Myth-busting: The Best Food & Drinks to Induce Labour

Louise Broadbridge is Your Baby Club’s official midwife, the founder of Let's Talk Birth and Baby, and the face behind Instagram’s @thehonestmidwife. Today, she myth busts the best foods and drinks to induce labour.

So, your tiny new addition is all grown and ready for the outside world but appears to be just a little bit too comfortable in their current residence. Time for an eviction order? Is it time to serve notice? Just how do you get your current lodger to relocate to the outside world? There are lots of suggested ways to get things moving but, do any of them actually work and is there any evidence to support giving them a go? Let’s find out! Here are the most commonly suggested ways to get those contractions going…


pineapple on wooden chopping board

Pineapple is a lovely and refreshing snack but also contains enzyme bromelain which has been suggested could be helpful in softening the cervix. However, there is absolutely no scientific evidence to back this common folk theory up.

You would probably need to eat about 30 pineapples and their cores to go into labour and, let’s face it, your partner would probably go into labour if they ate that many pineapples!

Spicy Food

bowl of curry with red peppers

For years and years women have been urged to push their tolerance levels to the limits in order to consume the hottest of curries or the spiciest of pastas but, the reality is, all consuming unusually hot or spicy foods does is aggravate our tummies and give us a good dose of diarrhoea and an upset tummy.

You also have to wonder if you really want to go through labour having had a really spicy curry the day before!

Castor Oil

vial of oil with dropper

This is a very Old Wives Tale and one that should come with a very loud health warning.

All this will do is give you a very upset tummy, make you feel sick and probably give you diarrhoea. Those Old Wives can certainly cause a lot of trouble for a pregnant woman!

Raspberry Leaf Tea

raspberry leaf tea

Another suggested way to kickstart your body to labour. Sadly though, this is another one that has limited data to back it up. In addition, some doctors worry that it could cause contractions to be too intense if taken in very large quantities.

Midwives usually recommend to women that if they are going to have a cup of raspberry leaf tea to not do so until after 32 weeks of pregnancy.


pregnant lady with a handful of dates

Now, we may be getting somewhere.

There is actually some small, but good quality, research that suggests that eating dates on a daily basis from 34 weeks onwards may reduce the significance of bleeding, tearing and going overdue!

A word to the wise though, dates actually have a high sugar content so if you have diabetes you may want to avoid them.

So, the upshot is that in terms of foods and drinks, there are lots of suggestions out there, some of which are more likely to make you feel poorly than bring about the arrival of your baby, and it would seem dates have the most likelihood of getting things going. Sticky Toffee Pudding anyone?

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