By the end of pregnancy, you’re probably tired and sore enough to try any (safe) method that has even the slightest chance of making labor come sooner.
Although castor oil ingested internally can cause gross side effects such as diarrhea, vomiting and cramps, this isn’t the only method women use to attempt natural labor induction.
External & Internal Castor Oil Use
Some of the more common methods of using castor oil other than drinking it have included:
- Castor oil enema. Thought to provide a similar but gentler laxative to oral consumption.
- Castor oil pack. Involving cloth and heat to help aid absorption of the castor oil.
- Castor oil cervical massage. Similar to the internal use of Evening Primrose Oil.
- Castor oil belly rub. Sometimes used in conjunction with clary sage in a belly massage.
How is it meant to work?
Castor oil has long been used in various external forms to improve skin and hair, as well as increase the body’s immune response, although studies on this are limited. Castor oil is also thought to reduce inflammation, improve circulation and support ovarian and uterine health.
There is no clear indication as to how castor oil would work externally to induce labor. Like most natural induction methods, there is no medical evidence to guarantee labor will start, especially if both you and the baby are not ready. However the ability of castor oil to increase production of prostaglandins as well as its claimed health benefits may play a part.
If you do plan to use castor oil externally, it’s important to do so in moderation and take great care if you plan to use any type of heat on your belly in pregnancy. Before using a heatpack or castor oil internally or externally in pregnancy, always talk to a medical professional who knows your health history.