My wife and I were expecting our first baby to be born on Sunday. Kid, you're late! In the past few days, we've received numerous suggestions on ways to jump start the contractions. The tips haven't worked for us—yet—and a closer look at the methods has revealed a mix of valid science and old wives' tales.
Eat eggplant. Or pineapple. Or spicy foods.
The general consensus is that there is a lack of scientific proof that any of these foods can induce labor. The thinking, at least with the spicy foods, is that a jolt to the gut will stir things up. If you like eggplant parmesean, evidence suggests that eating it as part of a balanced diet can't hurt.
We have eaten a good deal of pro-labor meals, with little to show beyond culinary satisfaction.
Go for a walk.
Walking is often recommended as a way to begin labor, but there is not much proof that it works. Once labor begins, though, walking can help contractions become more rhythmic—it keeps the pelvis moving, helping labor progress as the baby finds its way out.
We walked 2.9 miles around Brooklyn yesterday. Couple of cramps.
Try primrose oil?
There is some evidence that primrose oil, either taken orally or applied directly to the cervix, can help bring on labor. Some doctors think it's not a sure bet. Either way, it's necessary to get medical approval, as it can cause harm in women with conditions like placenta previa.
Doesn't seem to do much, but we spent $12 on it, so we're using it.
Have some sex.
This was by far the most intriguing advice. It also came with surprising frequency. Just today, a colleague in Gizmodo's group chat made the suggestion:
Mat H. http://duckduckgo.com/?q=semen+labor
Mat H. Just FYI Harry. FYI.
The URL speaks for itself. And Mr. Honan has medical science on his side—semen, a prostaglandin, can help efface a cervix to induce labor. Or, to paraphrase midwife extraordinaire Ina May Gaskin: What got the baby in there will also get it out.
It's been absolutely great. No results. Who cares.
Every pregnancy is different. We've tried all of these remedies here in week 40, and the situation remains as it has been for almost a month: dilated to exactly one centimeter.