You’ve been pregnant forever, or so it seems, and you’re ready to have your baby today! So you’ve searched the internet for natural induction methods and have come across the supposed fact that eating copious amounts of pineapple can induce labor.
Nestled amongst the numerous recommendations for natural induction with spicy food, castor oil smoothies and walking a few miles, pineapple might seem pretty appealing.
But is pineapple really an effective labor induction method? And if you’re in the early stages of your pregnancy, is eating pineapple even safe?
Whether you’re nearing your due date and eager to meet your baby or have just conceived, you’ll find evidence-based answers in this article about the safety of pineapple during pregnancy and its effectiveness for inducing labor.
Can You Eat Pineapple While Pregnant?
You want your baby to grow safe and healthy inside of you, but you’re also craving pineapple. If pineapple supposedly causes labor, wouldn’t you want to avoid it during early pregnancy?
Right now your baby is a tiny pocket of fluid and cells multiplying to form a miniature human body; all of the building blocks for a perfect, healthy baby are being formed during this stage of pregnancy, and the last thing you want is to do something that alters that desirable outcome.
So is eating pineapple safe in the first and second trimesters? Can eating pineapple cause miscarriage? The evidence overwhelmingly indicates that no, eating reasonable amounts of pineapple at any stage of pregnancy cannot cause a miscarriage.
(A “reasonable amount” is considered one serving, which is about one cup of fruit.)
According to Rana Conway in her book “What to Eat When You’re Pregnant,” you would have to eat more than seven whole fresh pineapples to reach a level where you might have a problem. You would get sick of eating pineapple long before that ever happens!
If you have difficulty maintaining pregnancy and have experienced frequent miscarriages, fear of causing another miscarriage after eating pineapple can be very real.
If this is the case for you, try eating canned or cooked pineapple, as this reduces the enzyme that supposedly causes contractions, and eliminates most (if not all) risk that might come with eating pineapple during pregnancy.
Pineapple Benefits During Pregnancy
Not only is pineapple safe to eat, but it also has a whole host of benefits for moms-to-be during pregnancy.
You always hear about how you should “eat the rainbow”, so why should you add pineapple to your yellow category?
Here’s a list of health benefits you can expect from eating pineapple:
During pregnancy, pineapple’s anti-inflammatory properties can help with muscle and joint pain caused by things loosening up to prepare for delivery.
The enzymes in pineapple can help loosen up your bowels, so if you’re feeling constipated, grab a bowl!
3) High in Dietary Fiber
Another attribute that can help with digestion and healthy bowel movements.
Pineapple is in the list of foods with the highest levels of manganese, which is an essential nutrient that our bodies need a small amount of every day.
It’s good for bone regeneration and maintaining balanced blood sugar levels.
Oats, spinach, and raspberries are other foods with high levels of manganese.
5) Vitamin C
Pregnant women are more susceptible to illness, due to varying immune system strength. Make sure you get plenty of vitamin C to keep yourself healthy.
This is a B vitamin that increases energy levels – and who doesn’t need more of that during pregnancy?
Pineapple makes for a nutritious, low-calorie snack (only 82 grams per cup of fruit), but it’s also high in sugar (16 grams per cup), so make sure you eat in moderation and pair it with a good protein to help you stay full and get all the nutrition your body needs for building a healthy baby.
How does Pineapple Induce Labor?
Pineapple is a beautiful golden-brown and yellow tropical fruit with spiky green leaves that shoot out the top.
It has sweet flesh and goes great in fruit salad, but could eating said fruit really send you into labor?
To find out, we first need to explore the potential for pineapple to induce labor. What is it exactly in this delicious fruit that could possibly cause uterine contractions?
The answer is Bromelain. Bromelain is an enzyme in pineapple juice and pineapple core. It is strong enough to tenderize meat and is thought to cause uterine contractions.
Bromelain can also be found in other tropical fruits such as mango and papaya, albeit in different concentrations.
Does Pineapple Work to Induce Labor?
The short answer is that no one really knows for sure. The effectiveness of pineapple for inducing contractions is largely speculation, as no studies have been conducted on pregnant women to determine this yet.
There are, however, a few promising studies done on rats.
The scientists conducting the study used two methods of study: in one, they applied pineapple juice directly to rat uterine tissue in a petri dish. In the other method, they randomly gave saline or pineapple juice to a group of pregnant rats and observed what happened in the rats’ uteri.
They found that the pineapple juice did cause a significant increase in uterine contractions when applied to the uterine tissue.
They also compared using synthetic oxytocin, also known as Pitocin, to using pineapple juice and the results showed that pineapple juice caused a similar contraction pattern to Pitocin in the uterine tissue.
In the live rat group, they observed the same increase in contractions after the rats consumed pineapple juice versus the saline group. None of the rats went into early labor, however; all of them went on to litter at full-term and have healthy babies.
