Using Castor Oil to Induce Labor

Using castor oil to induce labor is a very widely known technique that has been used for centuries. Many women swear by it. Others advise against it. What’s the bottom line?

There haven’t been a lot of large studies done on inducing labor with castor oil, but there are tons of stories from moms and midwives who don’t question its effectiveness at all.

A small study showed that women who used castor oil were much more likely to go into labor within 24 hrs. 57% of women who took castor oil went into labor within 24 hrs. Only 4% of women who did not take castor oil went into labor within 24 hrs.

It’s probably pretty safe to say that castor oil can indeed induce labor. Like any other induction technique though, it’s more likely to work if you’re close to going into labor anyway. If your cervix isn’t ripe, chances are you’ll just have to wait until your body is ready.

Even though castor oil may be effective, it certainly isn’t all peaches and cream.

There is a reason why castor oil works. It causes diarrhea. A lot of it. This “action” on your bowels is what stimulates contractions. Diarrhea and labor at the same time? Sounds fun, huh? Depending on how you look at it, it might be worth waiting a few days for labor to start on its own.

Also take into consideration that it may not work if your body isn’t ready. There are plenty of women who will vouch for the fact that you could end up with a bad bout of diarrhea, and still no baby.

Taking castor oil to induce labor isn’t pleasant. Obviously the resulting diarrhea is nothing to be excited about. Neither is the taste of the castor oil. That’s why there are countless recipes all over the internet for taking castor oil. So, how is it done?

How Do I Do It?

It’s probably a good idea to start small if you’re going to try to use castor oil to induce labor. Usually the recommendation is 2 oz of castor oil. You can start with less than that, like a tablespoon or so. Then if that doesn’t work, take more a little later until things start moving (hopefully they will.) Some women would rather get down the full amount in one sitting and hope for the best. That decision is up to you.

Because it tastes really nasty, you’ll probably want to mix it with something else. You can mix it with juice or put it in a smoothie. Obviously, the more juice, or whatever else, you use, the more diluted the taste. That’s great, but remember, that means you’ll have more to drink.

Another tip- if you put mix it with root beer and shake it up really hard, it disguises the taste pretty well. You can also add a teaspoon of baking soda to a juice/castor oil concoction to make it fizzy.

If you do use castor oil to induce labor, also remember to drink lots of fluid after. One of the biggest concerns with this method is the dehydration that comes with diarrhea. Preventing dehydration is really important in labor, for both you and your baby.

Using castor oil to induce labor can be effective. Just think about it first and make sure to take care of yourself if you do it.


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