- Never take more than 1-2 tablespoons in a twenty four hour period.
- Drink lots of water, as castor oil is a laxative and will dehydrate you.
- It’s best to take castor oil in the morning, as it can take 6-12 hours to work.
- If your body is not ready to go into labor it will not work. Unless you have a good reason (discomfort is not a good reason!) don’t attempt this before 40 weeks.
- Do not take it as a means to speed up labour – it can make it quite painful on top of contractions. Only take it to induce.
- Do it at your own risk and talk to your medical professional if in doubt.
How It Works
When you’re overdue with baby, chances are that you’ll be willing to try almost anything. The first few days after you go overdue you might promise yourself that certain methods of natural induction are out of bounds, but after a few more days you’ll just be desperate to get baby out.
Castor oil is a liquid laxative that you can find in most chemists and health food stores. Because of its forceful emptying of the bowels which can cause cramping and diarrhoea, castor oil is frowned upon by some people.
However if you do plan to try it or just want to know about it, this guide has the basic information you’ll need – both the good the bad and the plain messy. Having spent many hours reading all I could on it, as well as naturally inducing labor with it myself, this is what I learnt…
Meconium & Castor Oil
Meconium Stained Liquors (waters) occur in 10-20% of births and are not usually an issue. Out of this group, only 2-4% of babies experience complications caused by MAS (meconium aspiration syndrome).
If you research castor oil induction thoroughly, you’ll find that there are two camps – one claims that castor oil labor induction increases the chance of meconium being passed during the labor due to foetal distress. The other group claims that castor oil labor induction has no relation to passing meconium. I’m no medical expert so here are the facts I’ve found. You can research and decide for yourself.
- Babies born postdate (40 weeks and over) have a higher chance of passing meconium in the womb due to more mature bowels.
- Babies born without using castor oil to induce labor can still pass meconium in the womb.
- Babies born after castor oil labor induction are still often born without passing meconium in the womb.
- No well documented study has linked meconium and castor oil labor induction or proven that laxatives can pass through the placenta in any form.
- One theory is that anything that effects the mother in a certain way during pregnancy has the same effect on the baby. Diarrhea is one of the main side effects of castor oil.
- Approximately 57% of women who take castor oil go into labor. Remember this is a statistic only and may not take into account how far along they were or other conditions.
1 | 2 | 3 | 4