Evening Primrose Oil During Pregnancy: Yay or Nay?

Are you in your final days of your pregnancy journey? Whether you are months apart or a week or two, we know the feeling of anxiously waiting for the baby to come. The waiting is game is strong on this one. Hence, some women uses evening primrose oil during pregnancy to jump-start their labor!

Perhaps you haven’t heard about it, the evening primrose oil is purely herbal derived from plant seeds. Aside from inducing labor, it has been used for centuries to address symptoms of menopause, fix hormonal issues and to treat other medical issues.

While this plant evidently has plenty of use and benefits, using it for inducing labor could be a great idea or not. There are things to consider before using this oil.

As mentioned above, the evening primrose oil has served many purpose. This complementary medicine is from plant extract that is believed to ease variety of health problems. The native Americans used the primrose plant, its seeds, leaves and roots as food. Likewise, they created poultices from it to heal bruises and treat hemorrhoid.

Given that your doctor give you the go signal to use evening primrose oil, below are the following steps to follow.

What You Will Need

1. About 500mg of evening primrose oil supplements for daily intake

According to a study, the evening primrose oil has the ability to ripen the cervix but did not result to a shorter labor or pregnancy. Moreover, there is still insufficient clinical evidence pertaining to its risks and benefits. The finding suggests that oral administration of EPO from 37th week up to birth does not reduce the overall length of labor.

2. If you are inserting it vaginally, you will need one capsule a day before bedtime

Make sure to wash your hands properly before inserting the capsule to avoid infection. The capsule contains large quantities of prostaglandins that the body is able to produce during the later part of pregnancy.

How Does It Help?

  • Technically, taking it orally will not cause a pregnant woman but it helps the body to prepare and get ready for it by ripening the cervix. This is due to the prostaglandins which comes from oil that helps ripen the cervix.
  • As it ripens, one can feel the contractions and may result to labor. The ripening of the cervix is a natural process which indicates that the body is getting ready for labor and delivery. The cervix tends to soften with or without the help of agents or methods. Still, most pregnant women rely on these stuffs such as the evening primrose oil.

Unfortunately, there are only a few research evidence on using EPO to induce labor. Another review was published in the year 2009 by Bayles and Usatine. They concluded that because the effects of evening primrose oil are unknown, pregnant and lactating women should avoid using it.

For those who are taking EPO for treating a specific health issue, experts highly suggest that you find an alternative treatment to it so you can stay on the safe side while pregnant.

How to Use It?

If you are taking EPO to ready your body for labor, start after the 36th week of pregnancy. Consult your doctor as well to ensure that there will be no conflict especially if you have other health issues.

If you choose to take it orally, make sure not to take it more than 3000 mg per day. It is ideal to take two capsules, 500 mg each in the morning and in the evening. Experts recommend to start with a lower dosage and increase it gradually.

Evening primrose oil can be taken orally or vaginally. There are EPO capsules that when insert in the vagina, will dissolve naturally. In general, the recommended dosage is 1500mg-3000 mg. One should insert 1-2 capsules vaginally depending on their preference. Lay down on the bed and insert the capsule. We recommend you wear a pantyliner to prevent leaking of any residue.

The gel will melt after a few minutes and the oil will lean in the cervix and will soften it in the process. You can also rub the oil in your perineum to prevent its tearing while giving birth.

However, whichever you will take it, follow the instructions accordingly and make sure to discuss it first with your doctor. Based on the existing studies we can say that evening primrose oil does not actually induce labor. It only ripens the cervix for easy dilation and effacement as you begin labor. Do not take this supplement before your 34th week as per medical professionals’ advice.

Possible Side Effects

While evening primrose oil is considered herbal and contains natural substance, its effects to people may vary. Others can experience the following effects. If symptoms:

  • Allergies - some people can have a sensitive reactions toward EPO. There are reported cases of inflammation on the face and hands. Others experience skin lesions in newborn.
  • Low blood pressure - taking it can result to low blood pressure or increase the risk of bleeding. Moreover, it can alter blood sugar levels. Adjustment on its dosage might be necessary or to stop taking it altogether.

Other side effects- it can also cause acidity, acne, abdominal pain, constipation, eczema, colic, diarrhea, headache, gastrointestinal issues, heartburn, inflammation, indigestion, irregular menstruation, respiratory system problems and seizures. It also has been linked with the increases risk of postpartum hemmorhage.

Those who have history of seizures or has a seizure disorder might have frequent episodes due to used of EPO. Moreover, those who at risk pregnancy or has a higher chance of having preterm labor should avoid using it.

While most evidence is anecdotal, one should conduct their own research just like when taking other natural and commercial medicines.

Take Note!

While it is an old practice to use the evening primrose oil while pregnant, there medical professionals who believe that using EPO can increase a woman’s risk of having premature labor. Thus, it should be avoided completely. Likewise, it tends to bring Braxton Hicks contractions to some women.

We should be always on the safe side especially if we are pregnant and is nearing term. Thus, you shouldn’t take evening primrose oil if you are at the onset of pregnancy and if you haven’t consulted your doctor.

While many earns benefits from using EPO, some should steer clear of it to prevent further health risks.

Sabrina Lily

I am a mother who has a 2-year-old pretty baby boy and we are preparing for the arrival of a new angel. From pregnancy until the child is born and look at them grow up each day is a pleasant experience. The little angels are so adorable. Taking care of and look children healthy is the most wonderful thing. Through this website, I want to share the experience of motherhood’s life for those who are a mama.

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Augustina - April 4, 2018

I can’t beievle I’ve been going for years without knowing that.


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