Top 12 Foods That Can Help Induce Labour Naturally

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Aruna Kalra (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
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While there has not been enough research supporting the theory that any foods can induce labour, many women swear by certain foods that have helped them start labour. Here we look at some of the foods that women have commonly claimed to have helped them induce labour.

Foods to Induce Labour for Expectant Moms

Here is a list of foods you can consume to induce labour and bring you face to face with your little one a bit sooner.

1. Pineapple


Fresh Pineapple contains an enzyme called Bromelain which is rarely found elsewhere. Bromelain helps soften the cervix and stimulate the smooth muscles, which is known to start labour.

2. Green Papaya

Green papaya

Raw green papayas are abundant in the enzyme Papin. Papaya leaves contain latex, which acts as prostaglandin and oxytocin and can help start contractions. The more the papaya ripens, the more papin is lost which is why consuming a ripened papaya will not have any effect when it comes to inducing labour.

3. Spicy Foods

Spicy food

While it is quite common for expectant mothers to eat spicy food to induce labour, it is something that mothers-to-be should avoid if they want to have a natural and pain-free birth.

When a baby is born naturally, the pressure released as the baby is going down the birth canal releases endorphins, which helps relieve pain. Certain spicy foods release capsaicin which can work against the body during labour as it counteracts the natural endorphins that the body produces during labour.

4. Black Licorice

Black licorice

Black liquorice can stimulate the production of prostaglandins due to the chemical glycyrrhizin. However, consuming too much of this can result in mild diarrhoea, which causes mild contractions in the intestines. This results in a sympathetic contraction of the uterus, thus starting labour.

5. Garlic


Garlic stimulates the bowels, helping empty them out which can help in starting labour. It is one of the most popular foods to induce labour.

6. Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Red raspberry leaf tea

Red raspberry tea, which is believed to tone and strengthen the uterus,  is also said to produce contractions in the muscles in the uterus. If you drink red raspberry leaf tea every day from your thirty-second week of pregnancy, you will reduce the chances of post-term pregnancy.

7. Castor Oil

Castor oil

Castor oil extracted straight from the bean of the plant is one of the foods that induce labour quickly. Women have used castor oil to induce labour for centuries. Even though consumption of castor oil is safe, it can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in rare cases, which can be very uncomfortable amid labour.

8. Cumin Tea

Cumin tea

Cumin is a common aid in digestive tract issues. It provides relief from bloating and helps start the menstruation cycle. It can also be used to induce labour. Add some sugar or honey to make it taste better if you do not like the taste.

9. Black Cohosh

Black cohosh

This medicinal herb was used to treat women’s health issues related to menstruation, menopause and others as it seems to have effects that are very similar to the oestrogen that is naturally produced by the body. This was also used to induce labour in pregnant women. There are two other types of cohosh, blue and white. But remember this, that they are not the same as black cohosh and should not be used instead of it.

10. Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil

Evening primrose oil is something that most midwives will recommend pregnant women who want to induce labour. The body converts a substance in the oil into prostaglandins. This helps in softening and diluting the cervix, resulting in induced contractions.

11. Balsamic Vinegar

Balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar originates in Italy and is made from freshly harvested white grape juice. It is often used as salad dressing. Some women take shots of balsamic vinegar to induce labour as it does the work of castor oil without causing nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea.

12. Basil and Oregano

Basil and oregano

These herbs are the main seasoning for the eggplant parmesan dish that was very popular amongst pregnant women for inducing labour.

Other Tips to Bring on Labour Quickly

Eating foods that are said to aid in inducing labour may not be enough, so try out these few tips and tricks to help bring on labour.

1. Exercise

Exercises keep your body active and healthy enough to be able to bear the physical stress involved in labour. Any activity that gets your heart racing is good.

2. Acupuncture

The body will be stimulated to release oxytocin, which plays an essential role in childbirth. This method is an ancient Chinese way of sticking very fine needles into parts of the body that control a specific organ.

3. Acupressure

While acupuncture requires the use of fine needles, acupressure involves putting pressure on the parts of the body that runs along the meridian system of the body. Check with your doctor before you make any appointments for acupressure.

4. Sex

Sex can help release oxytocin, which is essential to begin labour. While it is safe to have sex even when you are nine months pregnant, it is not safe to have sex after your water has broken as it increases the risk of infection.

5. Nipple Stimulation

When the nipples are stimulated, they can cause the uterus to contract, which will cause labour to start.

It is always advised to allow your baby to come out naturally, as it can shorten the time spent in the hospital and also the healing time quickens. However, if you are eager to induce labour, be sure to speak to your doctor about any method you choose.

Also Read: 

Does Squats Help for Inducing Labour
How Tea Helps to Induce Labour
Essential Oils for Inducing Labour
Reflexology to Induce Labour

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Aarohi Achwal holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and a master’s degree in English Literature. While working as an intern for an English daily, she realised that she likes writing above anything else. The idea of being heard without having to speak appeals to her. She likes to write research-based articles that are informative and relevant. She has written articles on pregnancy, parenting, and relationships. And she would like to continue creating content on health and lifestyle.