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Using Castor Oil To Induce Labor: Risky Or Safe?

Table of Contents

Castor Oil To Induce Labor

Table of Contents

Over the past years, many people have tried using natural methods to induce labor, ranging from eating spicy food to bouncing on an exercise ball. On the other hand, most have used castor oil for induction instead, but what they missed out on is to know of its effectiveness, and safety issues before using it as induction of labour as it could have significant dangers attached.

We at parenthood bliss wouldn’t let our reading use castor oil without all the health information concerning the usage in induction. This is why we recommend you to continue reading and choose if this works best for you with some other ways to help otherwise.

What is the use of castor oil?

It is an extract from the Ricinus communis. R. Communis, a native to southern Asia. For most years, castor oil has been used for various ailments supporting anecdotal evidence.

Castor oil is a common ingredient used in soaps, coatings, lubricants, and various other commercial products as it contains allergenic proteins like ricin, a dangerous plant toxin. Despite that, with the removal of these potentially dangerous substances, the oil can be used for pharmaceutical purposes like it could help with constipation and is also beneficial for the face and skin too.

According to the healthcare provider, Can you use castor oil to induce labor?

As has been medically reviewed by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the use of castor oil could likely irritate the uterine contractions that may appear to be labor contractions, resulting in digestive distress compared to the actual labor. Adding to that, women who try to use castor oil for induction are more likely to have them unlike those who do not.

On the other hand, there is also a recent study that claims it as false and that there is no connection between the use of castor oil and inducing labor. But research has also shown it to cause labor in to-be mothers above 40 weeks via their study using women in their 40th and 41st weeks of pregnancy over 5 years.

Adding to that, content measurement audience insights in a small study from 2000 this time, found that 57.7% of the women who took castor oil, induced labor within 24 hours. While the other 4.2% of women did not go into labor within 24 hours, suggesting that castor oil may cause labor.

Later in 2009, a study again found no connection between the two, including over 600 participants who were in their 40th week of pregnancy. They shared that there was no effect of the labor castor oil, also with no negative effects too.

In the latest study in 2018, the induced labor castor oil was found to be effective on mothers who have had babies previously with no adverse effects on the 81 pregnant women with effect found within 24 hours for most women.

It is understood now that with the vagueness of the content above they are all mixed in their abilities with none examining issues of safety for either the mother or the baby that determines to be harmful not helpful labor induction.

What risks and dangers does castor oil cause?

Irrespective of the lack of interest by the researchers to know of the risks to the fetus, the mothers may experience the side effects with castor oil induction. These include:

  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramping in the area of the stomach
  • Contractions of the uterus that are not related to labor-related

Also, note that women with sensitive stomachs or those with gastrointestinal conditions, or ones who have had a cesarean delivery must avoid the use of castor oil as it causes rupture of the uterine. To know the reason, read on.

Is it ok for you to use castor oil for inducing labor?

Unlike most cases where the body induces labor on its own when ready to give birth, other women go into preterm labor or later than their expected due date.

According to the table of contents by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, the journey to full term could be in, many ways including:

  • 37–38 weeks and 6 days – early term
  • 39–40 weeks and 6 days – full term
  • 41 weeks – 41 weeks and 6 days – late-term
  • 42 weeks and later – post-term

In women who are full-term or beyond may go through the inducing of labor or possibly would be scheduled for cesarean delivery. These are the reasons for a doctor to choose inducing labor:

  • An abruption of placenta
  • Infection in the uterus
  • Lack of amniotic fluid around the fetus
  • Presence of contractions without the water breaking
  • The fetus doesn’t grow or has stopped growing compared to the expected rate that is medically reviewed
  • If there is high blood pressure, diabetes, or any other condition that could cause any risk to the mother or fetus

Are there other ways to induce labor?

There are no set proven ways for a doctor to induce labor, therefore, they may choose to induce labor in a hospital or a clinical setting too.

However, there are other ways of inducing labor that should be consulted by the doctor first. These other methods of induction that are effective include:

  • Nipple stimulation
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Consumption of spicy foods
  • Acupuncture
  • Taking a walk
  • Exercising

That’s everything you need to know about the information on the use of castor oil that is peer-reviewed. However, speaking of the nearing D-day with the need for induction of labor, you might as well keep the baby registry all packed and ready to go. However, if you need guidance with the baby registry, Parenthood bliss has curated an article in the form of a checklist. Click HERE and get ready! We wish you luck and good health.

To Conclude

Irrespective of no signs of negative impacts, it is recommended to avoid the use of castor oil to induce labor as there is no scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness. This is why it is safer to work with a doctor to know how you could induce labor before 40 weeks poses a risk to the fetus even if they use the castor oil ingestion.

With no signs that may affect the fetus, it does for sure affect the mother causing her diarrhea, false contractions, dehydration, and other stomach-related side effects.

FAQs: Using Castor Oil To Induce Labor: Risky Or Safe?

1) Is it safe to drink castor oil normally?

Not quite. Unlike any stimulant laxative, castor oil must not be consumed in the long term as it can reduce the tone of the muscle in your intestines leading to chronic constipation. Just in case you continue to face constipation, you must contact your doctor.

2) What are some natural ways to induce labor?

Here are some natural ways to help you induce labor:
  • Stay active and go for walks
  • You may opt to have sex to help get the labor started
  • Do not overwork and try to relax
  • Consume spicy food
  • Go for an acupuncture session
  • Consult the doctor to strip your membranes
  • Try going herbal
  • To know more, read the article above!

    3) How fast does castor oil work to induce labor?

    Even the fact that the doctor has recommended the castor oil inducing as the researchers haven't shown any assurance. According to a study published in the Alternative Therapies of Health, it is revealed that over half of castor oil induction used to induce labor is effected within 24 hours.

    Reviewed By:

    Esha Chainani - Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

    Esha Chainani - Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

    Dr Esha Chainani is an Obstetrician, Gynaecologist and laparoscopic surgeon practicing in Mumbai. She aims to break the stigma around women’s health by advocating an inclusive and open practice of obstetrics and gynaecology. Esha is the author of several internationally published research papers and health articles in the media like the Swaddle. She founded Premaa, a non profit to reduce maternal morbidity and eventual maternal mortality by providing lower income pregnant women living in urban areas cell phone access through an app, to medically correct information proven to influence the outcomes of both mother and child. Her app Premaa pregnancy also has an entire section about contraception as well for a whole gamut of reproductive health. She has been on the panel for multiple health sessions including with the UN, USAID, BMC, gender at work and multiple non profit organisations. She’s also on the advisory panel of the South Indian medical students association. She is also an editor at the MAR Journal of Gynaecology. She advocates for accessible healthcare through her instagram account as well posting about reproductive health, mental health and sexual health.

    On behalf of the editorial team at Parenthoodbliss, we follow strict reporting guidelines and only use credible sources, along with peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and highly respected health organizations. To learn about how we maintain content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.

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