I tried it, and the answer is… yes and no.
I was a couple days before my due date and having very mild contractions every 15 minutes for about 24 hours. Nothing was really happening other than they were kind of annoying and I was done being pregnant. I read up on castor oil and felt it was safe to take, so I took 1 tablespoon. Within two hours it made me go to the bathroom and a couple hours later my mild contractions accelerated to 5 minutes apart. My husband and I were excited, the castor oil worked, “it was go time”! By the time we got to the hospital and checked out, I was 3cm dilated and my contractions slowed down a little bit. The triage doctor told us to walk around the hospital for an hour and come back. After the hour of walking I was exhausted and only progressed to 4 cm. The doctor told us to keep walking the halls. It was midnight and I didn’t want to take one more step. We went home to get some sleep. The next morning we got up and walked some more (it felt like miles). I came back to rest and took another tablespoon of castor oil. By late afternoon my contractions became a bit more intense but not too bad. Even though I could talk through them, they were definitely more intense, and having never experienced labor before, we decided to go back to the hospital. This time they admitted us. At 7pm they started the pitocin, broke my water, and at 12:08am, Maxwell was here.
Yes, the castor oil did trick my body into having contractions, but I think it also tricked the hospital into thinking I was closer to delivering than I actually was. I would say the castor oil did not induce labor, the pitocin and the doctor breaking my water induced labor.
Notes and Thoughts about castor oil
Would I recommend it to induce labor?
No, I am not a doctor.
What is castor oil?
It is the oil extracted from castor plant seeds. Essentially it is a type of vegetable oil.
How does castor oil work?
It is often used as a natural laxative – which is why it made me go to the bathroom within the first two hours of taking it. It causes the pelvis muscles to contract which is what makes you go to the bathroom. When you are pregnant, it also causes the uterine muscles to contract.
What does it taste like?
How much did I take?
The recommended dosage for an adult is 1-2 tablespoons. I took 1 small tablespoon.
Do I regret taking it?
No, it made me go to the bathroom before labor rather than on the delivery table. 🙂