castor oil? how does it work or why? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 10-06-2007, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i've heard several people say that castrol oil works or helps to put a woman into labor. im just curious as to the reasons why it works.

Trying to with SO my dd3 my ds 2 dss 7 dss 8 and 2 chinese creasted's
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#2 of 15 Old 10-06-2007, 10:47 PM
 
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And there's the catch - most times it doesn't work and is just nasty stuff.

Jenn
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#3 of 15 Old 10-07-2007, 02:09 AM
 
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It dehydrates you, which can start ctx going, and it can irritate your uterus, which can also cause ctx.

Ime, I did have ctx -- but they stopped after a few hours. And I had some truly lovely diahrrea.

I will not take it again.

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#4 of 15 Old 10-07-2007, 02:11 AM
 
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Yeah, from what I understand it upsets your bowels and causes diarrhea, therefore irritating your uterus so much that it can cause contractions.
Does NOT sound like a way I'd want to go into labor!
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#5 of 15 Old 10-07-2007, 10:39 AM
 
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i haven't used it, but have heard that the diarrhea can continue for a while after you deliver too - which sounds horrible!

my midwives don't recommend it at all, but said if you insist on using it, get a good night's sleep & take it in the morning so you have plenty of energy.
personally, i'd want to save the energy for labor, not for diarrhea!
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#6 of 15 Old 10-07-2007, 01:52 PM
 
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Castor Oil causes bowel cramping which causes elimination(usually loose or diahrrea.) which causes uterine contractions. Not a fun way to begin labor(bowel cramping/contractions). As to the comment about it dehydrating you, thus causing contractions? If that is the case it is due to the diahrrea. A dehydrated labor is a disfunctional labor and not way to begin labor. Labors need hydration!
Also, there seems to be some concern about Castor Oil having the same elimination effect on baby (passing meconium). In this situation, it could cause baby to asperate the mec. and be problematic (or perceived problem by practitioner).
Overall, I'm not a big fan of Castor Oil induction. Actually, all induction (no matter natural or not) has the potential for problems.
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#7 of 15 Old 11-05-2007, 08:58 AM
 
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I came up with this regimen when I was pregnant with my son. So far it's had a 100% success rate (it's worked for me and 5 other women I've told it to). I don't advocate inducing normally, but when overdue and facing a medical induction, I'd take castor oil any day over pitocin/cervidil/cytotec. The midwives at our local freestanding birth center and hospital birthing center all use castor regularly to induce before moving on to medical inductions.

Castor Oil induction:

Put 1oz (2 tablespoons) of castor oil (CO) in the blender with ice cream and a little bit of milk to make a shake. Drink. Take a long hot shower (this relaxes you). Proceed with 1 hour of nipple/breast stimulation-- apply oil to one breast, massage the area around the nipple/areola in a circular motion for 15 minutes (you don't have to actually touch your nipple), then switch sides. Only massage one breast at a time (15 minutes each side for a total of 1 hour). Wait for contractions.

If after 2 hours, you are having NO contractions at all, take another 1oz of CO in a shake and do another hour of nipple/breast stimulation. Wait for contractions.

If after 2 more hours, you are still having NO contractions, take a final 1oz of CO in a shake and do another hour of nipple/breast stimulation. Wait for contractions. If this doesn't work-- your body truly isn't ready.


Most women will be in labor after the first or second dose (it took me only one dose and I never had any diarrhea, stomach cramping, or nausea). DON'T take more than 3 doses (3oz total). I started drinking my shake at 9pm at night and by 10pm was already having regular contractions. My son was born 9 hours after I finished my shake.

I also drank RRL tea my ENTIRE pregnancy and started EPO both vaginally and orally at 36 weeks.

