Basically it's a laxative that gives you lots of diareah (sp?) and causes your bowels to contract which in turn causes your uterus to contract. This can lead to labor, but only if your body is ready. Otherwise it leads to hours of false labor and tired mum and baby.
The biggest cause for debate is whether or not it causes your baby to pass meconium (poo) in the womb which can be terrible for the baby.
My midwife told me (irrelevant now as my waters have gone and i'm waiting lol!) that if I went to 42 weeks and still no baby that she recommends castor oil as a last resort before medical induction. I've already had a pitocin induced labor and it wasn't fun. She said it's never failed to work for her over-due mums as by 42 weeks your body really just needs a kick start. I would have gone for it if I had gone that late.
We discussed it during one of my monitoring sessions and she said while she highly recommends it for a last resort tactic she really doesn't recommend using it as a labor inducer before you are over due.
Just have to say, I've seen so many awful, rude posts by women (not just here, but everywhere on the internet) whenever someone asks the question, "How long did it take for you to go into labor after taking castor oil?" The people who reply always take a stance that implies they know exactly what they are talking about, and have scientific evidence, showing that castor oil causes the baby to poop in the womb. I'd like someone to show me this evidence. In fact, as I've searched myself, I came across this website where several midwives had a discussion about the connection between meconium being passed in the womb, and castor oil. http://www.gentlebirth.org/archives/coMec.html
For me, its not worth the risk, I have a baby with myoconium and its scary, babies can die from aspirating it. Thankfully my son didnt breathe any in but it made my labour far more complicated and I was in longer than I would of otherwise been.
I dont like the idea of diarrhoea in labour either!
I dont think its worth the risk either. It makes sense to me that castor oil, being a diuretic, may cause the baby to pass meconium, and then the baby could choke on it. Until it could be proven otherwise I would stay away. A friend of mine tried it and although her baby was fine she swore never again because of the awful stomach cramps and diarrhoea it caused.
Any opinions, advice, statements or other information expressed or made available on BabyandBump.Momtastic.com by users or third parties, including but not limited to bloggers, are solely those of the respective user or other third party. They do not reflect the opinions of BabyandBump.Momtastic.com and they have not been reviewed by a physician, psychologist or parenting expert or any member of the BabyandBump.Momtastic.com staff for accuracy, balance or objectivity. Content and other information presented on BabyandBump.Momtastic.com are not a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on BabyandBump.Momtastic.com. BabyandBump.Momtastic.com does not endorse any opinion, advice, statement, product, service or treatment made available on the website. If you think you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.