Castor Oil to Induce labor

So you've reached 40 weeks of pregnancy and baby has not arrived. You had hoped to go in labor on your own and the idea of a medical induction does not appeal to you. Is there anything you can do? Castor oil has been used to induce labor for many years. Some midwives and doctors alike both use it. However, the number of doctors and midwives advocating its use is slim with the advent of modern medical interventions such as pitocin that is safer and more effective. While pitocin and a hospital induction is arguably safer, castor oil may still be a valid alternative for some women.

How do I know if castor oil will work for me?

If you are 40 weeks and showing signs of labor, castor oil may work for you. You will want your cervix to be soft and thinning. If you have begun to dilate and efface already, this will increase your chances of castor oil being effective at labor induction. You should not try castor oil if you have not reached your due date or have a high risk pregnancy. Castor oil almost always causes diarrhea. Its primary use is a stimulant laxative. It has an unpleasant taste and may cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping. If you do not wish to experience these symptoms, do not try castor oil. Before using castor oil you should consult your health care provider.

How does castor oil induce labor?

Castor oil is a laxative. It is believed that castor oil works to stimulate the bowels. It can lead to cramps and tightening of the muscles in the intestines. These cramps may spread to the uterus, tightening the uterine muscles and stimulating contractions. These contractions may or may not lead to the onset of active labor.

Castor oil and pregnancy:  Is it safe to use castor oil during pregnancy?

There are conflicting reports on the safety of castor oil. Some reports were shown to show a correlation between meconium in the amniotic fluid and castor oil. However, many others believe that it is more a co-occuring symptom of overdue babies. Castor oil is used most frequently in overdue pregnancies. Since overdue babies have an increased chance of having meconium in the amniotic fluid, many believe the overdue baby is the cause of the meconium and not the castor oil.

Is castor oil effective at inducing labor?

The verdict is still out on castor oil's effectiveness at inducing labor. Some women swear by it. Others feel it is nothing more than an old wives tale and pure coincidence for the women who do go in labor. There have been very few studies on castor oil as used for labor induction. Therefore, the long and short answer to this question is maybe.

How much castor oil do you use to induce labor?

Castor oil can be purchased at most drug stores in the laxative aisle. Opinions on how to use castor oil vary. Most midwives recommend using 2 ounces. You will likely want to mix it with something to make it taste more palatable. Castor oil has an unpleasant oily taste. If you use castor oil, you may want to try one of the following recipes.

Castor oil recipes

Castor oil and orange juice 2 oz castor oil 1 tsp baking soda 6 oz orange juice Castor oil milk shake 2 oz castor oil 2 or 2 scoops ice cream 1/4 cup milk blend in blender Castor oil shots 2 oz castor oil shot followed by sucking on a lime or lemon

Average: 3.5 (348 votes)


By Tineyboppa on 04/03/14 at 1:34 am

I successfully used castor oil to induce #3 with no ill-effects besides diahreah. I had hospital inductions for #4 & #5, the latter being extremely  ...

By MindyKana on 10/19/13 at 1:49 pm

I also recommend the PREGNANCY MIRACLE GUIDE for information on castor oil to induce labor!

By vyalna on 07/03/13 at 4:24 pm

The scientific studies generally indicate that 55-60% of people who take 2-2.5 oz of castor oil will go into active labor within 24 hours.
This is  ...

62 comments so far » read more

Sign in to leave a comment!

Today on JustMommies

The Swaddling Debate: Is Swaddling Dangerous?

To swaddle, or not to swaddle? There is mixed advice out there among parents and childcare experts.

Healthy Dips That Kids Will Devour!

Kids love dips ! Dips offer a great way for children to eat foods they'd otherwise push across the table (you can sneak some veggies into a puréed dip)!

Have You Heard of the Switch Witch?

For most kids, Halloween means crazy, massive piles of candy. For most moms, it means trying to decide how to bribe kids out of eating it all at once.


From the Message Boards

Due Date Club of November 2014

Hospital Bag

Just kind of curious what everyone plans on bringing to the hospital or birthing center for their st...

Due Date Club of November 2014

36 week ob appointment

I just got home and couldn't be happier! I'm dilated to 1cm and 70% effaced. Baby is engaged! Dr s...

**NEW** September 2014 Playroom

The weight loss woes

Had my 6 week pp today...all clear and just for pregnancy nostalgia I am still carrying 20lbs of bab...

Baby Names

RNOTD: Peyton

Name: Peyton Gender: Female Meaning: Noble Origin: Latin What do you think of this name? I...

Baby Names

RNOTD: Micah

Name: Micah Gender: Male Meaning: Who is like God Origin: Hebrew What do you think of this name...

» Check out the friendliest message board for moms and moms-to-be!