Welcome to the Evidence Based Birth® Q & A Video on Eating Pineapple to Start Labor!

 Today’s video is all about the evidence on using pineapple to naturally induce labor. You can read our disclaimer and terms of use.

In this video, you will learn:

  • What studies have been done on eating pineapple to start labor
  • If eating pineapple is an effective means of starting labor
  • If eating pineapple is safe throughout pregnancy

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Transcript

Hi. My name’s Rebecca Decker and I’m a nurse with my Ph.D. and the founder of Evidence Based Birth. Today, we’re going to talk about evidence on using pineapple for natural induction.

The pineapple fruit is a fruit that has been used to traditionally induce labor and abortion in various countries around the world, including India and Bangladesh. Although people may recommend pineapple to induce labor naturally, the effectiveness of pineapple as a therapy has not yet been tested. In addition to my real pineapple, which I was using as a prop, you can also buy pineapple frozen and canned and you can even get it dehydrated at natural food stores.

There have been a few studies on using pineapple in pregnant rats and on isolated human uterine tissue in a petri dish. One study found that pineapple juice from ripe pineapple is capable of inducing strong uterine contractions in non-pregnant rat tissue. In other words, when they looked at pineapple juice in non-pregnant rat uteruses, they found that those uteruses did contract more with that pineapple juice.

A follow up study done by those same researchers randomly assigned pregnant rats to either ingest normal saline or pineapple juice by mouth for 24 hours, 36 hours or 48 hours, and then they studied different doses of pineapple juice on the uterus tissue of rats as well. In the in vitro or petri dish experiment, all doses of pineapple juice significantly induced contractions in the isolated rat uterus tissue. They think this could be the combine effects of something called bromelain that is contained in the juice as well as other components of the juice.

They actually exposed the tissue of the uterus to pineapple juice at different doses into oxytocin or pitocin, which is used to medically induce contractions and they found that the contractions in the rats’ uterus tissue were similar to those that were induced by oxytocin. In the in vivo experience, where they looked at live pregnant rats, there were no abortions from the pineapple juice and all of the rats littered at full term. They say that this suggests that the digestive enzymes in your digestive tract could be causing the pineapple juice to lose its ability to cause contractions when taken by mouth.

In a different study, researchers took pineapple extract and tested it on isolated strips of uterine muscle from pregnant humans and pregnant rats, and the human tissue came from women who gave informed consent to use parts of their uterus for this study. They were having elective C sections in Singapore. The researchers found that the pineapple extract induced strong uterine contractions in both the rat and human tissue.

In summary, pineapple juice contains the enzyme bromelain, which is thought to contribute to cervical ripening, but very little research exists on this topic. So far, there’s no research evidence that eating pineapple or drinking pineapple juice can cause miscarriage or that it can induce labor at term. There is some evidence from human tissue studies and rat tissue studies that pineapple extract can cause contractions but this hasn’t been observed when the pineapple is eaten by mouth.

In conclusion, as a natural induction method, eating pineapple would probably not be evidence based, but it is also not likely to be harmful unless you eat too much and get a sore mouth. Go ahead and enjoy your pineapple if you’re pregnant or not and you know, reach out to me and let me know if you think maybe you induce labor naturally. Thanks, everyone. Bye.

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