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izzysmum - June 2nd, 2008 8:16 AM

Castor oil's laxative effects are caused by muscular spasms, and it's these that trigger diarrhea and can also induce labor and/or vomiting. However, if you have previously had a Cesarean section or any other uterine surgery these spasms can be severe enough to rupture the scar on your uterus (information from the 2006 American Gastroenterological Association Institute Technical Review on the use of gastrointestinal medications in pregnancy). The US Federal Drugs Association says that use of castor oil is contraindicated in pregnancy.
I've had a look at some of the scientific research published so far (there isn't much). Two small studies have suggested that castor oil might be useful to induce labor, but only if you're overdue (57% of overdue women given a single dose of castor oil went into labor within 24 hours, compared with 4% of untreated women). Please note all these women were OVERDUE (40-42 weeks)! Please DON'T use it if you're less than 40 weeks. Baby is just not ready yet.


kendra.marie - June 3rd, 2008 9:06 AM

i swear on this!!!!!!!!!! i took it with my daughter within 7 hrs i was having HARD core contractions 2-4 minutes apart but they weren't strong enough to make me dilate.

ive been thinking about trying it saturday when im 36 weeks with this baby as well.

it depends on how much you drink also; the dosage means alot. if your not dilated----- or enfaced it wont help.


Maitia396 - July 23rd, 2008 11:16 AM

I'm a 4 days past my due date. My sister is leaving the country for 6 months to a year in 6 days and because I'm trying for a vbac I can't be induced with pitocin. I am drinking a castor oil smoothie as I type. We'll see what happens.


Jessica20 - August 2nd, 2008 2:54 AM

From Dr Spock Website

Natural Ways to Induce Labor

by Lisa Rodriguez, R.N. and Marjorie Greenfield, M.D.
reviewed and revised by Marjorie Greenfield, M.D.
As you near the end of your pregnancy, you may be ready for the entire process of carrying your baby to be over. You'll be eager to start a whole new phase of life and actually meet this little miracle. But you might wonder: When is it safe to try to naturally induce labor, and how do I go about accomplishing that?

You shouldn't even consider trying to begin your labor until you are around 40 weeks pregnant or overdue. That's because your due date could be inaccurate by a few weeks, and if you start your labor before 40 weeks, you might give birth to the baby before he is ready to thrive outside the womb.

Several things can be done that might make you have contractions and start your labor, but they'll only work if your body is ready. If your body isn't prepared to go into labor, you can try as much as your heart desires, but you will only frustrate yourself.

Use caution when trying any of these natural methods to begin your labor, particularly herbs and nipple stimulation. The uterus can become hyperstimulated, meaning that it'll get too little rest between contractions. This can cause the baby to receive less oxygen, resulting in fetal heart rate slowing. Before trying any of these techniques, you should discuss them with your practitioner.

Walk
If you are having contractions but are not yet in labor, walking can help get things going. Walking allows your hips to sway side to side, which will help bring the baby into position to be born. Also, by standing upright, you're using gravity to move the baby down into the pelvis. Another plus: It usually feels good to walk when you are contracting. And of course, even if you don't go into full-blown labor, at least you're getting some exercise.

Sex
Making love can be one of the last things on a woman's mind toward the end of her pregnancy. She feels clumsy and big and may be experiencing a lot of vaginal pressure. But believe it or not, sex is one of the things you can do to get your labor under way. When you and your partner make love, his semen (which contains prostaglandins) can stimulate contractions.

Castor oil
For decades, women have been using castor oil to help induce labor. In fact, many old school physicians and midwives swear by it. It can provide good results if you are already in early labor. It is believed to work by causing spasms in the intestines, which surround the uterus toward the end of pregnancy. These spasms, in turn, cause the uterus to cramp, which might result in labor.

You can take 1 to 4 ounces of castor oil mixed with 6 ounces of orange juice to cut its oiliness. You'll want to drink it quickly because of the unpleasant taste. Some practitioners suggest taking a single dose; others suggest repeated doses depending on your response. Keep in mind that castor oil usually will cause your bowels to empty within about three hours. With luck, soon after that, you will be in true labor.

Spicy food
Some people swear that it was that extra-hot enchilada from their favorite Mexican restaurant that brought them face to face with their new baby. Unfortunately, the statistics are out on this one. You could try it, but if you have a full stomach when you are in labor, you might vomit and see that enchilada again--in less-than-appetizing circumstances.

Blue and black cohosh
These herbs are used often to induce labor. They may be particularly effective if you are having weak or irregular contractions. Blue cohosh is believed to make uterine contractions stronger, while black cohosh may regulate the contractions. Together, they work to make contractions more effective. Unfortunately, no studies have determined that these natural treatments are safe, or whether all versions of the herb available for purchase are of equal potency. Be sure to discuss any herbal treatment with your practitioner before attempting it, to see if it is a good idea in your situation.

Nipple stimulation
Some women massage their nipples as a way to induce labor. This stimulation brings about the release of oxytocin, which is the natural form of pitocin. Oxytocin causes contractions, which sometimes evolve into labor.

Most practitioners are not enthusiastic about this method of inducing labor, because it has been known to lead to excessively long, strong uterine contractions sometimes resulting in fetal heart rate slowing. Unless your practitioner advises it and is monitoring your progress closely, nipple stimulation is not recommended as a means for beginning labor.

Stripping the membranes
Your practitioner may offer to "strip your membranes" to help start your labor. This procedure usually feels like a vaginal examination, although it sometimes can be painful or cause cramping. The practitioner places her gloved finger through the cervix and sweeps the amniotic membranes free of their attachment to the lower part of the uterine cavity. This process is believed to release hormone-like substances called prostaglandins, which help to ready your body for labor.

