As you approach the end of your pregnancy, you might start to look for foods or herbs that will get your labor started. While this is completely natural -- you're eager to meet your baby and late pregnancy can be uncomfortable -- balsamic vinegar isn't likely to get your labor started.
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True balsamic vinegar is quite different from regular salad vinegar, and is actually difficult to find in regular grocery stores. It's made from a grape juice reduction, a process that takes a long time and produces a very thick, dark, and semi-sweet syrup. The bottles of balsamic vinegar more common in the United States -- these are typically used as salad dressings -- are simply wine vinegars that have added spices.
As you approach the end of your pregnancy, your body will begin to gear up for labor. This process typically happens over a period of many weeks, especially in a first-time mother, explain Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel in their book "What To Expect When You're Expecting." Your uterus "practices" contracting, and your cervix moves forward and softens, eventually starting to thin and perhaps even starting to dilate before true labor begins. Doctors don't know precisely what it is that pushes your body into true labor, however.
Balsamic Vinegar Myths
There may be as many myths and rumors about foods and herbs that you can use to induce labor as there are pregnant women. Some of these herbs and home treatments for labor induction have their roots in traditional medicine, others have come about simply because of coincidence. Balsamic vinegar, in all likelihood, falls into the latter category. There is no scientific evidence to support its use in starting labor, nor is it a traditional labor inducer.
While you can't start labor with balsamic vinegar, there are certainly medically-proven ways to do so. These aren't home remedies; they're techniques and medications that your doctor would have to prescribe. Talk to your doctor before using any herb or food to try to induce labor. Furthermore, remember that the last few weeks of pregnancy, while they're uncomfortable, are an important time for your baby's brain development. It's generally best not to try to induce labor unless it's medically necessary, explains the Wall Street Journal.
- “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”; Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel; 2008
- Wall Street Journal: Labor Induction