How Much Castor Oil Should I Take?

Are you 40 weeks pregnant and still waiting for the baby to be born? Are you looking for any ideas to induce labor? Castor oil is known to induce labor and many doctors and midwives recommend it for years. However, does it really work? Is it safe? How much castor oil should I take?

Does Castor Oil Work to Induce Labor?

It is widely believed that castor oil helps only among women who are ready to give birth. Castor oil is known for its laxative benefits. Only a small amount of castor oil is enough to smooth up the intestinal muscles. When the intestinal muscles are smoothed, the uterus muscles get tight, starting the contractions. 

Several studies have shown that castor oil induces labor. A study on about 100 mothers who consumed about 60 ml of castor oil before going to labor, showed that more than half of these women went on labor within a few hours after castor oil consumption. Some of these women report an active labor within the first 24 hours of castor oil consumption. It seems to work, right?

Remember that you should not use castor oil if not in full term, if you have pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension or kidney problems or if you have a high-risk pregnancy. You can use castor oil only if you are already 40 weeks pregnant and if there are signs of labor present, such as thinning and softening of your cervix.

Is It Safe to Use Castor Oil to Induce Labor?

How much castor oil should I take? Maybe you should know the safety of castor oil first. There are different opinions among scientists and medical doctors. 

Before using castor oil to induce labor, you should talk to your health care provider. Various side effects can occur, such as:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Decreased urination, etc.

Abdominal cramping might be a positive sign of castor oil use as it may indicate the beginning of contractions which lead to labor. If diarrhea occurs, make sure to drink plenty of water a day in order to prevent dehydration. 

Once again, don’t use castor oil on your own. Your health care provider is the one who will determine if castor oil is the right labor inducement method for you.

How Much Castor Oil Should I Take to Induce Labor?

If castor oil is the right method to induce labor, how much castor oil to take? 2 to 4 oz. of castor oil is given to pregnant women in every 12 hours when trying to induce labor.

Since castor oil has an unpleasant taste, it is less likely to be consumable alone without causing nausea or vomiting. Usually, castor oil is mixed with 6 oz. of orange juice and 1 tbsp. of baking soda. An omelet with salsa and castor oil can also help, making it consumable without feeling its unpleasant taste.

Castor oil shots might work for some women. This means taking a 2 oz. shot of castor oil, followed by lime or lemon sucking, just like with tequila shots. Lime or lemon helps remove the unpleasant taste once you have drunk the castor oil. You can also mix the castor oil into a milkshake. Mix 2 oz. of castor oil, ¼ cup of milk and 2 scoops of ice cream. 

Other Ways to Induce Labor

How much castor oil should I take? You already know the answer. If you are hesitated with the castor oil way, here are more methods that work to induce labor.

1. Walking

Yes, walking can induce labor, mostly due to gravity, a swaying of your hips and babies head pushing down the cervix. Walking can help induce labor, or it can help the labor progress if contractions have started already. However, if it does not do the trick at least you can relax yourself during the pregnancy.

2. Sex

Yes, sex! Even though it might sound odd to you and even impossible to have sex at the 40th week of pregnancy and beyond, sex can help induce labor. The male sperm contains prostaglandin which helps the uterine cervix become thinner and dilate, getting ready this way for pregnancy.

Some other researchers show that pregnant women who continue to have sex even at a late pregnancy are more likely to carry the baby longer than those who quit having sex early on. Either way, it will cost you nothing to try. Sex will keep you close to your partner and will help you lose the pressure of this big event coming.

3. Nipple Stimulation

Nipple stimulation for a couple of hours can help induce labor naturally. It works by producing oxytocin, a hormone which helps the uterus contract. Health practitioners, in general, don’t recommend this type of labor induction as it can lead to strong uterine contractions. These strong uterine contractions from nipple stimulation can lower the heart rate of the fetus significantly.

4. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is also known to induce labor. It consists in inserting needles into specific parts of the human body in order to stimulate the uterus to start contracting. However, acupuncture will do no miracles if the baby is not already in its birth position and ready to get out.

5. Acupressure

Acupressure, another natural method of inducing labor, is thought to stimulate uterine contractions by putting pressure on specific areas of the human body. It is similar to acupuncture, but instead of needles, the pressure is made using fingertips.

6. Spicy Foods

Spicy food tends to irritate the intestines, which will lead to uterine contractions, just as the castor oil does. There is no scientific evidence that spicy food really works. However, you have nothing to lose and if you like spicy food you can give it a try. Be aware of heartburns.

7. Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil is often recommended to induce labor naturally as it helps the cervix get softer and dilated. You can take capsules of evening primrose oil or you can just rub the oil directly to your cervix, whichever you prefer. The evening primrose capsules can be inserted directly into the vagina as well.

Talk to your health care provider before considering evening primrose oil as a method to induce labor. In cases of placenta previa, evening primrose oil is not recommended.

8. Inducing Labor in the Hospital

If the labor has not started yet and you have passed your due date, inducing labor in the hospital is required. In low-risk pregnancies, it is OK to wait until the 42nd week of pregnancy before labor is induced. However, in high-risk pregnancies, the labor should be induced around the due date in order to prevent possible complications.

Prostaglandin pills or even applying prostaglandin inside the vagina near the cervix helps induce the labor. If prostaglandin does not help, Pitocin is administered. Pitocin stimulates uterine contractions. However, Pitocin is only recommended in cases when the cervix is fully dilated and ready for labor.

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