Two July's ago, my very pregnant, very uncomfortable sister was scouring the internet for food-based folk remedies that were supposed to induce labor. She was almost a full week past her due date and, in the middle of that sweltering Southern summer, I think she would’ve tried anything, up to and including eating one of her own swollen feet, if it meant that she could get to the delivery room.
But apparently, pregnant women who are ready for their kids to just be born already should stop Googling “WHEN CAN I HAVE THIS BABY WTF” and head on down to Taco Bell.
According to a discussion on the What to Expect pregnancy forum, eating Taco Bell can induce labor, maybe just as easily as it can induce immediate diarrhea. (Both of those claims are based on purely anecdotal evidence). “My hubby came home from work yesterday and his coworker told him to tell me that apparently Taco Bell is supposed to induce labor. How??” a very pregnant poster named Elijahsmommy27 wrote. “I’m 40+2 [weeks pregnant] so I’ll try anything.”
“I had Taco Bell yesterday, unknowingly, and had my baby girl this morning!” another commenter responded. “I guess it’s worth a try!”
Several other women chimed in to either say that they were craving Taco Bell, that they believed it must have something to do with the hot sauce—spicy foods are rumored to induce labor—or that they’d been eating Taco Bell all along and had nothing but food babies to show for it. (Other What to Expect forums debated whether craving Crunchwraps meant that you’d be having a boy.)
But does Taco Bell—or any other spicy food—actually hurry those babies along? That’s up for debate. “I have never seen anything that supports [spicy foods] one way or another,” Dr. Terry Harper, an OB/GYN and professor of Maternal Fetal Medicine, told WebMD.
Photo via Flickr user tacosporvida
An earlier post on What To Expect addresses some of the rumors that spicy foods can induce labor, but suggests that any correlation might just be a coincidence.
“In the category of ‘can’t hurt, might help’ are foods such as eggplant, balsamic vinegar, and anything spicy. While there’s no proof that any of these have labor-inducing qualities, plenty of moms swear they’ve gone straight from Joe’s House of Hot Wings to the labor and delivery floor. If your stomach can take the heat, there’s no harm in indulging these old wives’ tales,” the site says.
Other pregnancy forums are filled with similar suggestions of stories about “what worked for me.” The magic foods—and those words go in sarcastic air quotes—included everything from pineapple and steak dinners to Big Macs and a box of TGI Friday’s frozen cream cheese-stuffed jalapeno poppers. (My own mother was eating artichokes both times she went into labor, two identical meals, almost five years apart).
If you’re miserably preggo and willing to go the spicy food route, Romper suggests ordering the Fiery Doritos Locos Taco, which is the spiciest item on the T-Bell menu. As for Elijahsmommy27, she had no luck. “I had taco bell last night,” she wrote, the day after her original post. “Nothing happened :(“ Sad emoji, indeed.