Castor Oil For Labor Induction – What You Should Know

Among the many natural ways to induce labor, there is the time honored way of doing so by using castor oil. Castor oil has long been used as a means to ease the symptoms of constipation and to facilitate bowel movement, and it is also used as a means of inducing labor.

Many medical practitioners as well as mothers swear by the efficacy of castor oil as a means of inducing labor. It is thought that castor oil stimulates the bowels and as the same time also irritates the uterus; thereby causing contractions and setting off labor.

When the bowels are stimulated to empty, the uterus is also similarly stimulated, it is believed.

Others however will testify to the fact that they took castor oil, and even suffered some of the side effects but that it had no effect on their pregnancy and that labor was not in fact induced for them.

Castor oil, which is a vegetable oil or juice derived from the castor bean, is known to have an unpleasant taste and smell, and may be unpalatable for many women.

However, their formulations are available without any flavor and odorless. You can also have castor oil mixed up in scrambled eggs, in orange juice or in a smoothie.

If you are looking to induce labor using castor oil, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • It is never a good idea to induce labor before the due date unless there is a medical reason to do so.
  • The dosage to the castor oil for induction of labor should be appropriate to your requirement and it should not be taken without the guidance and advice of your doctor or midwife.
  • There are several side effects that could occur due to castor oil intake: diarrhea is a direct consequence of the stimulation of the smooth muscle of the abdomen, which may also however cause nausea, vomiting and ultimately could lead to dehydration. Dehydration could be dangerous.
  • It may not work for everyone. Whereas some women will experience a distinctive stirring in the abdomen shortly after their castor oil dose, other women will experience nothing or may require an additional dose.
  • Some experts have also suggested that castor oil is associated with meconium and fetal distress and should therefore be avoided, though many do argue that there is no connection between castor oil and the baby passing meconium.


  1. I used castor oil and it worked both times I was able to get it down. I took it at night and went into labor at 6 a.m. the next morning. Neither of my children passed meconium.


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