I know what it feels like to be desperate for your baby to be born. I was desperate enough to try castor oil myself to induce labor. That being said, most women might try to coax their baby out way before he or she is ready to be born. And technically, if you haven’t gone into labor on your own, then your baby is not ready yet. So anyone who is trying to induce labor is doing so against the baby’s will. Now there are times when an induction is needed. Will drinking castor oil put you into labor?
When to Induce Labor
Ideally, labor shouldn’t be induced at all. That being said, I understand that there are situations in which giving birth sooner rather than later is better. Inductions are medically indicated if either mother or baby isn’t doing well. In that case, inductions are usually started by medical professionals, and the medium of choice would most likely not be castor oil.
I can see one reason why inducing at home would be a good idea: if the alternative is being induced by your doctor or midwife or having to undergo a C-section. Medical professionals don’t like it when women go too fast past their due date. Some are not even comfortable going past 41 weeks. If this describes your situation, then you might want to give castor oil a try.
How It Works
Castor oil is irritating to your intestines. It actually causes your body to clean them out. This in turn can cause uterine contractions, which can jump start labor. While castor oil is used by quite a few women who hope to induce labor, no official studies have been done. Some women report that it works like a charm; others don’t notice any effect besides diarrhea. There is a possibility that taking castor oil has a placebo effect as well. If you believe that it will put you into labor, then it just might.
How to Use It
You can purchase castor oil at most grocery stores. It’s going to be found in the pharmaceutical area with other laxatives. Taking castor oil is not pleasant. Some women drink it with orange juice to remove the taste. How much you should take is debatable. As there is no research on the subject, there is really no prescribed dosage. However, I would venture a guess that you won’t be able to take more than a tablespoon or two, because that stuff is really gross.
It will probably take a few hours for the castor oil to take effect. You will definitely have diarrhea for a while. Hopefully, contractions will follow and you’ll go into labor. But whether or not castor oil will do the trick depends on how ready your body is to go into labor on its own.
My Personal Experience
I was more than 42 weeks along when I took castor oil in the hopes that it would induce labor. It was really nasty, and as advertised, it caused diarrhea. I had contraction as well, but I had been having them for weeks. In the end, I had to be patient. It took almost another week for my baby to be born at 43 weeks and 2 days. Would I try to induce labor again if I was in that same situation? No.
My baby only weighed 7 lbs. 10 oz. He clearly needed more time in the womb. Afterwards, I felt bad for having tried to kick him out early, and I’m glad that he ignored those attempts. But at least now I can say that I know what you’re going through when you’re ready to take that stuff. But still, I’d advise against it. Your baby will come whenever he or she is ready.