Is Castor oil safe to induce labor?

Tomorrow i will be 41 weeks pregnant, and i have not had any contractions or any signs of labor. I bought some castor oil, but i am afraid to use it. Some people say that it could cause a miscarriage, or i would have a uncomfortable labor.. pooping while pushing out the baby. So, Is Castor oil safe to induce labor or will it harm my baby?

12 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Best Answer

    First of all, this is a sure fire way to bring about dangerous complications. Yes, I know that many women use castor oil without disastrous results. And yes, generally castor oil is so mild that if your body isn't ready to give birth it won't anyway. BUT, there is the increased risk of fetal distress due, among other things, to dehydration via diarrhea. There is also the fact that being stuck on the toilet with abdominal cramps is a miserable way to begin labor and can put a downward spin (no pun intended) on the whole experience in that sense, right from the start. Some midwives & doctors alike both use it. However, the number of doctors & midwives advocating its use is slim with the advent of modern medical interventions such as pitocin that is safer & more effective. While pitocin & 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 & showing signs of labor, castor oil may work for you. 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 & may cause nausea, vomiting, & abdominal cramping. 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 & tightening of the muscles in the intestines. These cramps may spread to the uterus, tightening the uterine muscles & stimulating contractions. These contractions may or may not lead to the onset of active labor.

    How much castor oil do you use to induce labor?

    Castor oil can be purchased at most drug stores in the laxative aisle. 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.

    Castor oil recipes


    2 oz castor oil

    1 tsp baking soda

    6 oz orange juice


    2 oz castor oil

    1-2 scoops ice cream

    1/4 cup milk

    blend in blender


    2 oz castor oil shot followed by sucking on a lime or lemon

    If in the end you decide to go ahead & take Castor oil or other such induction methods, I advise you to only do it with the approval & awareness of your birth attendants (if you have any), as they need to be ready, willing & able to respond to any emergencies it might cause, as well as being able to organize their care around your plans (for example you wouldn't want to cause the baby to be born when your attendants were planning to be away for the weekend if you don't want to give birth without them & for another example, you wouldn't want your attendants to unknowingly combine induction methods that are incompatible.) Still, I hope you'll seriously consider trusting in the inherent wisdom of your miraculously made body & enjoy a joyous, empowering, complication-free birth!

  • 9 years ago

    I have taken castor oil 2x to induce labor. It worked only 1 time but it was a horrible labor. I wasnt aware of the complications either. The worst it can be for you is you get the runs but it can make the baby extremely sick if he/she has a bowel movement during labor. There are other things I would suggest you look into such as teas (black/blue cohosh), acupuncture and I heard fresh pineapple can also induce labor. Hope this helps and good luck.

    Source(s): Mommy of 5 and 25w along w #6
  • 9 years ago

    Fist of all, miscarrirages are only up to 20 weeks. after that it's a pre-term birth until 37 wks and full term 38-40.Now, castor oil is not something you want to try. It does not induce labor. it will most likely give you the most horrible diarrhea you've ever had and may cause the baby to pass meconium. i took it, just to see if it would work. i was 38 weeks, having constant contracions, 1.5cm dilated and 70% thinned and it did not do a thing, not even diarrhea! it was really dump of me to take it. i later asked my doc about it and she told me it DOES NOT WORK!!! it's just a myth. instead, i would encourage you to go for long walks and have sex and just enjoy the last days of your pregnancy. i know how you feel, i'm past my due date also...the baby will come when he/she is ready. Good luck with your labor and delivery!

    Source(s): prego nurse :)
  • Nancy
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Just because you reach 37 weeks does not mean your baby is ready. Just because people say and textbooks say that 37 weeks is full term, does not mean your baby is ready. You could inflict health issues on your child, especially respiratory issues. If your baby was on schedule for birth at 42 weeks, inducing at 37 weeks is not safe or healthy for your baby. Babies measure ahead or behind up to 4 weeks, it means nothing, it's only guidelines and approximates, it does not mean anything. The weight can be out greatly, people are told they will have a big baby 9+ pounds, but at 42 weeks, their bubs is less than 8lbs, imagine the size if induced early. Inducing should NOT be done prior to 40 weeks unless medically necessary for either mother and child. Inducing should not be attempted for selfish convenience reasons to suit the parents. Your husband being there is important, i agree, but your baby's health and well being is more important. Inducing will not work unless your body is ready, otherwise all attempts will be rejected by your body, even being medically induced can be rejected by your body. If your baby is ready, it will come early, if it does not come early, your baby is not ready and should be allowed to finish completely developing. Even though textbooks/people state its fine, it's not worth the risk, really it isn't, not for convenience/selfish reasons, it's not your baby's fault it's due date is not convenient for you both. Castor oil is not recommended and it's safety is not exactly known. It will cause you excessive bowel movements, it will give you abdominal/bowel cramps and it will cause minor contractions and yes, it does/can pass to your baby and cause your baby to have a bowel movement putting their health at risk. The abdominal/bowel cramps will continue but the minor contractions will not. Every baby is individual, grows at their own rates/pace, just because a universal textbook states 37 is full term does not mean your baby is ready or safe to enter the world. Your obs not inducing before the 3rd should tell you something, it's not safe or recommended. Inducing for personal/inconvenience reasons is wrong, think of your baby's health over yourself or your partner. I do not wish this on anyway, but if a person ever experiences a loss of a baby, then with further pregnancies they understand nothing comes before the safety and health of a baby as pregnancy and babies are miracles and should be cherished and allow nature to take its course.

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  • ?
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    There is no proof it brings on labour.

    However, there is a lot more proof that it will more than likely make you sick and have you on the toilet for a very long time.

    Not to mention that there is a very real risk that it can cause your baby to pass meconium (babies first bowel movement) in the womb, and if this occurs, your baby could inhale it, become critically ill and even die.

    Is it really worth the risk? You've waited this long. A couple more days are not going to make any difference.

  • 3 years ago

    I used it to induce labor. It was my moms idea since she did the same to induce labor herself. Hot chocolate or poured over a cinnonmon cake just put it this way within 4 hrs I was having my daughter

  • Pippin
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    You can't have a miscarriage at 41 weeks.

    But, as others have said, castor oil is very dangerous, and doesnt' work.

  • 9 years ago

    I will post you info from website baby, centre,

    Nausea is likely to be the immediate effect, followed by a bad case of diarrhoea and there is a risk that you will become dehydrated. For this reason, we would NOT recommend taking castor oil.

    So briefly no it is not safe

    try, sex, walking, a bumpy car ride, eating curry, or red raspberry leaf tea, or nipple stimulation.

  • 9 years ago

    No, it's not safe. It can cause diarrhea, severe cramping, and dehydration for you. More importantly it can cause fetal distress for your baby and possibly lead to him/her passing their first bowel movement(meconium) in the womb. It is just NOT worth the risk. Plus the only thing starts labor is your body. It is not something you can force. It's all about when your body 'says' it's time.

  • 9 years ago

    Its DEF. not worth the risks that could come with it -

    For some its put their babies in the NICU - my sisters baby spent 8 days fighting for her life after she took this at 38 weeks -

    If you think the risks are worth it then by all means have at it - I'm over trying to explain how dangerous this could end up being

    If you've had no signs at all of labor chances are it won't work anyways

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