10 Things to Avoid Doing to Induce Labor

Many expectant moms reach a point during their pregnancy when they're tired of it. You patiently await your due date, counting the days and preparing for the big day. But when you're due, and nothing happens, you can often feel that you've had enough. You are uncomfortable and sore. In your final stages of pregnancy, you might suffer from nagging headaches, countless trips to the loo, and disturbed sleep. You just want to get it over with. You've waited long enough to meet your baby, and you're tempted to take the matter into your own hands.

Even if you don't like the idea of inducing labor, you do like the idea of not being heavily pregnant anymore. Many women need to have their labor induced due to medical conditions. If the pregnancy becomes a risk to the mother or the child, like in the case of pre-eclampsia, there is no choice but to go in for a labor induction. This is a medical reason for your baby to be born as soon as possible, and, in this case, the doctor will call the shots.

However, at times, women go for labor inductions just because it is convenient. It is also possible that your preferred doctor is not available when you're due. Unless medically required, doctors advise not to go for labor induction until 39 weeks of pregnancy. Inducing labor is not simple and can be risky. You need to check with your doctor to see if inducing labor is more likely to help or harm your baby before you decide on any course of action.

There are things you can try at home to induce labor with your doctor's permission, but none of them are scientifically proven. But there are certain things you should avoid doing or taking to induce labor as they are more likely to harm you than cause significant benefit. Here is a list of 10 things to avoid.

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10 Eating Spicy Food

It is a popular myth that eating spicy food can bring on labor. There are no significant statistics to support this theory and no research has provided conclusive evidence to link spicy food with contractions. Spicy food stimulates your digestive system to the point of irritation. One of the side effects of this irritation is diarrhea, which leads to dehydration. When you're already suffering from aches all over your body, you don't want to add gas pains and diarrhea to the list of your extreme discomfort. It is important to eat healthy during pregnancy, and advisable to stay away from heaps of spices, especially if they're unknown to you. 

9 Incorporating Excessive Caffeine in Your Diet

Some people believe if you consume caffeine early in your pregnancy, you're exposed to the risk of preterm labor. Hence, some expectant moms stay away from coffee, colas, etc. This makes you wonder if consuming caffeine late in your pregnancy can actually induce labor, but this is not the case. There is no evidence that suggests inducing labor using caffeine actually works, so you should avoid attempting this.

Caffeine stimulates your nervous system, and you become more attentive. But, excessive intake of caffeine can lead to an increased heart rate and quicker respiration. Your blood is pumped to your limbs rather than to your central organs, and you can feel nervous and jittery. All these are symptoms you want to avoid during your pregnancy. Drinking coffee moderately is fine, but don't use caffeine in excessive amounts to induce labor. 

8 Taking a Dose of Castor Oil

Castor is known as a laxative, and not so much as a labor inducer, although the two are not completely unrelated. Castor oil makes the muscles of the intestines and uterus contract, which might help to kick start labor. However, there is no way castor oil can induce labor without affecting your intestines. This means even if you take a small dose, you can experience a lot of turmoil in your stomach leading to diarrhea and cramping. Women also feel nauseated after taking a dose of castor oil during pregnancy and both diarrhea and vomiting lead to dehydration. The severe cramping of your muscles coupled with dehydration can be dangerous for your baby, apart from making you severely uncomfortable. 

7 Having Sex

A number of mums believe that having sex brought on the much awaited labor. However, there is no medical evidence to prove that sex can trigger labor, so this is more myth than fact. The important thing to note is that sex during a late pregnancy is safe only as long as your water has not broken. Having sex after your water breaks can cause infection. It is also not safe to have sex to induce labor if you experienced vaginal bleeding or if you have a low-lying placenta. Also, sex in the later stages of pregnancy is easier said than done. If you do engage in sex, do so only because you and your partner feel like it, and not because you think it will induce labor. 

6 Using Herbs like Black/Blue Cohosh

Herbal people believe if you consume caffeine early in your pregnancy, you're exposed to the risk of preterm labor. Hence, some expectant moms stay away from coffee, colas, etc. This makes you wonder if consuming caffeine late in your pregnancy can actually induce labor, but this is not the case. There is no evidence that suggests inducing labor using caffeine actually works, so you should avoid attempting this.

With black cohosh, the main thing is to know the correct dosage. Large doses can cause seizures, vision impairment, headache, dizziness, sweating, and nausea. Although these might not lead to any permanent disability, they are sure to send you in a panic mode during a critical period. Cases of heart failure have been reported in children whose mothers used blue cohosh to induce labor. Since then, herb experts have steered away from the use of this herb to induce labor. 

5 Drinking Balsamic Vinegar

It is believed that drinking balsamic vinegar can induce labor during pregnancy, but there is no medical confirmation of this. In fact, traces of lead are found in balsamic vinegar which, when consumed in large quantities, can harm the fetus. It is best to stay away from this while you're pregnant because while it doesn't help you in any way; it might just cause you harm.

4 Indulging In a Glass of Wine

Medical practitioners worldwide advise pregnant women to stay away from excessive alcohol during pregnancy to reduce the risk of miscarriage. It is a known and accepted fact that excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can cause you to lose your pregnancy. It is strange, therefore, that some women believe in drinking alcohol to induce labor. In fact, a glass of wine in the later stages of pregnancy actually has an opposite effect; it might inhibit labor from occurring. Alcohol causes the uterus to relax and prevents early labor, it is certainly not recommended to induce labor. 

3 Evening Primrose Oil

There is no scientific evidence to establish whether evening primrose oil ripens your cervix during pregnancy, and whether it is safe. The best advice is not to induce labor on your own by using this oil, or do it under the close supervision of your doctor. Evening primrose oil does come with side effects, which is why it is advisable to avoid it during pregnancy. These adverse effects include headaches, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, and in extreme cases, seizures.

2 Using Quinine

In large doses, quinine can act as labor-inducing medicine, but it is used in the medical world as an abortifacient. This means it works as a substance that causes abortion. It can also cause birth defects like deafness when consumed in large amounts during pregnancy. If an expectant mom suffers from malaria, she is administered quinine as the risks to her pregnancy are small compared to the risk of death caused by this disease. However, if you're healthy, don't use quinine to bring on labor.

1 Bingeing on the Chocolate Labor Cake

This is a tough one. A large number of pregnant women crave chocolates at different stages of their pregnancy. It is said that eating a chocolate cake potentially induces labor, however, this is not true. A chocolate cake can lift your spirits, and give you tons of pleasure, but the story ends there. Doctors advise not to eat too much chocolate during pregnancy for two main reasons. First is the caffeine content, which is known to produce side effects when consumed in large quantities. Second is the calorific value of chocolate. Although, you probably won’t want to consume much chocolate during the last stage of your pregnancy because it will add to your weight. It is best to be careful and not overeat.

In general, it is best to let nature take its course. Allow your body tell you when it’s time for your baby to come. It may be difficult to continue waiting, but the reward will be worth it.

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