Castor oil has been used for centuries to aid the induction of labor in near-term women. Many women swear by it’s labor-inducing powers, while others warn women to avoid it at all costs.
What is Castor oil?
Castor oil, not to be confused with the motor oil Castor, is an oil used to relieve constipation. It has a very strong laxative affect on the person ingesting it. Castor oil has a had many successes in inducing labor and it is not uncommon for women to use it in hopes of bringing on labor.
How does Castor oil work to induce labor?
Castor oil is ingested orally. It can be quite difficult to take the thick oil alone by mouth, so many times it is mixed with juices or used in a special labor induction “recipe.” The Castor oil causes a laxative effect in the woman and her bowels will contract. It is thought that these intestinal contractions stimulate the uterus to contract as well, thus bringing on labor.
What are some reasons that a Castor oil induction may be desired?
Towards the end of pregnancy, many women become very anxious to meet their babies. Some may have medical reasons as to why delivery as soon as possible is optimum, while others may simply want to meet their baby and end the discomforts associated with pregnancy.
What are the advantages of using Castor oil to induce?
Many women like that Castor oil is “natural” and can be administered in their own homes, by themselves. It can be purchased over the counter at most pharmacies and even grocery stores.
Castor oil is thought to be very effective in inducing labor and this thought is backed up by a study published in Alternative Therapies in 2000. The study stated that 57.7% of women who were administered Castor oil went into labor within a specified time frame, while only 4.3% of women who were not administered Castor oil went into labor within the specified time frame.
What are the disadvantages of using Castor oil to induce?
Because Castor oil is a laxative, it can cause severe and even painful abdominal discomfort. The woman is most likely to feel sick and suffer from diarrhea. This diarrhea may lead to dehydration as fluids are expelled from the body. Dehydration may make labor more difficult and may have a negative impact on the mother’s milk supply following birth.
Some studies report a link between Castor oil use and the presence of me conium in the amniotic fluid. Meconium, when excreted prior to birth, has the potential to cause serious respiratory complications that could lead to even further complications due to oxygen deprivation and may even be fatal.
“Castor Oil Induction: How to Use Castor Oil to Induce Labor.” Natural Pregnancy and Giving Birth Naturally. Web. 24 Oct. 2010.
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“Castor Oil to Induce Labor.” Welcome to JustMommies : Pregnancy and Parenting on JustMommies. Web. 24 Oct. 2010.
“Castor Oil to Induce Labor.” Empowering Each Woman Giving Birth Naturally. Web. 25 Oct. 2010.
“Are Castor Oil and Other So-called Natural Inductions Safe?” The Compleat Mother Magazine Main Page. Web. 25 Oct. 2010.