You may be wondering, ‘what makes midwives brew such a hot topic?’ That’s probably why you made your way to this post too. Well, the arrival of your little one is undoubtedly a much-anticipated occasion. In fact, the last few weeks leading up to it can feel like a lifetime. While very few things in life compare to pregnancy and bonding with your baby before the big day, it’s not uncommon to want to fast forward to the day you finally get to hold your precious little one in your arms!
It’s because of this very reason, among others, that you may be curious about the much-talked-about midwives brew.
A quick history
Midwives brew is a mixture made from natural ingredients, with the aim of inducing labor. Each ingredient that’s in midwives brew has certain properties that relate to inducing labor or assisting in the labor-inducing process. Also known as the German Cocktail, midwives brew is considered a natural option for pregnant women who have reached or exceeded full term and are looking to induce labor.
The recipe and directions
When it comes to food and concoctions, you can expect some recipe variations and changes over the years. The same can be said for midwives brew. Substitutions are occasionally made because of allergies in some cases. However, the midwives brew recipe is generally as follows:
- 10 oz of Apricot Juice
- 11 oz of Pure Lemon Verbena Tea
- 2 tbsp of Castor Oil
- 2 tbsp of Almond Butter
- Boil some water and brew the tea. Be sure to let the teabag sit in the water for at least 10 minutes to make it quite strong.
- Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until there are no chunks in the almond butter. It must be smooth.
- Pour into a glass and drink on an empty stomach.
Breakdown of each ingredient and how it relates to inducing labor
As already mentioned above, the selection of ingredients for midwives brew is not by chance. Each one contributes to making this classic labor-inducing drink more effective. When used in isolation, some of the midwives brew ingredients can do very little to impact your pregnancy. However, use them all together and follow the recipe above, and you may just discover why this brew has been used for centuries!
Take a look at how each ingredient in midwives brew contributes to the labor-inducing process.
Apricot jam is known for being a great source of vitamins and minerals, making it a good addition to midwives brew. As a fruit, apricot is relatively high in antioxidants and vitamins, particularly vitamin A. Vitamin A plays a role in nourishing the lymphatic system and protecting against DNA damage.
Some may say that it adds taste to midwives brew to balance out the other ingredients.
Pure Lemon Verbena Tea
This is an age-old ingredient that has been around for centuries. Pure lemon verbena tea is commonly used for treating colds and boosting the immune system, besides several other uses. When it comes to its role in midwives brew, its core purpose is to relax the muscles and soften the cervix.
It’s no wonder that some people also turn to it if they suffer from insomnia or anxiety, because it’s a healthy and calming tea.
Castor oil is widely used as a laxative around the world because it causes spasms in the intestines. It’s because of this that it can also induce labor, through causing spasms in the uterine muscles. This can ultimately lead to contractions.
Apart from its numerous health benefits, almond butter can also be a really great sticking agent. What do I mean by this? Well, when it comes to midwives brew, almond butter is what helps the castor oil actually stick to your intestines. Usually, when you consume castor oil on its own, it flows through your system and may induce diarrhoea.
Fortunately, when used in conjunction with almond butter, the impact of castor oil can be different… in a good way! This is mostly because the almond butter acts as somewhat of a buffer and a diarrhoea-reducing agent in midwives brew.
13 other labor-inducing foods
In addition to midwives brew, there are other foods that may aid in naturally inducing labor. Of course, no two pregnancies or women are the same, so your body may not react as expected to some of the common labor-inducing foods below.
- Green papaya
- Spicy food
- Raspberry leaf tea
- Cream cheese
- Black and blue cohosh
- Black liquorice
- Cumin tea
- Balsamic vinegar
- Basil and oregano
What else you can do to induce labor
When you’ve reached a point where you feel like you’re ready to push your baby out, there are a few trusted and age-old tricks that have been tried by many women before you. You may be preparing to give birth for your first or fifth time, either way, there are a few things you can do to physically prepare your body as well. Have a look below.
Nipple stimulation is one way of inducing labor because it stimulates the production of oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that causes the uterus to contract, which can be a way of jumpstarting the labor induction process.
Over and above inducing and augmenting labor, nipple stimulation can also help you avoid a medical induction and reduce the level of postpartum haemorrhage.
This is quite possibly one of the more popularized ways of inducing labor naturally. From the very beginning of your pregnancy, I’m pretty sure you were advised not to neglect exercise! This applies to the latter part of your pregnancy too. Something as simple as a walk around the block, regular squatting, or light exercises in your house is great for keeping your body active and moving.
So no, this doesn’t mean you have to become the local fitness bunny who goes to the gym twice a day, six times a week! Far from it.
Increase sexual activity
Having sex regularly could induce labor naturally for various reasons. Not only is it a form of exercise (cardio), but it could also lead to uterine contractions. There are also prostaglandin hormones in semen that could help to ripen the cervix.
Additionally, having an orgasm during sex releases oxytocin, which could ultimately lead to labor.
Acupuncture is one of those methods that have truly stood the test of time. Even though there are still questions regarding how exactly it induces labour, it remains a viable option. The common belief is that acupuncture balances the vital energy in your body and stimulates change in hormones as well.
Overall, acupuncture is touted as a method that ultimately increases cervical ripening.
A membrane sweep is meant to stimulate contractions and release prostaglandins, which ultimately aids in inducing labor.
A form of exercise that’s quite easy to adopt even if you’ve reached full term is curb walking. Simply put, it just requires you to walk along the edge of a curb. By keeping one foot on the street and the other on the curb, the motion helps the baby move into the birth canal. This creates gentle pressure on your cervix, with the hope of initiating mild contractions and induce labour.
Prenatal acupressure massage
This type of massage focuses on certain pressure points that increase the flow of blood to the uterus. It also has an impact on your hormones and stimulates uterine contractions.
Even though there are so many labor-inducing foods and methods that have been championed over the years, midwives brew remains one that’s been used for generations. Depending on personal preferences, you’re spoilt for choice in terms of what you would like to try out so you can meet your bundle of joy sooner rather than later.
Special thanks to author: Sannie Nkosi is the founder of Four-Leaf Consulting. After a few years in journalism, she ditched the newsroom to write about things that really matter (like family, finances and travel). On a regular day, you can find her creating content, listening to podcasts, or engaging with small business owners.