>>Spicy foods/MSG Are they safe? Yes (though MSG should be limited). “Spicy foods are safe, but I’ve never seen that eating them [at term] can induce labor,” Degnan says.
WHAT MAY OR MAY NOT WORK
>>Breast stimulation Is it safe? Yes. “Breast stimulation results in the release of oxytocin, a hormone that brings about uterine contractions,” Dolan says. “But it’s impossible to say whether it can start labor.”
>>Castor oil Is it safe? No, because while small doses may actually be safe, women often ingest large amounts. The results can include dangerously precipitous labor and delivery, as well as diarrhea, which can quickly lead to dehydration. “Castor oil’s risks definitely outweigh any possible benefit,” Dolan says.
>>Primrose oil Is it safe? Yes. Primrose oil is a supplement containing a fatty acid that the body converts to prostaglandins. Taken orally or applied to the cervix, it can help soften the cervix. “You risk overstimulating the cervix or uterus, but this is unlikely,” Dolan says.
Only 5 percent of women deliver on their due date, according to the American College
of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.