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A 21-year-old female asked:

I am 37 weeks pregnant and am 1 1/2 centimeters dialated i have had constant contractions for 3 weeks and i have had the steroid shots for the babies lungs is it safe to take castor oil to induce labor i can't sleep get sick when i eat and am in pain from

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Internal Medicine 41 years experience
No. : No. You should not take castor oil prior to reaching your due date. Remember that your baby is 2 weeks younger than the number of weeks that you are pregnant. Your baby is not ready to be born. Once your due date has arrived, you may consult your doctor about taking castor oil to induce pregnancy. Do not do this without consulting your doctor. Remember that castor oil is a laxative. It has a bad taste, can cause abdominal cramping, diarrhea and vomiting. If you do not want to feel these symptoms, then you should avoid this. Talk to your doctor about things to do to help you be more comfortable. It is very common for women to be uncomfortable during the last few weeks of pregnancy. Your baby needs more time in your tummy.
Dr. Mary David
Specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology
No: The risk of early delivery is decreased but there are risks other than lung maturity that are increased with premature delivery. Your doctor will tell you when it is safe to deliver the baby. Plus, castor oil doesn't necessarily bring on labor, tastes awful, and causes diarrhea.

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Last updated May 13, 2018
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