Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are soon to become parents for the first time. The exact due date of the royal baby has remained shrouded in mystery, yet when she slips towards her due date there are certain foods that it has been said can induce labour.
To confirm whether a spicy curry can speed things along, Deliveroo Nutritionist Olivia Bates has detailed and debunked some old wives tales.
“With Meghan so close to labour, consuming pineapple may assist in playing a role in giving the so-called ‘last push’ to women on the verge of active labour”, says Olivia. “It is also thought to reduce the duration of labour. Interestingly, the potential role of pineapple in reducing the duration of labour is a consequence of the enzyme bromelain. Furthermore, bromelain is also thought to act as a prostaglandin. Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances which act in various bodily functions including the contraction and relaxation of smooth muscles. This explains how bromelain act to help soften the cervix.”
Olivia’s Pick: “An açai bowl for breakfast like the Tropic Thunder Bowl from Açai brothers - (Acai, banana, buckini, pineapple, orange, essential oil & mango).”
“While there is no actual scientific evidence to date supporting the consumption of spicy food to induce labour, there is more to it than simply being a well-known old wives’ tale”, notes Olivia. “Spicy foods are known and have been scientifically shown to temporarily speed up metabolism.”
“If Meghan were to indulge in spicy food prior to labour, the spicy food would irritate the nerves in her intestines which speeds up wave-like movements, or peristalsis, ultimately propelling the food through the digestive system. It is thought that this mechanism of speeding up digestion, may play a role in inducing labour.”
Olivia’s pick: “Indian food, like an extra hot beef vindaloo should do the trick!”
“Obviously, there are many different spices, and not all are created equal. Capsaicin, the compound responsible for the kick in chilli powder and cayenne pepper has been shown to have the greatest impact on metabolism, with black pepper and ginger also having similar effects in stimulating digestion and thus potentially stimulating labour.”
Olivia’s pick: “Chinese takeaway is great for a dose of ginger. Prawn & ginger dumplings are of course loaded with ginger, but it’s a common ingredient in Chinese dishes”.
“To date, there is no scientific evidence to support that any specific foods bring on labour. In saying that, with the royal baby slowly approaching and as the weeks tick past due date there is no harm in giving these popular options a try, as there is some merit to the inference that they bring on labour”, says Olivia.