Does Pineapple Induce Labor? Experts Weigh In

person slicing pineapple into rings


Picture this: your pregnancy is full term (that's anywhere between 39 and 40 + 6 weeks along) and you want to get things moving. When expectant parents reach the end of pregnancy, they often begin researching safe ways to induce labor. One of the most commonly researched foods to bring about uterine contractions is one that might remind you of a tropical vacation: pineapple. But does pineapple really cause uterine contractions—and, if so, is it safe? Verywell spoke with an OB/GYN and a labor and delivery nurse to answer all your questions about pineapple and labor.

Does Pineapple Induce Labor—and, If So, Why?

Aside from being a delicious and healthy fruit full of fiber, vitamins, and bioactive compounds, pineapple has an enzyme in it called bromelain. Bromelain is thought to help soften the cervix and trigger contractions, says Liesel Teen, BSN, RN, a labor and delivery nurse and founder of popular postpartum education website and Instagram account Mommy Labor Nurse.

Dr. Stephanie Hack, MD and founder of the Lady Parts Doctor podcast, however, says that the link between bromelain and cervical thinning has not been proven.

"Some anecdotal evidence has suggested pineapple may assist labor; however, there is no strong evidence that it does. It's thought that the enzyme bromelain may help soften the cervix," Dr. Hack explains. But this has not been proven.

Of course, parents might still be willing to try eating pineapple to induce labor. Many do, including Teen. "I actually ate an entire pineapple, including the core, the day I went into labor with my first [child]—it wasn’t the only thing I did to try and throw myself into labor, so it’s hard to say what role the pineapple actually played, but hey, it didn’t hurt anything," she relates.

As for the drawbacks to eating pineapple for induction, they are mainly dietary.

"For this method to be really effective, you have to eat between 8-10 pineapples—including the core, because the bromelain is contained in the core of the pineapple. Unfortunately, the core is typically the toughest and least flavorful part of the pineapple," Teen explains.

What Do the Experts Say?

Before you sit down at the table to eat multiple pineapples, you'll probably want to know if the science behind this method is sound.

According to a study on rats, scientists concluded that indeed, pineapple may trigger uterine contractions when taken at full term.

However, this study was performed by actually applying physical pieces of pineapple to the rats' uterine muscle, Teen explains. Because the tests were not done on humans, they have to be tallied as inconclusive.

Dr. Hack agrees. The study was "not robust and had a small sample size. There is limited research," she says.

However, "there’s a ton of anecdotal evidence about using pineapple to induce labor," Teen affirms.

Are There Any Risks of Eating Pineapple to Induce Labor?

It can be nerve-wracking to try any method of delivery induction, let alone at full term, but according to Teen, the risks of eating pineapple are mainly limited to heartburn and/or an upset stomach.

"The biggest risk associated with eating too much pineapple is heartburn or acid reflux," she says. When "any acidic fruit is consumed in large amounts, [it can cause] nausea, diarrhea, and stomach upset."

Another thing to consider is that pineapple and latex allergies are related, so many people who cannot tolerate latex products may want to avoid pineapple and other fruits like papaya, avocado. and banana, especially while pregnant.

"Pineapple is very acidic and can worsen acid reflux. Also, those allergic to latex may also be allergic to pineapple," Dr. Hack explains.

Though these risks seem small, it is always worth consulting a doctor for more information.

What Are Some Other Foods That Are Said to Induce Labor?

If parents are not sold on pineapple to induce labor, there are other anecdotal options. Dates, for example, have been shown to cause labor. Teen agrees with this research.

"Research shows that when pregnant people eat six Medjool dates a day once they hit 37 weeks they have shorter labors, a higher likelihood of going into spontaneous labor, avoid Pitocin, and have intact membranes upon admission to the hospital," she says.

Dr. Hack agrees, with the caveat that more research is always better, especially when it comes to causing labor. "Many small studies have shown a reduction in length of labor with consumption of dates. Again, more research is needed. However, unless you're allergic, dates are probably safe to try," she explains.

Another commonly researched method of labor induction is eating spicy food. Though there is no research that currently shows spicy food can cause labor, anecdotally, spicy food "gets your GI tract moving, which is right next to your uterus," Teen explains.

There is, however, a study that has been proposed, suggesting that capsaicin (what makes food spicy) applied to the cervix may induce labor and reduce birthing pain.

A Word From Verywell

Pineapple can be a tasty and healthy treat for expectant parents—and may, in very high amounts, help induce labor. Even if devouring multiple pineapples in an effort to have your baby doesn't cause labor, eating pineapple in quantity isn't harmful to your unborn child.

If you have questions about natural birth induction, it's always best to speak to an OB/GYN, midwife, or other healthcare professional.

8 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. ACOG. Definition of Term Pregnancy.

  2. Mohd Ali M, Hashim N, Abd Aziz S, Lasekan O. Pineapple (Ananas comosus): A comprehensive review of nutritional values, volatile compounds, health benefits, and potential food productsFood Research International. 2020;137:109675. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodres.2020.109675.

  3. Pavan R, Jain S, Shraddha, Kumar A. Properties and therapeutic application of bromelain: a reviewBiotechnology Research International. 2012;2012:1-6. doi: 10.1155/2012/976203. PMID: 23304525.

  4. Monji F, Adaikan PG, Lau LC, et al. Investigation of uterotonic properties of Ananas comosus extracts. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2016;193:21-29.

  5. Haruenkit R. Analysis of sugars and organic acids in pineapple, papaya and star fruit by HPLC using an aminex HPx-87 H columnWarasan Kaset Phrachomklao.

  6. Brehler R, Theissen U, Mohr C, Luger T. “Latex-fruit syndrome”: frequency of cross-reacting IgE antibodies. Allergy. 1997;52(4):404-410.

  7. Al-Kuran O, Al-Mehaisen L, Bawadi H, Beitawi S, Amarin Z. The effect of late pregnancy consumption of date fruit on labour and delivery. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 2011;31(1):29-31.

  8. Mirza F, Fakhoury A, Rowley T, Flood P. 302: Impact of topical capsaicin on labor in a novel mouse model. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2011;204(1):S124-S125.

By Taylor Grothe
Taylor is a freelance writer, fiction author, and a nonbinary parent to two little children, ages five and three. Their fiction work can be found in Bag of Bones Press and Coffin Bell Journal, and their first novel is on submission to major publishing houses.