Latia (Birth & Postpartum Doula and Infant Nanny)
Mom to Conner (8/19/03) and Parker (5/23/09)::::
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#8 of 15 Old 11-05-2007, 09:36 AM
 
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I did castor oil with my first, threw the bottle away with my second (without opening it, it was out of date. Same bottle.) Both times, I was in labour by 3.30am after taking it (or not) at 5pm. Basically, it's a laxative and purgative; it irritates the intestines, causes cramping and total evacuation. This brings baby down, and the cramping will stimulate uterine contractions. However, these contractions will not cause your cervix to dilate unless baby is actually ready to come.
I tried it with DD, too, to break the prodromal labour and failed dismally. One of my induction recipes (I have a total of 36 days postdates between three children, I read this stuff a lot) came from Mary Cronk and suggested a small dose of castor oil in orange juice, followed by a biscuit, followed by a stretch and sweep.

Two pieces of advice for anyone considering doing this to themselves:
1) If you're contracting less than 6 hours after taking the castor oil, it may or may not be labour, especially if contractions aren't escalating. Wait a while. For this reason, I'd suggest taking it in the evening rather than the morning- also because night-time hormone levels are statistically more likely to help you along. I'd be seriously hesitant to take a double dose, unless you have a date booked for a hospital induction that is less than 36 hours in the future, you're booked for a homebirth and you know that your cervix is favourable. Really. Postdates pregnancy is horrible enough without that kind of tummy ache.
2) Get a spray bottle to help you wipe your bum after going to the toilet, with a teeny bit of almond oil mixed with some warm water. Castor oil does FOUL things to your insides and your outsides, and it will burn and hurt. Lots. Especially if you take a large dose, and especially if it doesn't start labour.

eta: I realise my opinions completely conflict with what Latia is saying. Seriously, IME, a castor oil labour will be accompanied by loose bowels and will start slower than one started by nipple stimulation.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#9 of 15 Old 11-05-2007, 10:12 AM
 
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In my experience, castor oil can definitely help. I don't remember how much I took, but it was a "half dose" based on what I'd been reading before I did it. My first son had been 11 days past his due date, and due to his complications and resulting death, my medwives were pressuring me HARD to not go more than a week over with my second son. I'd had a week of off-and-on prodromal labor that was driving me batty (get all excited, get all disappointed). So, on Saturday morning, 3 days past my date, I had half a dose. With what I called my "colon bomb breakfast" because of it's immediate effect (handy in case of constipation, LOL). Coffee with cream and a BIG bowl of soaked oatmeal with the works- butter, raisins, nuts, coconut shreds, probably some cream as well. All that fiber, fat, and coffee... yeah...
Well, from what I'd read about castor oil, it works two ways and no one is entirely sure which one is the magic one. First, yes, it irritates your bowels and thereby your uterus. Second, it has some prostaglandins that might cross through the intestines and get to your uterus. All overdue mamas know that prostaglandins are their friends. From hubby or Evening Primrose or castor.
So, I made a shake of sorts with a banana, probably some milk, I'm not sure... whatever I could think of to hide the castor oil. Half a dose, whatever that is (maybe one tablespoon?) went in, and I drank it down.

I figured that the irritation of sorts from my breakfast scrubbing my insides, plus the castor oil, would kick-start things. Or not. But either way, I figured that I wouldn't end up TOO miserable. And I was right.

Within an hour my contractions started. Every 5 minutes (or less), but completely manageable. They lasted all day, getting as close as 3 minutes, until I ate a big dinner and halted things accidentally. I went to bed cranky. And was awoken at 2 am with a HUGE contraction, my water breaking, and real, hard, fast labor. My son was born 4 hours later.

Was it the castor oil? I don't know. I think it was. I had already been taking EPO to make sure my cervix was ready. At my last medwife appt they had said my cervix was lookin good... I don't remember the specifics, but I was maybe 3-4 cm, somewhat effaced, and really soft.

I'll gladly do it again this time, if I need to. I grow incredibly big babies, and so far that has caused them some pretty big problems. I don't want to go more than a few days overdue. But that's MY personal situation.

