Like many biological processes, the process of labour and delivery is divided into stages. The goal of the labour process however is parturition i.e. the forcible expulsion of the foetus from the mother's uterus.
This process is accomplished through the use of contractions. Many women try and bring on labour naturally. According to a study, around 50% of pregnant women attempt to get labour going themselves, compared to letting labour take it’s own course. Among the many methods used to induce labour in Nigeria, jute or saluyot leaves (called ewedu among the Yoruba) is often touted as a remedy for pregnant women experiencing prolonged labour.
Popular folklore says that when a pregnant woman is experiencing prolonged labour, a bunch of ewedu leaves should be squeezed with the stem and then given to her to drink. Some even say that this same concoction can be used to increase milk supply in lactating mothers.
But is this true? Jute leaves are very nutritious and are rich in calcium, iron, protein, vitamin A, C and E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and dietary fibers. Jute leaves (ewedu) is usually cooked as stew, forming a thick slimy syrup similar in consistency to okra usually taken a starchy staple. The truth however is that none of these claims have been backed by science.
In fact no Nigerian woman can honestly claim that consuming ewedu helped hasten her labour. Ewedu however is perfectly healthy and safe for pregnant women and nursing mothers to consume.
Tell Us! Does ewedu induce labour?