Sometime during the 38 and 40 weeks of pregnancy, when your due date is near or if you are overdue without any symptoms of labor, you may be fed up of all the pain, tiredness, swollen feet, massive tummy, back aches, sleepless nights that you’ve had in the last 38 weeks. My cousin was so fed up that she even started considering scheduling a C-section during these weeks. It’s quite natural that you desperately want your labor to start as fast as possible and to deliver your baby. To induce the labor naturally, you would be willing to literally do ‘anything’, be it yoga, physical activities, etc. When she consulted her doctor, she was asked to wait, and was told to come again in two days. She set down to find out whether she can induce labor by natural means. While searching for methods to induce labor naturally, sex was the first thing that came up. But she was not ready to go for it given her advanced stage of pregnancy. She also came across the name castor oil and decided to go for it, and this blog is what we found relevant on the subject. Castor oil and delivery are interconnected. Continue reading to know how the castor oil helps to induce labor and the pros and cons of castor oil in inducing labor.
However, before you read this, please bear in mind that I am not medical professional and this piece of information cannot be replaced for medical advice. Do seek your doctor’s advice before using castor oil, or any other method to induce labor naturally. The below blog has been written on the basis of my personal and my cousin’s experience with regard to using castor oil for inducing delivery.
Can Castor Oil Help To Induce Labor?
Castor oil is a powerful laxative that has been used for relieving constipation or for initiating vomiting. It has an unpleasant smell and has a disgusting taste that will most likely make you vomit while drinking it. From ancient times castor oil is also used to induce labor and delivery. Castor oil influences labor as follows:
- It’s bowel stimulant property is the main reason for using it to induce labour. Ingesting small amounts of castor oil can cause contractions in the intestines. These contractions can activate the bowels and vagal nerve. This will irritate the uterus leading to uterine contractions. Uterine contractions can speed up labor
- Scientists have found out ricinoleic acid, a key factor of castor oil can bring about the contraction of muscles in both intestine and uterine wall
- Castor oil dehydrates the body, which can likewise bring about contractions
In short, even though 100 percent result is not guaranteed, castor oil does help to induce labor.
Some of the benefits of ingesting castor oil before and after delivery are:
- Ingesting castor oil before delivery helps to start labor fast
- Ingesting small shot of castor oil after delivery helps to keep constipation, which is common especially after a C-section, at bay. Ensuring easy bowel movement is important if you underwent vaginal delivery with an episiotomy
How Much Castor Oil To Induce Labor?
Don’t take too much castor oil as it will do more harm than benefit. Too much castor oil than the anticipated amount can cause very bad reactions. By no means with in 24 hours, never ingest more than two table spoon of castor oil. Furthermore, take about one or one and a half teaspoons of castor oil in three to four-hour intervals rather than having one or two large dosages in quick succession. If recommended dosage or the preferred intervals are not satisfied, the chances of side effects increases.
When my cousin touched base with her friends who had tried castor oil, she realized that many of them had opted for ingesting huge amounts of the oil and then suffered from major diarrhea. This complicated the whole process of labor and delivery.
How Long Does Castor Oil Take To Induce Labor?
From what we could gather, castor oil reacts differently for different women. For many women, contractions generally start just 1-3 hours ingesting castor oil. Some women respond more slowly (from 5 to 24 hours). On the other hand, for some expecting mothers, the castor oil has no effect at all. It is not an alternative for medical induction of labor. The castor oil can work only if your body is ready to go for labor. In short, how fast does the castor oil work to induce labor varies with individuals.
How To Use Castor Oil To Induce Contractions?
If you want to use castor oil safely to induce labor stick on to the recommended dosage of table spoon of castor oil in every 12 hours. At this dosage, the oil ought to be effective and the possibility and intensity of the side effects will be less. You can:
- Blend well a tablespoon of castor oil with about 4 ounces of orange juice, or any other strong flavored drink which can mask the taste of the castor oil
- The oil and juice do not really make up a smooth drink, but somehow blend in a frothy misture temporarily
- While ingesting castor oil, hold your nose so that you don’t have to smell or taste it. Also, chase it with something capable to remove its unpleasant taste
Here are some more tips to remember:
- It’s good to begin taking castor oil in the morning so that you can screen its effects and side effects
- Make sure you have had a good sleep the previous night
- Drink a lot of water to negate the effect of dehydration
- Eat small nibbles more often throughout the day
Side Effects Of Using Castor Oil For Inducing Labor?
There are many potentially dangerous side effects that can happen when you ingest castor oil for inducing labor.
- Increased chances of dehydration: Diarrhea and vomiting are the main side effects of ingesting castor oil. Having both at the same time can lead to dehydration, you can really put yourself and your baby at risk
- Can make labor difficult: Castor oil can cause irregular contractions. These irregular and extensive contractions can make a pregnant woman exhausted. Going to labor exhausted can make the upcoming labor and delivery more difficult
- Can increase the heart rate of baby: The strain due to severe cramping can be risky for your baby, as it elevates your baby’s heart rate, creating more issues during labor and delivery
Does Castor Oil Induce Contractions If The Cervix Is Not Dilated?
An important condition of using the castor oil for inducing labor is that the pregnancy ought to be full-termed and the cervix is soft and start dilating. It can only work if the cervix is effaced and dilated. Therefore, never use castor oil before the 38th week of pregnancy. Castor oil cannot kick start the contractions effectively if the cervix is not started to dilate.
And again, your doctor is the best judge of your health and ensure that using castor oil is okay with him or her.