Could Candy Bring on Labor?

During the last month of your pregnancy, you might feel miserable with your skin feeling like it will just burst away with all that baby pressure. Clinging to your due date, like a shining beacon of hope and comfort, could be the reason for keeping you going. But if your 40 weeks passes by without any signs, you might be ready to try anything to bring on labor.

Methods such as sexual intercourse, castor oil, and spicy foods are commonly known ways to bring on labor. Additionally, raspberry leaf tea, brisk walking, and nipple stimulation, are all ways that some midwives, nurses, grandmothers and friends recommend to bring on labor, without the help of major pharmaceuticals.

But candy?

It is true that licorice could bring on labor, speeding up the wait for delivery! When in full term pregnancy, eating large amounts of black licorice could bring on labor. There is also scientific proof supporting this. Natural licorice contains glycyrrhizin, which is one of the main components of licorice root, and the reason for its sweet taste. In recent studies, glycyrrhizin has been associated with preterm delivery. An international group of researchers found out that heavy consumption of licorice (500 mg/week) was associated with a more than twofold increased risk of early delivery, which means giving birth on week 37, or earlier (Am J Epidemiol). Thus, pregnant women should avoid using black licorice as a supplement, or consuming large amounts of licorice as food, before their estimated due date.

Pharmacists have known the effects of natural licorice for long. As natural licorice and the chemical glycyrrhizin tend to cause contractions of the uterus, it has been used to bring on labor when the pregnancy becomes overdue. Actually, some pharmacists might even recommend licorice instead of castor oil when you are buying something to bring on labor.

Before you are too desperate to try any labor inducing remedy, you should understand that herbal remedies can be powerful. Herbs can be just as harmful as using medications, especially when used during the wrong times or in large doses. Also, it’s beneficial to know that, in general, licorice could affect hormone production in the adrenal glands. It could also cause low potassium levels, high blood pressure, and other complications in some people. Thus, it’s important to take medicinal herbs only under supervision of an experienced herbalist.

If you have eaten some licorice candies recently, there is no need to panic though. The licorice sold in most stores, similar to Twizlers, does not contain enough actual licorice. It may be necessary to speak to the pharmacist in order to get natural licorice, containing a high enough level of glycyrrhizin, to bring on labor.

After birth licorice can be helpful: additionally, black licorice is a mild laxative. So, eating black licorice, or drinking tea containing licorice root, works great as a post-partum stool softener that makes your life a little bit easier.