Using evening primrose oil during pregnancy may be helpful for inducing labor, according to some homeopathic remedy practitioners. In addition, many people believe that using this oil will help the fetus develop because it is high in fatty acids. Prior to pregnancy, some women use it to increase fertility as well.
The evening primrose plant is native to North America and has a yellow flower that only opens during the evening. The oil found in the plant is high in vitamin E and also contains an essential fatty acid called gamma linolenic acid. For homeopathic purposes, it is often used to treat high cholesterol and skin conditions, such as eczema. In addition, some people believe it will relieve menstrual pains and breast pains. It is also touted for its ability to improve fertility.
There are two lines of thought regarding the use of evening primrose oil to induce labor. Some practitioners believe that it works effectively to bring a pregnant woman into labor, but others claim that it only works if the body is actually ready to go into labor. In other words, some believe that the woman would go into labor with or without using the oil.
If a woman were to be induced in a hospital, medical professionals would typically apply prostaglandins to the woman’s cervix. Evening primrose oil contains these prostaglandins that work to soften the cervix and induce labor. Although capsules can be taken orally, it is believed to be most effective it if is applied on the cervical surface directly. The oil can be rubbed on the cervix or it can be released through a capsule inserted into the vagina each night. Most midwives and practitioners will not recommend using it until a woman reaches 36 weeks of pregnancy.
Typically, if a woman is using evening primrose oil during pregnancy, she will start with two capsules each day at 36 weeks. By 38 weeks of pregnancy, she may increase the dosage to four capsules. Evening primrose oil must be used for several weeks for optimal effectiveness and, in most cases, it will not work quickly. In fact, if a woman goes into labor shortly after applying the oil, she was probably ready for labor without help.
Although it's most common to use evening primrose oil during pregnancy, it is also used by some women to create more fertile cervical mucus. Many practitioners claim that it will create a thin, clear cervical mucus that makes it easier for the sperm reach the egg. Women who are trying to conceive may use this oil as a result.
As with any homeopathic remedy, a homeopathic practitioner or a medical professional should be consulted before using evening primrose oil, especially during pregnancy. There are few known side effects. There are only a few scientific studies that have been done on the oil, however, and those studies that have been done have been inconclusive as to its effectiveness.