What do spicy food, castor oil, and sex have in common? They are the top three most popular labor inducing wive’s tales mentioned by our Sermo members.
We took the holiday Labor Day literally and asked our physician members to share with us their oddest obstetrics tale. We received over 173 interesting and hilarious comments.
The five most unusual wive’s tales we heard were:
- Riding a mechanical bull
- Eggplant Parmesan from Cobb. Co, GA
- In-laws visiting
- Shaving legs
These wives’ tales might raise an OB’s eyebrow, but some of them actually have some science, however tenuous, behind them.
Riding a mechanical bull and Gymnastics
One doctor witnessed a woman ride a mechanical bull and go into labor the next day while another doctor had a patient swing from a gymnastics pole she had installed in her room. That patient went into labor just six hours after her gymnastics routine.
How would either of these two ways induce labor? Both methods include moving the body and essentially, ‘exercising’. According to parenting.com, movement to the body may start contractions by irritating the uterus. Exercise also causes the body to become dehydrated which signals the body to produce a hormone similar to Oxytocin to preserve water in the body. This particular hormone can produce labor-like symptoms which may feel like contractions.
If you were to visit Scalinis, an Italian restaurant, located in Smyrna, Georgia, you would find nearly 300 pictures of babies along their walls. What these ‘Eggplant babies’ have in common is they were all born shortly after their mothers had eaten Scalinis’ famous Eggplant Parmigiana, a plate of breaded eggplant smothered in cheese and thick marinara sauce. There is no scientific explanation to this phenomenon but you can visit their page and read comments from more than 70 happy mothers. Could it possibly be a simple psychosomatic trigger?
A few of our doctors credited visiting in-laws for accelerating their labor. Though the presence of in-laws can’t be the sole reason for inducing labor, stress can play a factor. Visiting family and in-laws have long been said to be a component of stress. Corticotropin-releasing hormones(CRH), regulates the length of pregnancy and is also a stress response released when the body is under pressure. While normal to low levels of stress may not greatly affect a pregnancy, high levels can cause premature births as reveled by a 1999 study conducted by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology measured high levels stress in early births.
One of our physicians wrote, “Shaving my legs did it for me. I was so nervous about having hairy legs. Went into labor an hour later. Must have been all the contorted positions I had to get into.”
While we could not find any evidence to support this claim, we reasoned the movements of shaving combined with unusual positions may prompt contractions.
Have you tried any of these methods? Do your own unusual or interesting story to share? We would love to hear them! If you are an MD or D.O., we will be continuing this conversation in Sermo.
This post is not meant for medical advice. If you are seeking ways to naturally induce labor, please see your doctor for advice.