SAHM of Kayla (11/98) Hunter (8/03) Jo (1/04) : Jared (2/05) Camelia (12/07) Hope/Chance (11/08) and Jack (12/09)
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#10 of 15 Old 11-05-2007, 01:52 PM
 
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[QUOTE=Tammi;9367259]
Also, there seems to be some concern about Castor Oil having the same elimination effect on baby (passing meconium). In this situation, it could cause baby to asperate the mec. and be problematic (or perceived problem by practitioner).
QUOTE]

I took Castor Oil after and went into labor the next day. Never poo'd though. But my ds did asperate mec.- and it was really scary. I will not take it again.

B/c it felt weird and wrong at the time but I was 11 days past my due date and anxious and b/c of what Tammi wrote above. If there is even the slightest correlation I would NEVER risk meconium inhalation.

April thankful mommy to my boys Big Red 3/06 Little Z 9/08 and happily awaiting the arrival of 10/10 :
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#11 of 15 Old 11-05-2007, 02:19 PM
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I must admit, I did take castor oil when I was almost 42w pg in hopes of avoiding a complete induction. I was already at 2 cm, and my cervix was pretty short - about 1.5 cm, and I was having contrax on and off throughout the week, but nothing to note by the minute...

I accidently only took half the dose 2 tablespoons (instead of 2 oz?) and mixed it with orange juice, with ultra spicy doritos as a chaser - you'll need something to kill the gooey gross slimy texture! I took it around 3am, and by the next night, I was in full labor. It clears out your insides. (My mom took 1T / day as a kid as she was going out the door to school.) But you do need to make sure you're on a toilet all day, and hydrate big time. It wasn't a sudden labor starter... they say it takes about 12 hours or so if you're going to go into labor. My theory is if you're going to go into labor anyways, and everything else in your body is ready, it may work. It worked for me.

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#12 of 15 Old 11-05-2007, 07:57 PM
 
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LIke I said before, the midwives at our local freestanding birth center and hospital birthing center all use castor regularly to induce before moving on to medical inductions. Everything I've read and heard from midwives experiences is that castor oil DOES NOT cause babies to pass meconium. Babies that are postdates are most likely to pass meconium and since most woman who induce with castor oil are past their due date it makes that their babies are more likely to pass meconium-- due to being overdue NOT because of the castor oil. Homebirth midwives use castor oil all the time as well and I've never heard a single one say that they believe castor oil increases meconium passing. There is one study that shows that castor oil does indeed cause an increase in women going into labor within 24 hours of taken compared to women who did not take it. That study did not show an increase in meconium staining. Let me see if I can find it.

Evaluation of the effect of castor oil on initiating labor in term pregnancy
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/en...ubmed_RVDocSum

Use of castor oil in pregnancies at term
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/en...ubmed_RVDocSum

Effect of castor oil-diet on the initiation of labor of pregnant rat
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/en...ubmed_RVDocSum

Latia (Birth & Postpartum Doula and Infant Nanny)
Mom to Conner (8/19/03) and Parker (5/23/09)::::
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#13 of 15 Old 11-05-2007, 08:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by essnce629 View Post
Homebirth midwives use castor oil all the time as well and I've never heard a single one say that they believe castor oil increases meconium passing.
My homebirth midwives were not happy to hear I had taken the castor oil. And encouraged me not to do so again. They are pretty much against any form of "induction". So not all of them give it "all the time". I am happy to hear that studies say there may not be a correlation to to mec. Thanks for the links.

April thankful mommy to my boys Big Red 3/06 Little Z 9/08 and happily awaiting the arrival of 10/10 :
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#14 of 15 Old 11-21-2007, 01:22 PM
 
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Castor oil has a strong laxative effect that causes intestinal contractions and elimination thereby causing uterine contractions as well. (although uterine contractions may be mild and intermittent and not enough to start actual labor).
I would suggest that if you do decide to use castor oil, it be taken with a healthy breakfast after a good nights sleep so you're well rested if you do go into labor and even if you don't, you won't have to be up all night on the toilet.
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#15 of 15 Old 11-21-2007, 02:01 PM
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