Castor oil during pregnancy is a debatable topic. However, we do not precisely know the usage of Castor Oil in pregnancy, but records state that the first ever time this was used dates back to the Egyptian era. Ricinus communis is the plant seed from which Castor Oil originates. It’s found in India! The chemical structure of castor oil is majorly made up of Ricinoleic, a fatty acid. Due to this chemical composition and concentration, it is believed that castor oil is good for health.

While many of you might have heard rumours about the use of Castor oil during pregnancy via activating labour movements, you did not know how exactly it works, or even if this news is true or false! Again some of you might want help because the baby refuses to come out even when it’s been more than the standard time! Well, don’t worry. This article will be able to solve all your doubts and queries on castor oil pregnancy!

What Is Castor Oil?

While the use of castor oil in pregnancy is debated, let us first know what exactly castor oil is. Castor oil is a vegetable oil, which is the outcome after pressed castor beans. They are used as a replacement for castoreum. This oil is colourless and has different taste and odour. It may also look like a pale yellow liquid. Castor oil is widely used to manufacture soaps, lubricants, hydraulic fluids, coatings, dyes, waxes, polishes, and perfumes.

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Is It Safe To Use Castor Oil During Pregnancy?

While many just talks about castor oil pregnancy risks, let us see is it safe to use castor oil during pregnancy. There are different debates and conclusions arrived in this research, many say that castor oil use for labour induction does not make a huge difference and change during labour times. While huge complications were not noted anywhere, most of the concerns revolved around tolerance levels and discomfort which castor oil may cause during birth and delivery time. There are several cases reported of nausea, too during this use of oil. However, doctors, these days have adequate methods and ways which can help in labour induction other than castor oil as it is widely debated. However, it is recommended to be away and refrain from using this castor oil in case you have several difficulties during pregnancy and seek medical advice instead.

Benefits Of Castor Oil During Pregnancy:

While before considering castor oil and pregnancy side effects, let us note few castor oil benefits for pregnancy.

  • It is a well-known ingredient to induce labour.
  • The laxative properties help to contract the uterus and stimulate bowel movements.
  • Further, the ricinoleic acid is present in castor oil, which helps through attacking prostaglandin in womb and intestines. It helps them to contract widely.
  • Castor oil also helps to affect fluid and electrolytes, which greatly helps during pregnancy and delivery labour time.

Side Effects Of Castor Oil During Pregnancy:

No specific study states that castor oil for pregnant women induce labour, but many side-effects may play a role in doing so.

  1. Some of these can include diarrhoea, vomiting, contractions of the uterus, may or may not be labour, nausea, etc.
  2. Some people believe that the use of castor oil and pregnancy is a one-shot solution for inducing labour, yet it doesn’t have the same effect on all women, and even though they experience the side effects, they may remain pregnant.
  3. Many do not recommend castor oil benefits in pregnancy at all because of the more prominent side effects that come together with the package like dehydration, fetal distress, and meconium in the baby.
  4. It’s strongly advised that you use castor oil during pregnancy risk only with a doctor’s permission. If you still use castor oil, talk to your doctor or midwife before doing so, and get to know how much to use and how to use it.

Does Castor Oil Induce Labour:

Castor oil to induce labour is well known wide across the globe. While many ask is castor oils safe to induce labour and as we have seen above, let us know the mechanism through which this takes place.

Traditionally many were using castor oil to induce labour. The midwives and doctors used to ask to consume this to stimulate bowels and irritate uterus. This further turns into contraction and induces labour. While this process takes place, many also recommended in the present day not to consume for just inducing labour as there is no evidence about if this way is healthy enough.

How Much Castor Oil To Induce Labour:

While many have different ideas regarding this, generally half a cup of castor oil helps to induce labour. However, others recommend not to take more than one or two tablespoons at once. Hence one can see that it is wise to start taking less and increase the dose as required. This is because an overdose of using castor oil to induce labour may lead to diarrhoea as well along with dehydration.

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How To Use Castor Oil To Induce Labour:

There are several ways one can consume castor oil to induce labour. Few of them includes,

  • Mix it with orange juice or similar juice and consume it so that the unpleasant taste can be hidden
  • You can also choose to drink it at one go and have a juice or cool drink to equalize its bad taste
  • Make sure to have a lot of water; however, as this may cause dehydration.

