Can spicy food help induce labor?

As long as women have been having babies, there have been folklore surrounding pregnancy, birth and childhood.  One of the longest-standing and often most well-accepted lores is that eating spicy food can help induce labor.

Some people swear that it was that extra-hot enchilada from their favorite restaurant that brought them face to face with their new baby. Unfortunately, the statistics are out on this one.  There is no scientific research that supports this claim.  However, there are some issues surrounding spicy food that the pregnant woman should be aware of.

During the last days of pregnancy a shift to a high carbohydrate diet can be beneficial.  During this time, our body needs something called glycogen.  Carbohydrates increase glycogen levels.  If we don’t have these stored our body will convert fat into glycogen. When our body converts fat into glycogen we also produce a by-product called ketones. The production of ketones can result in slowing labor and fetal distress.  If your favorite spicy dish is heavy on proteins and fats but low on carbohydrates, you might add some chips or tortillas to balance things out.

Should you consume spicy food prior to starting labor, there is a good chance that that same food will be sitting on your stomach during the process of labor.  IT is likely that spicy food would add to nausea, vomiting and heartburn often experienced during labor.



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