We all know castor oil has a history in the annals of folk medicine, but when I saw it mentioned in a post the other day, I realized I have no idea exactly how a castor oil episode might go. I did a search and found some interesting information.
There are loads of suggestions for masking the taste, and lots of stories too. Some were funny, some not-so-funny.
To be clear: I am NOT considering taking it to start labor, nor for any other reason. I already spend far too much of time in the bathroom! WAAAY too much time!
Actually, I did see that it makes a good lubricant, so I guess if I ever ran out of WD40.....
Anyway, I thought maybe some of you might have some stories to share about castor oil.
Did it work? Was it horrendous? I can't even imagine what it tastes like
and I have to wonder, with so many alternative on the market today, why is castor oil still found in every drug store?
As a doula, I get asked about it a lot. From my friends' anecdotal experiences, I tell my clients this: Castor oil may or may not be effective (as any other "natural method" of induction, if you're ready to go it may tip you over the edge, if not, it won't work) as an induction method. So, if it doesn't work? You'll have diarrhea, and you won't be in labor. Ick. On the other hand, if it DOES work? You'll have diarrhea...and you'll be in LABOR. Not necessarily a great combo...Um, ick, ow, ye-ow!
I was just wondering about castor oil as well - my EDD is tomorrow and I'm a bit anxious (not about the due date itself, just not wanting to go to 42 weeks and having to be induced again). My DH called from work with a story his coworker told him tonight about how she mixed a tablespoon into 3 scrambled eggs and had the baby a few hours later.
"Interesting", I told him. "But how long did she spend in the bathroom?"
I've wondered, too, why it is still in the stores. Who would just use it as a laxative? I think the main CO buyers are likely overdue women.
For both my babes, I took castor oil. The first time, I suffered no ill effects, woke up in labor 90 minutes after I took it.
The second time was kind of horrible. I was really pretty sick, although I had no nausea. (Hint hint, I guess.) I went into labor about 18 hours after I took the castor oil, so I felt fine for labor.
Neither babe had any meconium.
Castor oil does taste truly awful. I mixed it w/OJ and baking soda to fizz it up and cut the oiliness. Held my nose to drink it. Still, I hate to think about it.
I don't know that I would ever do it again, but I don't regret it. I was almost 42 weeks both times, and my babies were plenty big. Now I know of a midwife in the area who doesn't harass for post dates, so if I were to have another, I would go with her, and hopefully avoid another castor oil induction.
When I was pregnant with my 2nd and considering it, it WASN'T sold in stores, the natural food places had it though. Acually when I asked about it at Rite Aid and CVS the pharmasist was adimitt that they didn't carry it, as if nobody should carry it.
About castor oil inductions and impatient midwives
"Inducing with castor oil isn't safe. Once swallowed the castor oil is hydrolized by intestinal lipases to recinoleic acid which stimulates intestinal secretion, decreases glucose absorption and increases intestinal motility. Castor oil is used in lipsticks, too. Many women who can tolerate the oil quite well on their lips get a reaction on their mouths if the oil converts to recinoleic acid. My question to a midwife who says castor oil is not absorbed is 'Would you please provide me with references for that statement'.
"It's not so long ago that birthing women were given soap suds enemas (high, hot and a helluva lot) because someone started a rumour that soap was not absorbed through the colon. We know this is not true and that this black page in Obstetric history is best forgotten. Too many women have turned from saying 'My doctor says' to saying 'My midwife says'. Take responsibility for your and your family's health. It's fine to respect professionals but ask for references on everything you're not l00 % sure of and use your internet to scope things out. There is so much crap that passes for science without anyone questioning it.
"On the subject of all the women in a hurry to get their babies born: I was 3 weeks 'overdue' with my oldest daughter. What really helped me was that I had lunch with a friend at about 8 mos pregnancy. Her son had been born 6 months before. When she saw me walk in the restaurant all hugely pregnant she said 'Oh, Gloria, when I see you I miss my pregnancy so much'. I knew that one day I'd be saying that, too, so I made up my mind to enjoy it as long as poss. and I'm so glad I did. Six months from now you'll be wondering what the rush was. I worry about women taking castor oil because you also give your baby castor oil when you take it through the gut. This means the baby will get diarhea and pass mec, too. then you're into all the transports for mec.
"The other thing about self-inducing is that you end up with erratic labours that stop and start and are difficult to complete. I just attended a Coroner's inquest here into the death of a full term baby girl. The midwife stripped membranes and got the woman into labour but she had no urge to push. She was in second stage a long time and then her perineum wouldn't stretch. They cut an episiotomy to get the baby out. Baby had bleeding in the brain and only breathed on life support. Later, Mom's placenta had to be manually removed because it wouldn't come out. It seemed to me that this woman's body wasn't ready to give birth and that the membrane stripping caused an emergency response in her body that produced dilation but eventually wore off.
"Bottom line: be patient with your little babes and yourself." -Gloria Lemay