But Isn’t Castor Oil Used for Abortion?
This is another common argument about why castor oil should not be used to induce labor. However it’s a redundant argument – abortion and induction share the same basic goal of evacuating the womb. Many medical induction aids (including pitocin) are also commonly used in abortion.
Even medical opinion on the subject varies widely. Some obstetricians and midwives regularly recommend the use of castor oil to induce labour once a woman passes 40 weeks while others discourage or strongly warn against it.
Until the last few decades, castor oil and soap enemas were commonly used in hospitals to induce labor. However doctors discovered other methods of induction that had higher success rates because they were more forceful on the body.
If you do have a high risk pregnancy or are ill, it’s a good idea to either seek medical advice or avoid castor oil as an induction method.
What Does Castor Oil Taste Like?
Castor oil is a thick liquid which some people do not like the taste of at all. Others say is nearly tasteless.
It is a thick, clear, oily liquid similar in taste and consistency to cooking oil. It also has a taste comparable to plain soap.
Can You Eat After Taking Castor Oil?
Yes, there is no reason you can’t eat after taking castor oil. However it’s best to eat light food only, as castor oil can make you feel nauseous or throw up, so a big meal will likely make you feel worse.
Castor Oil Side Effects
- Diarrhea – Since castor oil is a laxative, this is a very common side effect.
- Vomiting – A small number of women also vomit due to the strong effect of the oil.
- Cramping – The bowel will usually cramp due to the laxative effect of the castor oil but not everyone will feel it. Some women will experience violent cramps however.
- Nothing – some women will not experience any side effects at all.
Preparing To Take Castor Oil
- Make sure you have plenty of water available to keep you from being dehydrated.
- Be close to a toilet.
- Have your hospital bags ready.
How Long It Takes
It takes from 2-6 hours for side effects to begin. Side effects can last from 1-6 hours. It can take from 5-24 hours for castor oil labor to begin, if it’s going to.
Reasons To Take Castor Oil
- You don’t need to be dialated or engaged for it to work.
- Your system is clean so that it’s unlikely you’ll have any “accidents” while pushing during labour, except in the rare cases where labor begins very fast or was about to begin when you took the castor oil, anyway.
- It produces prostaglandins which can aid in dilation.
- Although more forceful than other natural induction methods, it still will not put you into labor unless your body is ready – unlike a medical induction.
Quantities & Drinking Methods
Many places online will recommend taking half a cup or more of castor oil. Personally I’d only recommend taking 1-2 tablespoons at most. As long as you take enough to make the castor oil do it’s job, you don’t need to overdose on it –taking too much can lead to severe dehydration.
There are plenty of ways you can take castor oil, it’s completely up to you. Here are some suggestions:
- Mix with orange juice or a strong flavoured drink to cover the taste.
- Take as a shot then chase it with something to remove the taste.
- Drink over ten minutes either mixed or in small straight amounts.
Do You Need to be Dilated or Effaced to Use Castor Oil?
Castor oil promotes the release of prostaglandins which can help soften and efface the cervix. It’s possible for castor oil to work even if your cervix is not dilated, effaced or ripe. Some cervixes (especially in first time mothers) do not begin to change till after labor begins.1 | 2 | 3 | 4