Best Castor Oil to Induce Labor: Benefits, Usages, and Side Effects

Castor oil is created from the plant seed called Ricinus Communis. This plant belongs to India. The chemical composition of castor oil is rare because it is consists of fatty acid – ricinoleic acid.

Its high concentration makes it popular for its different healing properties. Since ancient times, the oil has been used medicinally worldwide for different ailments such as:

treating inflammation and pain

treating gastrointestinal issues like constipation

Healing different skin conditions and infections

Stimulate the immune system


While there is limited scientific proof to confirm these claims, anecdotal evidence overflows.

Presently, castor oil can be available in different nonmedicinal applications:

Castor oil is used as a food additive, mold inhibitor, and flavoring agent.

It is often included in skincare cosmetics and products, lipsticks, shampoos, and soaps.

Castor oil is utilized in manufacturing goods like fibers, paints, and plastics.

The thick oil is also popular for its foul taste. Its side effects can be risky and unpleasant. It can lead to diarrhea and nausea to severe dehydration.

Over time, people have tried several methods to help induce natural labor in a pregnant woman by eating spicy food or bouncing over the exercise ball. Those who consider utilizing castor oil to induce labor should check its effectiveness, particularly the safety issues linked with its use for this purpose before they try it. It is because there is some risk.


What Is Castor Oil?

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Diarrhea, dehydration, and cramping in the belly part are the possible side effects of using castor oil. It is excess from Ricinus Communis.R. Communis is native to southern Asia.

For centuries, people have tried castor oil for different ailments, from most applications only need to support the anecdotal evidence. Some scientific research has shown castor oil’s effectiveness in treating health conditions.

Castor oil is a common ingredient in coatings, soaps, lubricants, and different commercial products. It consists of many allergenic proteins, including ricin, which research indicates is a harmful plant toxin.

However, following the removal of these potentially harmful substances, people can utilize castor oil for pharmaceutical purposes.

For example, castor oil can help to relieve constipation.

Does Castor Oil Induce Labor?

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According to the University-of-Texas-Southwestern-Medical-Center,

castor oil will likely cause irritation and uterine contraction. Although these may look like labor contractions, they are more likely the result of a digestive problem than actual labor.

They say that females who consume oral castor oil are not likely to go into labor as those who do not.

However, according to recent study shows that there is a link between using castor oil and inducing labor. The research concluded that castor oil may trigger labor in 24 hours if a female is 40 weeks pregnant.

Research about females in their 40th and 41stt weeks of pregnancy, over a time of 5 years. A smaller study, this period from 2000, found that 57.7% of the female who took castor oil went into labor under 24 hours. Only 4.2% of the female who did not get castor oil went into labor under 24 hours. Evidence from this research suggests that castor oil may support to induce labor.

However, one 2009 study present no link between using castor oil and inducing labor. This study involved over 600 members in week 40 or above of their pregnancy. The study concluded that castor oil did not show any effect on the time of birth. It also did not indicate harmful effects.

2018 study discovered that castor oil induction is very effective in a female who has had babies earlier. The researchers reported no harmful effects from their sample of 81 pregnant females.

Another 2018 study noticed back on a female who used castor oil during 40-41 weeks pregnant under the doctor care, and they discovered it to help trigger labor within 24 hours for most of the females.

Though research results are combined in terms of castor oils’ labor-inducing abilities. No research analyzed problems of safety for either the fetus or mother.


Risks, And Side Effects

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In previous research, there was no risk seen for the fetus. However, the mother may feel side effects from adding castor oil. Some potential side effects could add:



stomach cramping

non-labor linked uterus contraction

Females with sensitive bellies or other gastrointestinal conditions should skip consuming castor oil. Also, those who had a cesarean delivery in the past should never try castor oil during pregnancy.


Should You Induce Labor?

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In most cases, the body will itself induce labor when it is ready to deliver the baby. Some females may enter into preterm labor, while others may go into labor later than their due date.

Importantly, a female who gets cesarean delivery should never try to induce labor. It is because it can lead to a tear uterine.

The American-College-of-Obstetricians-and-Gynecologists -and the Society-for-Maternal-Fetal-Medicine show the journey to complete term in the following ways:

  • 37–38 weeks & 6 days – early term
  • 39–40 weeks & 6 days – full term
  • 41 weeks to 41 weeks & 6 days – late-term
  • 42 weeks & lat late-term-term

If a female is a complete term or beyond and yet to deliver, a healthcare professional will likely consider inducing labor or likely scheduling a cesarean delivery.

