Will taking castor oil bring on labour?

Q: Is castor oil safe to take late in pregnancy to try and kickstart labour? I am 39 weeks pregnant with my fifth baby and was induced with three of them. My last baby was four days late.

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GP DR ROB SAYS:

Castor oil is a powerful laxative and is reported to have been used by midwives for many years to induce labour. It’s not clear how exactly it may achieve this, but some suggest that when stimulating the gut it also stimulates the womb causing contractions.
The concern with using castor oil to induce labour is that it may increase the likelihood of childbirth-related complications such as the mother becoming dehydrated through diarrhoea, and the baby becoming distressed through extra-strong contractions.
Moreover, it often makes people sick when they take it.
For these reasons, medical professionals advise caution if you’re thinking about using castor oil to induce labour, and suggest you discuss it first with your doctor or obstetrician.
Generally speaking, babies come when they are ready and if they do need a little encouragement, induction is best done under medical supervision.

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