Evening Primrose Oil to Soften the Cervix - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 01:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I was just reading about someone talking about taking EPO orally.
I was taught specifically NOT to take EPO orally, but that it should be applied to the cervix, that it is taken orally for things like stomach ulcers it can actually have an alternate effect on the cervix when taken early. Any herbalists/mws have anything to say?
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#2 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 03:04 AM
 
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#3 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 09:12 AM
 
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I have a couple books so I checked those...I hope it's ok to post this:

In the book The Natural Pregnancy Book by Aviva Jill Romm a midwife and herbalist, she mentions taking evening primrose oil to soften the cervix which I assume is orally.

In the book Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susan Weed, she also says to take evening primrose oil for an unripe cervix. In another section, she talks about opening it for use during labor for a rigid cervix.

Tina - mama to DD1 10yrs, DD2 5.5 yrs and DD3 22 mo and wifey to DH.
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#4 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 10:03 AM
 
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Well, I'm not a professional, but I pretty much only took it orally with dd (I tried it internally once or twice) and had a nice soft squishy cervix and dilated to a good 2-3 before labor. With both ds's I had no progress prior to SROM at the beginning of actual labor. Even the SROM didn't get me far - I was a 1-2cm for hours with both of them. So that's just anecdotal, but I did take a lot of it for a good 5-6 weeks.
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#5 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 10:13 AM
 
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There's no reason not to take it orally.
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#6 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 11:37 AM
 
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I’m not a professional so hope you don’t mind me chiming in but my midwife had me take it orally around 34 weeks and then vaginally at 38 weeks. My cervix was nice and soft 2cm, 95% effaced at 38 weeks. Not sure if the EPO did anything.
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#7 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 01:43 PM
 
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I know everyone's midwife is a bit different... just the other day I was discussing herbs with my midwife... she recommends (starting only at 37 weeks) 1000mg orally in the morning, then a capsule vaginally at night.

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#8 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 02:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by butterfly1001 View Post
I know everyone's midwife is a bit different... just the other day I was discussing herbs with my midwife... she recommends (starting only at 37 weeks) 1000mg orally in the morning, then a capsule vaginally at night.
that's what mine says, too.

and I've heard that EPO orally throughout pregnancy is really good for mama and babe, but have never heard why. So, I would think if anything, even if it's not ripening the cervix, it's not going to do anything to delay the natural process.
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#9 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 04:15 PM
 
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Just don't take crazy amounts like my CNM had me taking ,I was taking 10 a day ! I have since read on different herbal sites that evening primrose oil can be a blood thinner so probably wasn't the best thing for me to be taking as I ended up with a c-section.

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#10 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 04:41 PM
 
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I don't understand the recommendation for all pregnant women to take it routinely at the end of pregnancy. Don't we have faith that our bodies know how to prepare for birth without intervention?
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#11 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 05:14 PM
 
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I don't equate EPO with "interventions". I equate it with good health and excercise and good nutrition.

If we all ate the perfect diet, we would probably have the same results. But in today's world, that is near impossible. So taking vitimans and suppliments just puts us back into balance, kinda where we should be.

Anyways, that is my take on it.

I begin taking EPO by mouth at 28 wks. Then increase to two per day at 32 wks and begin vaginally at 36 wks and increase that to two vaginally at 38 wks. It worked wonders with my cervix. (At 40.2 wks I was tightly closed but as "mushy" as I could get. And delivery went very smoothly and labor was "easier" than previous ones.)

I believe EPO and RRLT is a GREAT end pgcy tradition and helps my body to birth better with less stress and wear.

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#12 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 05:29 PM
 
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My ND just told me to start taking it (I'm only 17 weeks) 1 cap/day for a few weeks, then 2/day. Not to soften the cervix though, but to build up progesterone levels in my body to prepare for the possibility of post partum depression after the big progesterone drop when I give birth.

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#13 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 05:33 PM
 
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So taking vitimans and suppliments just puts us back into balance, kinda where we should be.
But what you're supplementing here is natural birth, not making up for a deficiency.
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#14 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 05:48 PM
 
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Not if you consider EPO something that should be in our diet but is absent due to inadequate nutrition.

I also don't consider EPO an "intervention" because I am not intervening on the actions of my natural body forcing it to do anything that is not natural. Just aiding it in working naturally, as it should. It is no different than me taking my prenatal vitimans or doing prenatal excercises to strenghten birth muscles, or even paraneal massage to help stretch muscles (although, I don't do this, but lots of moms do).

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#15 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 09:42 PM
 
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Per my mw's suggestion, I started on a low dose EPO at 34 weeks, and then gradually built up to top out at 1300 mg three times a day right around 38 weeks. (I'm thinking all that was right) All orally.

Anyway, IMO, EPO isn't much different of a supplement as CLO...oils are good for the body and skin and most of us are deficient in them due to a poor diet....even if we eat relatively healthy in the realm of modern culture.

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#16 of 17 Old 05-15-2008, 10:27 PM
 
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I took EPO orally for probably about 4 weeks with dd1. I didn't take it with ds2 and there really was no difference...I was actually dilated more with ds2 earlier than dd1 but I did have a lot of BH with him.

I'm not saying it doesn't work and I think it is okay to take it but I don't think that something as simple as oral EPO is going to make or break dilating.
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#17 of 17 Old 05-16-2008, 06:38 PM
 
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I have a MS in Nutrition and have done some research in this area, so while Im no 'expert', I'll share what I know.

Women take EPO because it is a source of gamma linolenic acid (GLA) which is a precursor required for the synthesis of the prostaglandins that soften the cervix in labor. However, most people are not deficient in GLA if they have a well balanced diet. Also, in the case of shortage, GLA can be manufactured in the body from linoleic acid, which is typically abundant in most diets. So, for most healthy women, taking EPO shouldn't REALLY have an effect on cervix ripening. However, as with many things, science can't explain everything, so if women anecdotally think that it has helped them, perhaps it has.

Also, it should not matter whether the EPO is taken orally or vaginally. It would definitely not have an 'opposite' effect depending on method of ingestion. I would think there is probably a better chance of absorption through the intestinal wall, rather than the vaginal wall.

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