Castor Oil To Induce Labor: Reality Or Myth?
Does castor oil induce labor? This is what you should know. I think it is safe to say that we have all heard our elders’ tales and stories and, perhaps also, that we should have paid more attention than we spend. It’s something we think about when pregnant women approach our due dates. After all, it’s more than fair to be willing to try anything to get work started when “the big day” comes and goes without much more than a slight crunch. From having sex to eating spicy food, several things are intended to help you start with birth naturally. But does castor oil induce labor? Let’s dive a little deeper into what is, and isn’t, right, to see if it’s worth giving it a try or not.
First of all, what the heck is castor oil? Castor oil is derived from the seeds of a plant called Ricinus communis. It is native to India. The chemical composition of castor oil is unusual in that it is made up of almost 90 percent ricinoleic acid, a fatty acid. Sounds delicious, right? Hey, not so fast.
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Castor oil has been used for hundreds of years for its various properties, healing naturally. For example, castor oil has been used to treat gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, infections and skin conditions, pain and inflammation, and to boost the immune system. However, there is no scientific evidence that castor oil actually has these healing properties, but “anecdotal” evidence abounds.
Castor Oil To Induce Labor:
Just as there is no scientific evidence on castor oil’s healing properties, experts are still out on whether it can actually help start labor. Some studies show that taking castor oil can start labor within 24 hours of ingestion, although other studies show no practical effect on labor.
Castor oil is a laxative, and as WebMD, it is most commonly used to treat constipation. Turns out, there is also a connection between using a laxative and inducing labor.
In research with mice, scientists have shown that the active compound in castor oil binds to molecules that cause muscles, both in the intestines and in the uterus, to contract. And if you’re pregnant, forcing your uterine muscles to hire can help jumpstart labor.
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However, you should consult your doctor before ingesting any amount of castor oil, as it can cause some adverse effects if you actually start your labor.
When effective early in labor, castor oil can cause irregular and painful contractions, which can be stressful for both mother and baby. This can cause exhaustion. You can also make your baby pass meconium or his first stools before delivery.
If the baby releases the meconium into the uterus during delivery, that could cause meconium aspiration (MAS), and although it can be severe, most of the time, it is not.
Looking for other natural ways to start labor?
Stick with the sex, walk a lot, the spiciest food you can find, and maybe a little nipple stimulation. All of those options mentioned above carry relatively lower risks than castor oil and have the same chance of starting labor.