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Do you believe there is a direct correlation with castor oil and baby passing meconi

  • yes I do

    Votes: 7 30.4%
  • no I don't

    Votes: 15 65.2%
  • inbetween the two

    Votes: 1 4.3%

castor oil and miconium

1905 Views 9 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  doula and mom
Do you believe there is a direct correlation with castor oil and baby passing meconium? How did you come to this belief?
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Is there a lot of meconium in babies induced with castor oil? Yes there is. Is there a lot of meconium in babies of the same gestation who were not induced? Yes. If you have a 42 week baby who is induced with castor oil and you have thick meconium, it is tempting to say that it was the castor oil that did it, but you can never know. A lot of postdates babies have mec. Most castor oil inductions are done on postdates women.

I think that castor oil causes diarrhea and intestinal expulsion for two reasons -- one because it is irritating when it comes in direct contact with the intestines, which would not happen to the baby because any castor oil metabolites that cross the placenta would not be coming in direct contact with the intestines. I have also heard another midwife opine that castor oil causes diarrhea because it prevents the absorption of water from the lower intestines -- causing watery stool. There is not a whole lot of water in meconium to begin with, so interfering with absorption is not going to produce a watery stool.

You could make the argument that any induction is stressful on the baby and therefore could contribute to meconium, but I do not believe that there is evidence that castor oil is any worse than any other induction agent in this regard. I believe that there is at least one medical study which also confirms this opinion.
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Thanks for the responce. I look forward to hearing more of them.

From all side too
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no, I don't.

I think that most postdates babies (that is, babies 42 weeks and beyond or close to that) pass meconium without fetal distress. Some babies do it earlier than even 42 weeks.

I think when we're discussing castor oil induction, and for it to work, we're talking about women pretty far past their due date. So, we see an increase in meconium, but it's not the castor oil, it's just the norm for those "late" babies.

I've used castor oil in my practice and I've never seen it, but that doesn't mean anything. I just think that physiologically, it would be hard pressed to affect the baby in that way.
I have to agree with the PP. 42 weekers often have mec anyway... and I have seen quite a few CO induced births that did not include mec. It's an interesting theory and I can understand why it persists but I haven't found it to be true.
Defenestrator's reasoning makes a lot of sense. Even so, castor oil is still an intervention, and if it makes the mother sick (more likely if she takes it mid-labor than pre-labor,) that can affect her stress level and how well she deals with the labor, and that will indirectly affect the baby. I'm still not convinced that it can't affect the baby directly as well, but what I really worry about with that is women who try castor oil induction over and over and over again.
I believe there is a correlation, but I don't think it is causative. Like pps have said, i think it has more to do with "postdate" babies passing meconium and women who are post date are more likely to pass meconium, so I think the correlation is linked to the gestational age.
I associate meconium more with pitocin than castor oil.

I would still like to read more opinions
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I have heard that it can be related, but I don't think there's enough evidence to link it statistically, from what I've read/heard. Personally, I took castor oil and didn't have mec; one of my earliest clients took castor oil and didn't have mec; another client took it and did; another client didn't take it and did. So who knows, is what I'm really saying. I'm really saying that I was up til 1am trying to unclog a toilet with a crappy plunger (pardon the pun) and my kids were up at 6am. I'm tired and have no idea what I'm saying.
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