After I've read on here that some midwives and doctors have actually recommended the use of castor oil to induce labor, I decided to do some actual research. I don't have an opinion one way or the other, but I thought everyone could appreciate the information! =) It seems docs only recommend it if you're already dilating or have some thinning and keep in mind, sometimes it doesn't work =)
This article is on www.justmommies.com
Castor Oil to Induce labor
So you've reached 40 weeks of pregnancy and baby has not arrived. You had hoped to go in labor on your own and the idea of a medical induction does not appeal to you. Is there anything you can do? Castor oil has been used to induce labor for many years. Some midwives and doctors alike both use it. However, the number of doctors and midwives advocating its use is slim with the advent of modern medical interventions such as pitocin that is safer and more effective. While pitocin and a hospital induction is arguably safer, castor oil may still be a valid alternative for some women.
How do I know if castor oil will work for me?
If you are 40 weeks and showing signs of labor, castor oil may work for you. You will want your cervix to be soft and thinning. If you have begun to dilate and efface already, this will increase your chances of castor oil being effective at labor induction. You should not try castor oil if you have not reached your due date or have a high risk pregnancy. Castor oil almost always causes diarrhea. Its primary use is a stimulant laxative. It has an unpleasant taste and may cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping. If you do not wish to experience these symptoms, do not try castor oil. Before using castor oil you should consult your health care provider.
How does castor oil work?
Castor oil is a laxative. It is believed that castor oil works to stimulate the bowels. It can lead to cramps and tightening of the muscles in the intestines. These cramps may spread to the uterus, tightening the uterine muscles and stimulating contractions. These contractions may or may not lead to the onset of active labor.
Is castor oil safe?
There are conflicting reports on the safety of castor oil. Some reports were shown to show a correlation between meconium in the amniotic fluid and castor oil. However, many others believe that it is more a co-occuring symptom of overdue babies. Castor oil is used most frequently in overdue pregnancies. Since overdue babies have an increased chance of having meconium in the amniotic fluid, many believe the overdue baby is the cause of the meconium and not the castor oil.
Is castor oil effective?
The verdict is still out on castor oil's effectiveness at inducing labor. Some women swear by it. Others feel it is nothing more than an old wives tale and pure coincidence for the women who do go in labor. There have been very few studies on castor oil as used for labor induction. Therefore, the long and short answer to this question is maybe.
How do I use castor oil?
Castor oil can be purchased at most drug stores in the laxative aisle. Opinions on how to use castor oil vary. Most midwives recommend using 2 ounces. You will likely want to mix it with something to make it taste more palatable. Castor oil has an unpleasant oily taste. If you use castor oil, you may want to try one of the following recipes.
Castor oil recipes
Castor oil and orange juice
2 oz castor oil
1 tsp baking soda
6 oz orange juice
Castor oil milk shake
2 oz castor oil
2 or 2 scoops ice cream
1/4 cup milk
blend in blender
Castor oil shots
2 oz castor oil shot followed by sucking on a lime or lemon
Here's another one:
Castor Oil To Induce Labor
As much as we would like to use natural labor inducing remedies to start labor as soon as 38 pregnancy weeks are full, it is good to remember that babies have their own calendar. Some babies will come at 38 weeks, and other times will need 42 weeks before they are ready. Thus, you are not overdue, or "postdates" as used by medical standards, until 42 weeks.
Nowadays, it is more common to hear that you are "overdue" even if your due date was only yesterday! Your due date is only a very rough target date, that is why it is referred to as EDD - estimated due date.
However, if you are truly overdue and threatened by medical induction, Castor Oil is one of the natural labor inducing remedies that have been used for quite a long time. Many women, who gave birth twenty or thirty years ago and whose labor was induced with Castor Oil, are now passing the knowledge about this natural remedy to their daughters.
There are very few studies about using Castor Oil for inducing labor naturally. One study published in Alternative Therapies (January 2000) reported that 58% of the mothers who were given Castor Oil began labor in the specified period.
The theory behind this mechanism, in which Castor Oil induces labor, is that the remedy causes diarrhea cramps by irritating the smooth muscles of the intestine. This irritation is passed to the uterus, which is a smooth muscle, as well. Irritation of the uterus increases the prostaglandin level, resulting in contractions and labor.
Castor Oil starts the diarrhea two to six hours after drinking the oil. The contractions should begin shortly after that. Some midwives and mothers swear on this method and have repeatedly used this to conclude an overdue pregnancy. Others feel it is not worth the discomfort.
After taking Castor Oil, the diarrhea is inevitable but it is usually over by the time you go into labor. One of the very possible side effects is that the severe diarrhea and cramping caused by Castor Oil could dehydrate you. This could be a serious problem, especially if you are delivering in a hospital where mothers are not allowed to drink fluids during labor. The mother
I know at least 3 people who have successfully used Castor Oil.
I don't recommend it because I am not a doctor, but I definitely don't frown upon it either.
i took it when i was 1cm and was thinned some(not sure how much) but it didnt do anything for me.. it only made me throw up.. my husband ended up breaking my water for me..with a cutical remover.. BUT my MIL is a nurse and she stood outside our bed room door and talked him threw it..she wanted to do it her self but i couldnt handle that..it would have just been to weird.. but a couple months later she did break her niece'swater in the back of a SUV. both of our kids were 8lbs and full term.. i am not saying everyone should break there own water or get someone else to break it other then a medical person.. i just felt it was safe with my MIL being a nurse and being right there..
I was thinking about doing this at 40 weeks bc my mil will only be available to come down for the week of my due date and I want her to see the baby and help me out... Has anyone had personal experience with this good or bad?
How it works is kinda like an enema (which is what put me into labor with my 1st when I was induced). I wouldn't recommend either without your doctor/midwife's supervision or approval.
i posted earlier that my midwife recommended it to me, and i'm not sure if i want to try it...
I tried it when I was pregnant with my son, it didn't do a damn thing. I drank the whole bottle and I didn't have a single contraction, but no unpleasant side effects either.
WOW...I don't think I'd recommend breaking the water...that scares me too much, especially b/c the risk of infection increases after the water breaks. I'd def. would have to have the doc do that one once i'm in labor. Interesting though, I've never heard of anyone breaking their own water.
Can they tell if you drank it while in labor and would they frown upon it?
i said in my 1st post i dont recommend anyone else do it.. i jus thought it was safe becausemy MIL is a labor and dev. nurse and was on the other side of the door.. we boilded the cutical remover at least 4 times before we used it and my husband wore surgical cloves.. he tried to break it with a hook (the ones the docs use) my MIL got it from work but he was scared he would hit the baby with it.. so he used a cutical remover.. he used two fingers and put it between them so it wouldnt poke me going in..and he pinched the bag between his fingers and poked it.. it was only slightly dripping.. it didnt even soak a pad by the time i got to the er.. and this was planned so the hospital was expecting me so i went right to the labor floor.. not threw the er (which takes forever) like everyone else who goes into labor..and my baby was full term and was 7lbs and 13 oz.. nearly 8lbs.. he was born totally healthy but he did get stuck so the doc used forcepts.. they scared me more then breaking my water at home...