The scientists concluded that digestive enzymes found in the stomach may reduce the effects of Bromelain on the pregnant uterus. So while the potential exists, pineapple alone is very unlikely to induce labor, no matter how much you eat.
Side Effects of Pineapple Consumption in Pregnancy
We’ve established that eating pineapple isn’t harmful during pregnancy (as long as you aren’t consuming it in crazy high amounts), so you may be tempted to go ahead and try it.
After all, what is there to lose? Despite the lack of risk there is with eating pineapple, you should still be judicious with your consumption of this tropical fruit.
Why Does My Mouth Feel Sore?
The enzyme Bromelain, the same enzyme that could potentially cause contractions, can also make your mouth feel very sore.
You can notice this sensation as a burning, tingling, or numbness after just a few large pieces of fresh pineapple.
Bromelain is strong enough that it is often used as a meat tenderizer. And last we checked, your tongue is basically meat. So the Bromelain in the pineapple is tenderizing your mouth!
This means that if you eat excessive amounts, it could lead to the breakdown of tissue and cause bleeding and extreme soreness.
That sounds very frightening, and many people who experience this effect of pineapple think that they are allergic to it, but the reality is that pineapple is safe to eat in reasonable quantities and that you don’t need to be afraid of indulging now and then in a few chunks or slices.
Just avoid eating the tough inner core of the pineapple, as this part contains the highest levels of Bromelain in the entire fruit.
The other bit of good news is that pineapple that has been cooked in any manner won’t affect your mouth in the same way. Cooking denatures enzymes, including Bromelain, so get your grill on and eat to your heart’s content!
Still Want To Try Inducing Labor With Pineapple?
If you want to try out this midwives’ tale and see if it induces your labor, there are a few things you need to know.
Eat fresh or frozen pineapple, either in chunks, smoothies or salads.
You can also drink fresh pineapple juice, but if you’re attempting to induce labor, then you need to avoid pasteurized juice, canned pineapple, and cooked or grilled pineapple.
Cooking denatures the Bromelain enzyme that is supposedly responsible for creating uterine contractions when you consume pineapple, so your best bet is to consume large amounts of pineapple.
Just how much pineapple are we talking about here? Here’s how much you should eat when you’re trying to induce labor, according to various women who have tried it out:
- “The idea used to be that you had to eat as much as it takes to give you an upset stomach…that’s why curry works…at least pineapple is a bit more yummy than curry, although watch the heartburn!” (Mumsnet user)
- “I ate a whole pineapple the day before my due date with my first and he arrived on my due date 🙂 but I also walked a lot!” (WhattoExpect)
- “I ate about a little 3/4 of a pineapple and next morning I woke up with persistent contractions and went to go deliver my angel. I was two weeks early.” (BabyCenter user)
- “I ate a whole one and it made no difference.” (Mumsnet user)
- “I ate two large pineapples in one sitting when overdue…It doesn’t work.” (WhattoExpect)
- “I ate a whole fresh pineapple and drank a liter of pineapple juice.. and went into labor 6 hours later. Might have been a coincidence.” (Mumsnet user)
Eating an entire pineapple is more likely to give you a sore mouth and an upset stomach than send you into labor, but there are little-to-no risks for the majority of women who want to give it a shot, so there’s no real harm in trying it out.
The main remedy for your pineapple-induced sore mouth is simply to stop eating pineapple, and any digestive discomfort you might feel will resolve on its own in time.
The only truly natural remedy for still being pregnant is giving your baby the time it needs!
When to Avoid Pineapple in Pregnancy
Pineapple does not cause miscarriage or premature labor, at least according to the studies that have been done so far, but there are a few ways of using pineapple you should avoid during pregnancy.
Do not take Bromelain enzyme in capsule form during pregnancy, as this concentration of Bromelain is not known to be safe and has some indications for potential miscarriage.
Do not attempt what one forum commenter suggested and put fresh cut up pineapple directly inside your vagina against your cervix. This carries a significant risk of infection. In addition, as mentioned above, Bromelain is a meat tenderizer. You don’t want to tenderize your vaginal canal and cervix right before labor! It’s much better to let your cervix soften and ripen on its own, in its own time.
Do not consume pineapple if you know you are allergic. If you consume pineapple and you are allergic, take immediate action to get care from a doctor. Remember, mouth soreness after eating pineapple is common and not an indicator of a pineapple allergy.
Wrapping It Up
Pineapple is a delicious way to provide your growing baby and pregnant body with the nutrients needed to be healthy, strong, and prepared for labor.
You’re eager to meet your little one and looking for ways to bring it to the real world sooner – but just remember, most natural induction methods are based on myths and will more than likely make you uncomfortable than start labor.
Your baby will come when he or she is ready, mama! Meanwhile, catch up on your sleep and enjoy a bowl of pineapple!