Naturally Inducing Labor: Benefits And Drawbacks Of Evening Primrose

This article explains the usage of evening primrose oil to induce labor, what evening primrose oil does, and how it should be used.

Pregnancy can be a joyous and exciting time for a woman, but it can also be a time of uncertainty. Most women have experienced the feeling of wondering if they would actually be pregnant forever. When a due date is approaching or has gone by without any signs of labor, doubts can form in a woman's mind, especially when her doctor or midwife starts talking about inducing labor. Inducing labor using modern methods such as Pitocin is very common today, but some women prefer to try out a few natural methods before resorting to more invasive practices. There are many herbal methods thought to help bring on and enhance labor, as well as a few folk methods such as taking a bumpy ride in a car or eating spicy foods.

Evening primrose oil is a commonly used method of naturally preparing the body for labor. It does not directly induce labor, as commonly believed. Evening primrose oil acts as a prostaglandin, which ripens and softens the cervix. The ripening of the cervix can help the baby's head engage deeper into the pelvis, which can help with dilation. Ripening the cervix can cause some of the contractions that start labor. Sometimes, though, these contractions are simply Braxton-Hicks contractions, which help prepare the body for labor, but do not mean you are in active labor yet. Ripening the cervix can help trigger the onset of labor, but it is unlikely that evening primrose oil will bring on labor in a woman whose body is not otherwise ready. Even if you end up having to induce labor, using evening primrose oil in the days and weeks prior to induction can still be beneficial. When the cervix has been ripened and softened, induction has a much higher rate of being successful. The ripening of the cervix may even aid in making labor faster and easier.

Evening primrose oil is a less invasive method of triggering labor, so it can be used earlier in the pregnancy than some other methods. As soon as 34 weeks, evening primrose oil can be taken orally. It is generally recommended to take two 500mg capsules a day until 38 weeks. At that time usage can be increased to 3-4 capsules per day. An entire capsule can also be inserted vaginally. It is best to do this before bed, so the capsule can dissolve while you sleep. You can also use the oil during perineal massage, and massage it on the cervix as well. Applying the oil directly to the cervix will produce the best results, but the ingredients in evening primrose oil can also be absorbed through the external skin or stomach.


The body can be stubborn, and even when using all the natural methods of inducing labor that are available, you still may not go into labor right away. The most important thing you can do is relax, since stress itself can delay or even stall your labor. Unless there is a medical reason to worry, don't be concerned if your due date has come and gone. Even if it doesn't seem like it, your body and your baby are preparing for labor to begin.

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