How Do I Use Evening Primrose Oil to Induce Labor?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 23 January 2019
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Some women who are nearing the end of a pregnancy and are impatient for labor to begin may turn to using evening primrose oil supplements. This type of essential oil contains prostaglandins, which are known for thinning the cervix so it can dilate easier than usual, possibly encouraging labor to start sooner than it otherwise might. One of the most popular ways to use evening primrose oil to induce labor is by taking the capsules orally beginning after the 36th week of pregnancy. Starting around 38 weeks, you may be able to insert the capsules vaginally or break them open so you can rub the oil on your cervix. It is vital to note, though, that you should see a doctor before attempting such methods, because some complications prevent you from using evening primrose oil while you are pregnant.


One of the most common ways to take evening primrose oil to induce labor is to ingest the pills orally, with two capsules per day being the typical recommendation. This usually is advised after Week 36 of the pregnancy is reached, and it only is permitted this early because the pills tend to work slowly at first, gradually softening the cervix to start preparing for labor. About 38 weeks into the pregnancy, your doctor may say it's OK to increase the dosage to four capsules a day. During this time, you should be aware of any side effects or signs of labor and get in touch with your doctor if any appear.

You also can insert an evening primrose oil capsule vaginally, because your cervix will absorb the essential oils this way, but you are advised to wait until you are at least 38 weeks into the pregnancy before trying this method. You also should keep in mind that it often is best to insert the capsule right before bed to give the pill a chance to dissolve overnight. If you feel uncomfortable using this method of taking evening primrose oil to induce labor, then you also can break open the capsule and rub the oils directly on your cervix. You should be sure to wash your hands before attempting to reach the cervix when you use evening primrose oil to induce labor, because failing to do so could risk introducing an infection to your body.

There are a few instances in which you should not try inducing labor with essential oils, because doing so can be dangerous for both you and your baby. For example, you are advised not to use this product until you are at least 36 weeks pregnant, because serious health problems can occur if the baby is born pre-term. In addition, if your membranes are broken or even slightly torn, using evening primrose oil to induce labor may not be a good idea, because it can cause an infection that could negatively affect you and the baby. Another instance in which evening primrose oil and pregnancy do not mix well is when you have placenta previa, because thinning out your cervix can create added complications. Even in a completely healthy pregnancy, you should talk to your doctor before you consider any natural ways to induce labor, because encouraging the baby to be born before he is ready can result in serious medical problems.


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