Evening Primrose Oil is a non-steroid, non-cytotoxic, non-antibiotic alternative to conventional prenatal pills. It has been used in various forms since the mid-19th century. It helps in the production of hormones and is vital during pregnancy.
This article gives information on the benefits, risks, and dosages of using evening primrose oil during pregnancy.
What is Evening Primrose Oil?
This oil is obtained from the Evening Primrose plant. Linolenic acid, gamma-linolenic acid, and vitamin E are all found in high concentrations in this oil. EPO capsules are available over-the-counter at most pharmacies, vitamin and herbal remedy stores, and health food stores. A variety of health conditions, including neuropathy, premenstrual syndrome, menopause, and rheumatoid arthritis, are occasionally treated in complementary and alternative medicine . Despite its widespread use, however, little is known about the true impact of EPO on the labor force .
After 40 weeks of pregnancy, you’ve probably heard about the various natural methods for inducing labor that is available for you to choose from. In fact, there are multiple things you can do to prepare your body for the task at hand, depending on your preferences. When it comes to inducing labor, one option is to use Evening Primrose Oil (EPO), which can be applied vaginally .
Evening Primrose Oil is popular among pregnant women due to the fact that it is widely available and affordably priced.
Despite this, you may be wondering if it is the best fit for you at this time. This article will provide you with all of the information you need to know about this herbal supplement, including its uses and potential side effects.
How is it Used?
Evening Primrose Oil is available in capsule form, which can be consumed or applied topically to the skin. While there is no standard dosage, it is common to begin taking between 500 and 2000 milligrams daily in the 38th week of pregnancy, depending on your individual needs. If you decide to use EPO, start with extremely low doses and work your way up.
Is it Effective?
American Family Physician claims that evening primrose oil can assist in the softening and effacing of the cervix . Other research suggests that it may be beneficial in reducing the length of labor. Due to the presence of linolenic acid in EPO, it can trigger a prostaglandin response in the body. Medical professionals, such as doctors and midwives, may make different recommendations based on your specific medical history .
Regarding effectiveness, there aren’t enough formal studies on EPO to demonstrate that it affects labor or cervical ripening. The published research, on the whole, does not demonstrate a strong correlation between oil and the revival of labor. An investigation discovered that women who took the supplement were in labor on average three hours longer than women who did not take it .
Although there have been numerous positive reports about evening primrose oil, most of them are anecdotal. Consumption of red raspberry leaf tea, stimulation of the nipple, and sexual activity are all common methods of induction used in conjunction with the capsules to achieve maximum results. Therefore, the individual effect of EPO on the process is difficult to distinguish as a result.
Advantages and Disadvantages of EPO
However, while additional scientific research is required to evaluate the safety and efficacy of EPO fully, there are some advantages and disadvantages to consider based on the information currently available.
Advantages of Evening Primrose Oil
- There are no known negative effects on the Breastfeeding.
- Throughout the world (except in the United States), midwives frequently use it as an alternative to harsh chemicals that are traditionally used to prepare the cervix for labor.
- It may lessen the need for medical induction of labor in some cases.
- The results of a small study revealed that taking evening primrose oil and vitamin D supplements during pregnancy helped to reduce the symptoms of gestational diabetes. The supplement, however, should not be taken without first consulting with your doctor if you have gestational diabetes.
- Even though there are some benefits to using EPO, some drawbacks are also to consider.
Disadvantages of Evening Primrose Oil
- EPO has the potential to act as a blood thinner in certain circumstances.
- It is possible that EPO will cause complications or difficulties during the delivery process.
- It has the potential to cause headaches and gastrointestinal upset.
- Evening Primrose Oil is associated with an increased risk of bleeding into the skin and bruising in newborns born to mothers who took the supplement the week before delivery.
- Blood clotting may be made more difficult by the use of evening primrose oil, which may have a thinning effect on the bloodstream. This may increase the risk of postpartum hemorrhage, particularly in women with pre-existing pregnancy conditions such as placenta previa or a history of pregnancy complications.
- Morning primrose oil consumption during pregnancy is associated with a prolonged active phase of labor and a greater requirement for Pitocin or vacuum extraction.
Other Safe Ways to Induce Labor
Additional techniques are frequently employed to assist women in naturally inducing labor. The following are some examples of such techniques:
- Eating spicy foods
- Sexual intercourse
- Raspberry leaf tea, which some midwives recommend, is believed to transform irregular uterine contractions into regular, productive ones.
- Exercising, As an example, you could go for a walk or climb some stairs.
It is recommended that you consult your doctor before attempting to induce labor. It is best not to induce labor before the 40th week of pregnancy. Attempting to induce labor on your own may be dangerous. It depends on the medications you are currently taking, any underlying conditions, and any complications with your pregnancy you are experiencing.
The Bottom Line
Taking evening primrose oil to induce labor is either safe or unsafe according to the available scientific evidence, which is inconsistent. Even though many women use EPO without incident, a preliminary study discovered that taking EPO by mouth could cause delivery problems or complications in some cases . While pregnant, there is no reason to take any supplements without first consulting with your doctor.’
It is recommended that you consult with your OB/GYN or midwife before beginning a new supplement regimen. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, full-term pregnancy is defined as one that lasts 39 weeks or more, but not more than 40 weeks total. We recommend that you avoid anything that could cause you to go into labor before your baby is fully developed, because there haven’t been many studies on this.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.
Editorial References And Fact-Checking
- Bayles, B., & Usatine, R. (2009). Evening primrose oil. American family physician, 80(12), 1405–1408.
- Kalati, M., Kashanian, M., Jahdi, F., Naseri, M., Haghani, H., & Sheikhansari, N. (2018). Evening primrose oil and labour, is it effective? A randomised clinical trial. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 38(4), 488–492. https://doi.org/10.1080/01443615.2017.1386165
- Tenore J. L. (2003). Methods for cervical ripening and induction of labor. American family physician, 67(10), 2123–2128.
- National Toxicology Program. (2009). Chemical Information Review Document for Evening Primrose Oil. Retrieved August 21, 2022, from https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/noms/support_docs/evening_primrose_nov2009.pdf
- Dove, D., & Johnson, P. (1999). Oral evening primrose oil: its effect on length of pregnancy and selected intrapartum outcomes in low-risk nulliparous women. Journal of nurse-midwifery, 44(3), 320–324. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0091-2182(99)00055-5