supplements such as castor oil, red raspberry leaf tea or evening primrose oil. If you experience low back pain, abdominal cramping or bleeding, seek medical attention immediately.

There’s no proof that any foods will start labor before your body is good and ready. So you might just have to make the best of the waiting.Plan a night out before your baby’s arrival. Wear a fun outfit and go to a super fancy restaurant with your partner or a few pals. Make sure to order your favorite appetizer and main course — with an eye on the dessert cart to come. Sit down, relax and indulge in a really good meal, and take comfort in the fact that you’re enjoying the calm before the storm!

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