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What are some of the benefits to using castor oil to induce labor?

It can cause stomach irritation that can stimulate contractions. It is a natural product and not a drug. Some providers will recommend this as a way to induce labor. One theory of how castor oil works, is that it stimulates smooth tissue, such as the uterus.


What are some of the risks to using castor oil to induce labor?

It might make a baby have his or her first bowel movement in utero, which can be very dangerous for baby. It is not studied extensively for the use of induction, so we don't konw if it causes the movement or if it is a coincidence since many women who use it to induce are past 40 weeks (which increases this risk by iteself).

One of theory of how castor oil works, is making mom dehydraated for diarrhea, which signals the body to start labor, because it tells mom's body it is an unsafe for the continuing to carry baby. Laboring while dehydrated is a huge contributor to the diagnosis of "failure to progress" and poses a host of dangers to mom and baby. 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19780733 (Study on people)

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11717994?dopt=Abstract (Study on rats) 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10631825?dopt=Abstract (Study on people)

What are ways of mitigating my risks?

Make sure you drink a ton of water BEFORE and AFTER you take castor oil. Make sure, to not follow no food/no liquids by mouth orders once you arrive at the hospital, especially if you did develop diarrhea.

Perhaps, take a smaller dosage. This is one that I have heard. It is genter than most methods: 1 teaspoon for the first dose in orange juice. One teaspoon four hours later, in orange juice. And six hours later, another teaspoon in orange juice. 

DISCLAIMER: Please, bear in mind this or any other advice or information posted in this group does not replace the need to have these conversations with your provider on the risks and benefits. 

 

by on Oct. 18, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Replies (11-18):
aussiechic
by on Nov. 8, 2012 at 3:35 PM

 eek!  thanks! Good to know!

birthymom4
by on Nov. 8, 2012 at 3:35 PM


Quoting louzannalady:

There is no evidence anywhere. It has not been studied! Some women DO become dehydrated by the use of castor oil. Some women do not. It is a real risk, especially, if a woman does have diarrhea, then goes on to birth in a hospital with that follows NPO. If a woman wants to use it and is fine with the risks, then like any intervention, that is wonderful. I wish her well. I am glad she made an informed decision and that is what we are going for. Knowing what each risk is and how likely it is. There are no studies, so we don't know exactly how this works or if it does. Like the passing of meconium- it may be a coincide that it happens, because a woman who mightt try castor oil may be close to being a post-date, which is a risk factor in and of itself for passing of meconium. She also would have the odds in her favor of going into labor anyway, since only 7% of women go on to be a post-date, anyway. 

Quoting birthymom4:

Furthermore, one of the ways castor oil works, is making mom dehydrated for diarrhea

This is false. Many women show no signs of dehydration, It is believed to stimulate smooth muscle tissue (The bowels/and the uterus) no evidence says that it causes Dehydration induced contractions. I know a few women personally who have used this WITHOUT having diarrhea but yet had their babies. Also, there is no "evidence that Castor Oil causes Meconium staining...To have evidence you HAVE to have a study that does not ignore certain factors.


OK well there HAVE been minor studies, saying that there hasn't is just FASLE.

 

": In the one included study of 100 women, which compared a single dose of castor oil versus no treatment, no difference was found between caesarean section rates (relative risk (RR) 2.31, 95% CI 0.77, 6.87). No data were presented on neonatal or maternal mortality or morbidity. There was no difference between either the rate of meconium stained liquor (RR 0.77, 95% CI 0.25,2.36) or Apgar score < 7 at 5 minutes (RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.02,45.71) between the two groups. The number of participants was small hence only large differences in outcomes could have been detected. All women who ingested castor oil felt nauseous. REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: The only trial included in this review attempts to address the role of castor oil as an induction agent. The trial was small and of poor methodological quality. Further research is needed to attempt to quantify the efficacy of castor oil as an induction agent."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10631825?dopt=Abstract

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11717994?dopt=Abstract (this is the Rat study.)

 

 

http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/castorOil.html

birthymom4
by on Nov. 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM

It is believed that it stimulated the SMOOTH TISSUE and the uterus is smooth tissue. YES dehydration CAN be a side effect, but it seems to be more likely that is stimulated the tissue not caused labor because of dehydration.

The risk of dehydration is the responsibility of whomever takes the product, When I have done it I drink TONS of water.