Different reasons a physician may decide to induce labor include:

  • a uterus infection
  • placental abruption
  • Low amniotic fluid around the fetus
  • contractions occurring without breaking water
  • The fetus is not growing according to expectation
  • The presence of diabetes, high blood pressure, or another condition that could keep the fetus or mother at risk

Other Ways To Induce Labor

There are no effective ways to induce labor at home. A physician or doctor can induce labor in a clinical setting or hospital. That said, there are different methods to induce labor that may be effective. These include:


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Exercise can be anything that increases heart rate, such as a long walk. Even if this does not work, it is the best way to reduce stress and keep body strength.



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There are different reasons why doing sex could induce labor.

For example, sexual activity, particularly getting an orgasm, can release oxytocin, which may help to stimulate uterine contractions.

Also, for a pregnant woman who has sex with a male, there are prostaglandin hormones in semen that might help to grow the cervix.

Having sex is safe during the last weeks of pregnancy, but you should not do sex after your water has broken. Doing so can raise the risk of infection.


Nipple Stimulation

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Stimulating nipples can also create contractions in the uterus and may get labor. Stimulations of nipple trigger oxytocin production. Oxytocin is the hormone that can lead the uterus to contract and the breast to expel milk.

If you choose to breastfeed your baby quickly after delivery, this similar stimulation is what will help the uterus shrink back to its previous size.

You and your partner may gradually stimulate the nipples, or you can try utilizing a breast pump.

Some research (Source, Source)shows that stimulating breast can be an efficient way to:

  • induce and increase labor
  • withdraw a medical induction
  • decrease rates of postpartum hemorrhage



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Acupuncture has been utilized for many years. The exact way that acupuncture works are not clear.

In Chinese Medicine, it is thought that it balances the chi or important energy within the body. It might also stimulate changes in the hormones or the nervous system.

Acupuncture should be determined only by a licensed acupuncturist. In a

2013 randomized in Denmark, more than 400 females were given acupuncture, membrane stripping, or both process before labor.

The research study indicated that acupuncture did not lower the need for induction, but sweeping membranes did.



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Some practitioners think that acupressure can help to begin labor. Before applying acupressure to yourself, ensure you get the right instruction from expert acupressure professional.

If acupressure does not bring labor, it can still be an expert way to increase pain and pressure during labor.


Eating Dates

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According to some research indicated that consuming dates in the last weeks of pregnancy do the following things:

raise cervical ripening and dilation in the cervical at the beginning of labor.

Lower the need for Pitocin use during labor


Cheer Up While Waiting For Labor To Start Naturally

Most pregnant women at 40 weeks are possibly ready to get their babies’ birth.

However, there are more perks to waiting till your body naturally chooses to go into labor, including recovery.

Females who were not induced commonly recover more quickly than those women who were. More time in the womb can mean both your baby and you get to get back home from the hospital soon.

Babies who are born following a complete term of pregnancy also get additional benefits. More time in the womb typically means:

more time to develop strength and muscle

lower risk of infection, low blood sugar, and jaundice

Increase breathing as a baby born even as little as 2-weeks early can feel two-time complication

better feeding after born

More brain growth, with the brain developing a third of its size between 35-40 weeks.

Let your body do its work for some more days and take the time to get more rest you need.

However, it is necessary to note that none of these methods are scientifically proven.


Is Castor Oil a Safe Choice?

Castor oil use is not safe for everyone. You need to take care and be precautious. Even consuming castor oil is very risky for the unborn child.

Some people believe and practice castor oil inducing labor from ancient times, but it can be risky in the present world. Many obstetricians have not approved the use of castor oil for early labor because of unfavorable and unknown side effects for the baby and mother.


Why Should You Avoid Castor Oil During Pregnancy?

Why Should You Avoid Castor Oil During Pregnancy
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As mentioned earlier, castor oil is a strong laxative. One teaspoon of oil can make you go washroom many times and also cause stomach upset. This effect seems scary for expecting mothers, who have a life to nurture. Its dosage stimulates and tightens the intestines that affecting the muscle mass of the uterine. This process raises the prostaglandin secretion in the system, which helps to induce labor.

Well, this might be the biggest reason for every hullabaloo back skipping castor oil during pregnancy, but this surely is not the only one.

