(or basil and oregano and papaya juice with a little nipple stimulation for good measure)
The Old Wives Tale:
Eating eggplant parmesan will trigger labor
There are myriad stories on the internet about women going into labor after eating a salad from an LA trattoria or diving into a plate of eggplant parmesan at a Georgian Italian joint.
The thing both of these recipes have in common? Basil and oregano. For some reason, the fresh herbs are thought to have something to do with kickstarting labor, and it provides some solace to those living outside LA and Georgia and can't get the actual item off the menu. So I aimed for the next best thing - a pizza from Trolley Stop Cafe loaded with fresh oregano and basil.
I've also turned up stories about papaya juice having similar properties, so that was my beverage of choice along with the pizza. One giant slice and half later, I felt full. Still pregnant. Took a bath with the kiddo, climbed up on the bed to comb her hair, and then tried to move. Miss Buzzy Lightyear all Infinity and Beyonded into her bedroom, and I just sat there on my bed, stuck in my pretzel position, fat, bloated, in pain, and now just full of pizza and miserable. I broke down into tears, and Caleb eventually came along and helped me off the bed. After kiddo went to sleep, I had a couple of contractions, which, at this point is like breathing they happen so often without being productive. Eager to help them along, I did the one thing that many sites claim WILL work but must be done with caution - playing Tune in Tokyo with your own tatas. Googling with one hand and twisting away with the other, I'll be damned if the contractions didn't get stronger. The idea is that nipple stimulation produces oxytocin, the same hormone that triggers milk letdown while the baby breastfeeds and promotes contractions. Spooked, I quickly stopped, doing some calculations. Did I REALLY want to go into labor at 10:30 at night having just popped a sleep-inducing Zyrtec for my horrendous allergies? Phone up the parents at 3 in the morning to come collect the kiddo and generally sleep deprive everybody on the phone tree?
I let it go. Er, literally.
Basil and oregano make for excellent pizza and parmesan toppings. Nipple stimulation can most certainly cause contractions - not necessarily strong enough to get labor going successfully, but enough to warrant some caution. As in, why don't you try this on a full night's sleep with a babysitter lined up and not, say, after gorging on pizza during a failed science experiment at 10:30 at night.