While some experts believe that stripping the membranes causes you to go into labor that day, the only research on this procedure was done by a group of midwives who stripped the membranes of a group of their patients at every visit to the office after 38 weeks gestation. Their findings showed that patients who had this procedure were less likely to go past their due dates. According to the study, the procedure didn't seem to pose any complications and didn't cause the patients' waters to break.

Even though your practitioner would be the one to do the procedure (vs. the other methods that can be done by you at home), we include it here because it is a non-medical intervention.

Factors of success
Many of these natural labor-inducing approaches can be effective if your body is ready to deliver your baby. To be successful, most of these techniques require you to be having contractions or perhaps in early labor.

Don't worry, though--whether one of these measures works or your body still needs more time, your little one will be joining your family soon. Try to be patient; you'll have a lifetime together when he finally does arrive.


kiza - August 7th, 2008 2:04 AM

I drank 2 tablespoons of castor oil last Thursday night. I was 37 weeks. 8 hrs later I was having very strong contractions 2mins apart. I went to the hospital, I was 2cm dilated. Within 20mins I was 8cm dilated & needed to push. I was suppose to be having a c-section so this happened all to quickly. As they got me on the OR table 5 mins later I was fully dilated & pushing. Due to previous c-sections the DR said it was best for me to still have another c-section. So 3 and a half hours after my first contraction my beautiful daughter was born. So I would definately be very careful taking it, as it does work. It also gives you very loose bowels so you could end up with a messy birth. Good luck.


Pammie - January 8th, 2009 9:32 PM

I took 4tbls of castor oil at 2pm when i was 39w 3d pregnant. i started having mild contractions at 1am and was in the hospital at 6am and gave birth to a healthy baby boy at 3pm. I had an easy, natural, labor with no complications. The castor oil never made me sick, and the bathroom trips weren't bad at all. (of course i talked to my doctor before i took it, she said it was safe and would only make me go into labor if i was ready)


katiemcrobb - January 12th, 2009 10:28 AM

i drank some castor oil about 12:30 today i was sick and went to the toilet a few times after that i got a few stomach cramps over an hour but its all seemed to stop now! does anybody know if that means it didn't work.x


carrco1f - January 19th, 2009 4:39 AM

I am thinkin of tryin castor oil i am 37 weeks gone, i have been having pains for the last few days and i believe i have lost small parts of my plug. Only prob is i have no idea where to buy it from as the chemist and local supermarkets dont sell it, Please can anyone help??


clarem2009 - April 12th, 2009 1:47 PM

i drunk it with my 2nd child 1 week before he was due an it didnt work and wasnt very nice i had my child on my due date i did have him within 40mins im due to have my 3rd child in 3 weeks but wont be drinking it i find the thing that works is sex whitch i tryed with both my children an that worked


carolinem - April 17th, 2009 8:55 AM

i am 40 weeks and took castor oil on sunday and on monday and nothing happened. i did start early labour yesterday morning but had now stopped


YvonneNPete - April 19th, 2009 7:38 PM

Hello carolinem! I'm not sure if you already given birth, but I wanted to reply to your comment. I'm a mother of 4, and grandmom of 2. Castor oil worked for every sister in my family, in all their pregnancies. And my 23 year old daughter used castor oil in both her pregnancies and went into full labor. I used castor oil in my last 3 pregnancies. I was 6 days late and worked within hours with my second child. Third child It worked within a couple of hours and did that on my due date. I gave birth to my last child in 2006. I walked around since 37 weeks at 4cm. My ob told me to start taking my castor oil at 39 weeks because I had gestational diabetes, so I did. For the first time Castor oil failed me. Tried 3 more times after that, failed again, all 3 times, I ended up having my water broke by the ob 4 days before my due date. I know the castor oil works, but not always. I used to swear by it,worked for my 2 pregnancies, and for everyone I recommended it too. I never thought that would happen to me, for the oil to fail.


Kiddolebel - April 23rd, 2009 4:08 PM

Just worked for my cousin. She had her son a week early. Also worked for her when she had her daughter.


mrz.gina - April 26th, 2009 11:17 PM

im 38 weeks today.and im desperate.. my feet are swollen, ive been to the ER twice because of horrible dizzy spells..and the pressure down there, sheesh, i cant even get out of bed without crying my eyes out. took castor oil about 4 hours ago.. 3 tbsp and downed it with juice.. made me use the bathroom a tad bit then 2 hours later i added 3 more tbsp to my meal i was eating.
ive had painless contractions.. irregualar, have not timed them..
im crossing my fingers.. and ill keep you guys updated on if it worked or not. :)


jac1019 - April 27th, 2009 9:39 AM

Let us know how it works, mrz.gina. I am 37 weeks on Weds., not considering castor oil yet, but have been unbelievable dizzy at times. I might consider it in about two weeks if the little one isn't here yet.


mrz.gina - April 27th, 2009 11:52 AM

its now 11 am the next morning.. last night i had alot of braxton hicks, and it kept feeling like my water was about to break..it was just this strong sharp pain in the back of my vagina.. still using the bathroom non stop.. still having cramps..ill update again b4 the days over.. good luck jac1019, hopefully it works for you, because some it wont work for, hopefully were both one of the lucky ones.. :D


GreatGal - April 29th, 2009 5:30 PM

i dont think its a good idea to take caster oil...does the doctor recommend it? i heard caster oil is good for hair growth...but i think the best thing to do is just wait i know 9 months is very long time to be carrying a child and you guys cant wait till its out but u waited 9 months so wait a few days longer or talk to ur doctor...


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