It might be the biggest reason for avoiding castor oil during pregnancy, but here are other reasons to avoid castor oil:


Increases The Risk of Meconium Aspiration Syndrome

It is a condition of respiratory blockage that is seen in newborns. It can happen before or during or after delivery.

Here, the newborn baby breathes in or aspirates a combination of meconium – the first feces of a baby that is passed in the womb during the early pregnancy days and again after delivery, which is gooey and dark green and the amniotic fluid, in which the baby float in the sac.

This unwanted inhalation can partially or block the airways of the baby, leading to an apparent difficulty in breathing. This condition can impact newborn breathing in different ways, including airway obstruction, infection, chemical irritation in the lungs, and surfactant inactivation by the meconium.


Now, How And Where Does Castor Oil Play An Important Role?

Castor oil helps to speed up the process of pooping the unborn child during an early delivery.

However, the sac, which is already a tight fit, is filled with extra meconium, which blocks the airway of the unborn child. 

See How Risky Castor Oil can be for your Child?

Dehydrates The Mother

Dehydrates The Mother
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Risk is obvious with castor oil. Laxative causes diarrhea from dehydration.

Dehydration is extremely risky for the health of the mother. It may cause weakness in the body during delivery. She might pass out, lack nutrients and her condition might become more worse in some cases. Dehydration also causes a long-term effect on the mother, interfering with her recovery of postpartum.


Reduces Milk Supply

Reduces Milk Supply
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Breastfeeding is essential for newborns and mothers. The first milk is full of nutrients to increase newborn baby strength and immunity. The dehydration occurred by castor oil caused to lower milk supply. It might cause different health problems for the infant also like delay in bone formation and cognitive growth.


Painful Labor

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Anything happens unnatural lead to pain. Inducing labor with castor oil is also the same. Ingesting castor oil for unsupervised and early labor has been indicated to be extra painful when compared to the natural delivery method. It is because the oil is a powerful laxative, it boosts painful and unusual tightening of the intestines that irritates the uterine muscle mass, further causing painful labor.


Preterm Delivery

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It is the most harmful risk that comes with the careful usage of castor oil during pregnancy. While this oil is considered to be a blessing, it is nothing but a curse for the would-be mom who is still to pass 40 weeks of pregnancy.

If castor oil is utilized to induce labor, it is early utilized can cause miscarriage or preterm delivery when used in the earlier months. Preterm birth can affect the newborn and impact cognitive development and organ.

Remember that all these are the risk factors linked with the consumption of castor oil and not its external use. When utilized externally, this oil raise circulation and boost healing of the tissue and organs under the skin. Thus, it is very important in soothing inflammation and lowering pain. It can also be utilized to stop the stretch marks formation. However, it is always better to talk to your physician before utilizing castor oil, externally or internally.


Precautions Before Using Castor Oil To Induce Labor

There are some guidelines to follow if you wish to induce labor in a female who is facing problems for the natural birth process, and it is way past her due date. Follow the guideline:

Be careful if you are utilizing castor oil near your date of delivery. Castor oil is a home remedy that induces the contraction process in the uterine walls. This induces labor pain in the pregnant female. Intake of castor oil early in pregnancy causes high risk.

Another precaution is the castor oil dosage. Commonly, pregnant females are given regulated doses of castor oil on daily basis.

Castor oil is popular to induce contractions under 24 hours of its consumption. However, this is not the case with every woman. However, this is not the case with every woman. In such cases, the dose is repeated at a similar time the following day also.

Castor oil can be taken with juices or you can also add it to different recipes.


Symptoms linked to Castor Oil Use During Pregnancy

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There are some symptoms and factors linked to the use of castor oil during pregnancy. Here are some symptoms:

Nausea is a sure symptom that happens after the intake of castor oil. The tendency to sluggishness, vomit, abdominal unease is bound to happen when you eat castor oil for inducing labor pains.

Loose motions may also occur in a female who does not deliver in 24 hours of using castor oil.


A woman should skip castor oil for inducing labor, as there is no scientific evidence to confirm its effectiveness for this reason. It is safer to work under a doctor’s guidance if it is time for labor. Inducing labor before 40 weeks increase the risk to the fetus.

No research has discovered any direct risk or harm for the fetus in using castor oil, but in the mother, it can lead to false contractions, diarrhea, stomach side effects, and dehydration.

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