How Does Castor Oil Work To Induce Labour?

A common question asked is how long does castor oil take to induce labour.The castor oil helps contract uterus and increase bowel moments. In this way, contractions may take place helping in delivery. While the time frame is generally not the same for everyone, some expectant mothers are known to get into labour in a couple of hours’ time only. However, there are a few cases where such incidents were not at all reported. This may also take days at times. Hence one cannot generalize the time frame in this scenario.

Precautions To Take Before Using Castor Oil To Induce Labour:

Given are few precautions one needs to take while consuming castor oil to induce labour.

  1. Keep yourself hydrated with lots of water as castor oil may lead to dehydration.
  2. Make sure you use the toilet many times as you may suffer from diarrhoea.
  3. Make sure you have less oil at first. Less is always safe.
  4. Make sure you do not induce labour early. Wait till at least forty weeks at first in case the body is not prepared yet for work.
  5. Do not use this as a recipe to accelerate labour as this may increase pains and levels of discomfort
  6. Seek medical advice and make sure not to have it yourself.

Risks To Face With Using Castor Oil During Pregnancy:

While there are diverse views regarding risks faced, there are some cases women had side effects and risks while others did not. Few of them include,

  • The laxative effect may be caused by castor oil on the baby as well. This may cause the baby to pass meconium stool during labour itself.
  • It may induce dehydration and diarrhoea significantly and may not be suitable for expectant mother
  • Castor oil may also cause nausea and may also cause vomiting with it
  • Severe cramps may be experienced by a few women
  • Given these cases, do not forget to ask the doctor about its intake before you take a decision.

Alternatives To Castor Oil To Induce Labour:

While there are alternatives which can possibly help and do the same job as that of castor oil, let us see what all can be considered as options for this purpose.

  1. Using Pitocin through IV can be possibly considered as per doctor’s advice
  2. Artificially breaking water bag of mother
  3. Use breast pumps and stimulate nipples
  4. A few doctors can recommend prostaglandins
  5. Foley balloon can be used to induce labour movements too

While the doctor should be asked before taking a step, one or two of the options can be used to induce labour naturally.

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Now that you have a clear idea as to how to use Castor oil during early pregnancy, make sure you take enough care while consuming it. Since there are dangers of using castor oil to induce labour, it’s not entirely recommended by professionals, yet you may use it under a doctor’s supervision. I hope this article solved all your queries! Do let us know your comments.

Q1. Can castor oil hurt the baby? Is it safe for pregnant ladies to use castor oil during pregnancy?

Ans: The results of using taking Castor oil during pregnancy are variable. It can probably be stressful to mom and baby alike, leading to exhaustion. It might also cause your baby to pass meconium, or their first stool, before delivery, yet it is not harmful in some cases.

Q2. Is it hazardous to take castor oil to induce labour? Can I drink castor oil in pregnancy?

Ans: Castor oil has been believed to be beneficial for pregnant. For years, people thought this being a way to start labour, but it also acts as a laxative. Since castor oil induces intestinal cramps, one could be uncomfortable and could have diarrhoea; it shouldn’t have any harmful effects on healthy women.

Q3. When should I take castor oil to induce labour? How much castor oil should I choose to induce labour?

Ans: It is okay to take 1 or 2 tablespoons of castor oil every 24 hours. Avoid inducing early. It is recommended to wait until after 40 weeks because if your body is not ready for labour, castor oil while pregnancy may not have the desired effect.

Q4. Can Castor oil cause a miscarriage? Dangers of castor oil to induce labour?

Ans: The reason is not castor oil being some aborting ingredient, but the fact that it may cause health issues like dehydration either to the mother or to the fetus which may result in loss of pregnancy.


About Yashasvi

Yashasvi developed a deep passion for writing ever since she was completed her Master’s in Mass Communication and Journalism from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam and has chosen a career that is driven by creativity. A Parenting expert who believes in communicating effectively with a personal touch, she writes about pregnancy, baby care, lifestyle, and just about anything else.