Pregnancy Pizza and Other Labor Induction Methods
“I’m ready to have this baby already!”
If you’re 40 weeks pregnant then you know what I’m talking about… or maybe you’re early in your pregnancy and can’t imagine how it feels to be DONE with pregnancy. Either way, most of us have heard stories about some of the many ways women try to induce labor.
After 40 weeks of growing a new life, with your body transforming (and contorting), many women are anxious to help encourage their bodies to begin labor. Google is a common starting point to research the many ways to naturally help your body start the labor process. You may read about eating dates, getting acupuncture, chiropractic care…and maybe even labor induction pizza!
Pregnancy pizza may seem strange, but anecdotally many women have claimed certain foods stimulate labor. These include spicy foods, pineapple and licorice. Coming from San Francisco, I often heard women talking about the “original” Preggo Pizza from a place called Skipolini’s. The story goes that a pregnant woman walked into the restaurant looking for something to help her go into labor. The owner created a pizza overflowing with toppings and weighing over 4 pounds. The woman went into labor that very night!
Sounds great, right? I’d caution you, however, to contemplate the potential heartburn of such a pizza, and consider more merciful (and proven) approaches such as acupuncture, daily brisk walks, chiropractic care, gentle bouncing and hip circles on a birth ball, eating dates and regular sex. Let’s look at those suggestions more closely.
Acupuncture. Acupuncture has been shown to be very effective when used in the weeks preceding your due date as a gentle, effective method for preparing your body to give birth naturally. These treatments help support your body through relaxation, release of endorphins, ripening the cervix, relaxing pelvic muscles as well as stimulating labor hormones.
Chiropractic Care and Pelvic Adjustments. These adjustments help with pregnancy discomforts, as well as bring balance to the pelvis which helps baby get into an optimal position and can ease baby’s passage through the birth canal during birth.
Birth Ball Circles and Bouncing. Ball circles are great to help baby flex (tuck) their head to aid rotation and aid engagement in the pelvis. A small clinical trial found that performing birth ball exercises for 4-6 weeks at the end of pregnancy led to significantly more babies with descent of fetal head into the pelvis (70%) than the control group (40%) and Complete rotation of the fetal head (OA) (63%) versus control group (33%). Be sure that your birth ball is large enough that your hips are above your knees.
Regular Sex. Semen is high in prostaglandins which helps to soften the cervix and “regular sex” has shown to prevent women from delivering past their EDD. And mamas, it’s about your pleasure too! Orgasm releases lots of oxytocin.
Eating Dates. Eating 6 dates a day starting at 36 weeks has been shown to shorten labor by as much as 7 hours. There is also evidence showing that there is fewer incidence of postpartum hemorrhage. (Avoid if you have gestational diabetes.)
Is there anything else you can do to help encourage labor?
In addition to these recommendations, take time to check in and address any anxiety leading up to the big day, work to improve sleep and get naps, find ways to rejuvenate, and connect with your baby. Nourishing your body, mind, and spirit during your final days of pregnancy will allow the labor process to naturally unfold.