 

louzannalady
by Group Owner on Nov. 8, 2012 at 3:59 PM

Awesomeness! I was not coming across any! I really do appreciate this! : ) I do very well on some days of not speaking in absolutes. Not so well on other days. So, please forgive me! : ) I will include these studies up in the top, for the women's consideration when reading up on it! : ) Thank you! : ) 

Quoting birthymom4:


Quoting louzannalady:

There is no evidence anywhere. It has not been studied! Some women DO become dehydrated by the use of castor oil. Some women do not. It is a real risk, especially, if a woman does have diarrhea, then goes on to birth in a hospital with that follows NPO. If a woman wants to use it and is fine with the risks, then like any intervention, that is wonderful. I wish her well. I am glad she made an informed decision and that is what we are going for. Knowing what each risk is and how likely it is. There are no studies, so we don't know exactly how this works or if it does. Like the passing of meconium- it may be a coincide that it happens, because a woman who mightt try castor oil may be close to being a post-date, which is a risk factor in and of itself for passing of meconium. She also would have the odds in her favor of going into labor anyway, since only 7% of women go on to be a post-date, anyway. 

Quoting birthymom4:

Furthermore, one of the ways castor oil works, is making mom dehydrated for diarrhea

This is false. Many women show no signs of dehydration, It is believed to stimulate smooth muscle tissue (The bowels/and the uterus) no evidence says that it causes Dehydration induced contractions. I know a few women personally who have used this WITHOUT having diarrhea but yet had their babies. Also, there is no "evidence that Castor Oil causes Meconium staining...To have evidence you HAVE to have a study that does not ignore certain factors.


OK well there HAVE been minor studies, saying that there hasn't is just FASLE.


": In the one included study of 100 women, which compared a single dose of castor oil versus no treatment, no difference was found between caesarean section rates (relative risk (RR) 2.31, 95% CI 0.77, 6.87). No data were presented on neonatal or maternal mortality or morbidity. There was no difference between either the rate of meconium stained liquor (RR 0.77, 95% CI 0.25,2.36) or Apgar score < 7 at 5 minutes (RR 0.92, 95% CI 0.02,45.71) between the two groups. The number of participants was small hence only large differences in outcomes could have been detected. All women who ingested castor oil felt nauseous. REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: The only trial included in this review attempts to address the role of castor oil as an induction agent. The trial was small and of poor methodological quality. Further research is needed to attempt to quantify the efficacy of castor oil as an induction agent."

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10631825?dopt=Abstract

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11717994?dopt=Abstract (this is the Rat study.)



http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/castorOil.html


louzannalady
by Group Owner on Nov. 8, 2012 at 4:07 PM

This is great info! Are there things, other than upping water intake that can mitigate the risks with this method of induction? Do you have a "recipe" for this, that does not lend itself to diarrhea? I know there are a few. 

Quoting birthymom4:

It is believed that it stimulated the SMOOTH TISSUE and the uterus is smooth tissue. YES dehydration CAN be a side effect, but it seems to be more likely that is stimulated the tissue not caused labor because of dehydration.

The risk of dehydration is the responsibility of whomever takes the product, When I have done it I drink TONS of water.



birthymom4
by on Nov. 8, 2012 at 4:23 PM


Quoting louzannalady:

This is great info! Are there things, other than upping water intake that can mitigate the risks with this method of induction? Do you have a "recipe" for this, that does not lend itself to diarrhea? I know there are a few. 

Quoting birthymom4:

It is believed that it stimulated the SMOOTH TISSUE and the uterus is smooth tissue. YES dehydration CAN be a side effect, but it seems to be more likely that is stimulated the tissue not caused labor because of dehydration.

The risk of dehydration is the responsibility of whomever takes the product, When I have done it I drink TONS of water.

 


Well they way I take it is the easiest to get down, I have a sensitive digestive tract so I get the poops easily...I usually drink an emergen-C and then LOTS of water.

I believe Ina May Gaskins recipe is easier on the bowels. I do not have the book infront of me so I cannot quote it.

I would say avoid "recipes" that call for more then 2oz (some call for 4oz ***GAG***) I only do 2 tablespoons

louzannalady
by Group Owner on Nov. 8, 2012 at 4:33 PM

Thank you! 

Quoting birthymom4:


Quoting louzannalady:

This is great info! Are there things, other than upping water intake that can mitigate the risks with this method of induction? Do you have a "recipe" for this, that does not lend itself to diarrhea? I know there are a few. 

Quoting birthymom4:

It is believed that it stimulated the SMOOTH TISSUE and the uterus is smooth tissue. YES dehydration CAN be a side effect, but it seems to be more likely that is stimulated the tissue not caused labor because of dehydration.

The risk of dehydration is the responsibility of whomever takes the product, When I have done it I drink TONS of water.



Well they way I take it is the easiest to get down, I have a sensitive digestive tract so I get the poops easily...I usually drink an emergen-C and then LOTS of water.

I believe Ina May Gaskins recipe is easier on the bowels. I do not have the book infront of me so I cannot quote it.

I would say avoid "recipes" that call for more then 2oz (some call for 4oz ***GAG***) I only do 2 tablespoons


MyIslandGirls
by on Nov. 8, 2012 at 5:13 PM

as far as I am concerned.. it hold not value to take castor oil to induce labour, at all.  It gives you the shits usually and 9 times out of 10 DOES NOTHING for labour.

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