What to Eat Before Being Induced

You Should Eat Very Lightly Before Induced Labor

Inducing labor is generally done when your due date has arrived, but your baby has not. After the 42nd week of pregnancy, complications can arise, so most birth professionals will recommend that you be induced. This is not an instant fix. Labor can still take hours or even days to proceed, so it's necessary to keep up your strength. But, induction can increase your chances of needing a Cesarean section, so you need to eat very lightly.

Being Induced

Pregnant woman eating  fresh healthy salad

What Foods Can Induce Labor?

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When labor does not start naturally, or if you are experiencing complications such as preeclampsia, high blood pressure, gestational diabetes or bleeding, your doctor may want to induce labor. This can be done by administering either prostaglandin or oxytocin, or by breaking the amniotic sac. Prostaglandin usually takes the form of a vaginal suppository. Oxytocin is administered through an intravenous feed, called an IV. Breaking the amniotic sac with a sterile instrument encourages your body to increase its natural supply of prostaglandin. All three of these methods can start, or hasten, your labor.

Myths and Legends

There are many popular beliefs surrounding foods that will start or speed up labor, from a specific romaine and watercress salad served in a Los Angeles restaurant, to licorice and pineapple to red raspberry leaf tea, which dates back to 1597. While some logical basis exists for believing that certain elements present in balsamic vinegar, black licorice and pineapple might affect your body enough to hasten or shorten labor, there is no definitive scientific proof.

What to Eat

Pregnant woman eating  fresh healthy salad

Is Indigestion a Sign of Labor?

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What kind of food to eat depends on how soon you are going to be induced. If you know the night before you're scheduled to be induced, you can have a reasonably hearty dinner, though it's still best to keep it light. Poultry, fish or a very small portion of lean beef, vegetables and a simple carbohydrate are best. If you are going to be induced later the same day, an even simpler snack such as a lightly toasted bagel and piece of fruit are best. Chicken or vegetable broth is also good, as is yogurt. The point is to limit the chances that you might vomit during labor and to have your stomach as empty as possible in case you need a C-section.

Warnings

Do not seek to be induced before you have reached 39 weeks of pregnancy. It has become fashionable to schedule births to occur on favorable or convenient dates, but the last few days of a baby's development are a crucial time of growth.

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