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What are the Uses of Evening Primrose Oil During Pregnancy?

Dee Saale
Dee Saale
Dee Saale
Dee Saale

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.

A pregnant woman should seek the advice of her homeopathic practitioner or physician before using evening primrose oil or any other homeopathic remedy.
A pregnant woman should seek the advice of her homeopathic practitioner or physician before using evening primrose oil or any other homeopathic remedy.

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.

A woman should take primrose oil to induce labor around the 36th week of pregnancy.
A woman should take primrose oil to induce labor around the 36th week of pregnancy.

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.

Evening primrose and most other essential oils are extracted from flowers or plants.
Evening primrose and most other essential oils are extracted from flowers or plants.

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.

Primrose oil may be helpful in relieving breast pain.
Primrose oil may be helpful in relieving breast pain.

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.

Dee Saale
Dee Saale

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to .

Dee Saale
Dee Saale

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to .

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Discussion Comments

fBoyle

@bear78-- Yes, quit the supplement as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. You can take it again at the end of your pregnancy (from the 36th week). It makes birth easier by preparing the cervix for labor. I took 1000mg/day after my 36th week.

Some say that evening primrose oil induces labor but that's actually not true. If the woman is ready to give birth, that's a different issue. Like the article said, EPO will not cause anything that the body is not ready for. So it is definitely safe to use toward the end of the pregnancy.

literally45

@bear78-- I did not take evening primrose oil orally during my pregnancy, I inserted the capsules vaginally after 38 weeks to prepare for birth. I know that many women start using them anywhere from 36 to 38 weeks to soften the cervix. Some women take the supplements orally while others insert. And yet others just use the oil topically.

I think it depends on your preference. My sister gave birth in the UK and she had a midwife whom she consulted with about these matters. I personally asked my doctor who said that I may use evening primrose oil if I wish but she did not want me to use them before 36 weeks.

bear78

I'm using evening primrose oil to improve my chances of getting pregnant. I did not know that evening primrose oil induces labor. I guess I need to quit the supplement as soon as I get pregnant.

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    • A pregnant woman should seek the advice of her homeopathic practitioner or physician before using evening primrose oil or any other homeopathic remedy.
      By: Milissenta
      A pregnant woman should seek the advice of her homeopathic practitioner or physician before using evening primrose oil or any other homeopathic remedy.
    • A woman should take primrose oil to induce labor around the 36th week of pregnancy.
      By: Tyler Olson
      A woman should take primrose oil to induce labor around the 36th week of pregnancy.
    • Evening primrose and most other essential oils are extracted from flowers or plants.
      By: Lucie Říhová
      Evening primrose and most other essential oils are extracted from flowers or plants.
    • Primrose oil may be helpful in relieving breast pain.
      By: Sebastian Kaulitzki
      Primrose oil may be helpful in relieving breast pain.
    • Evening primrose oil contains prostaglandins that work to soften the cervix.
      By: ProMotion
      Evening primrose oil contains prostaglandins that work to soften the cervix.
    • Evening primrose oil may be used to increase fertility prior to pregnancy.
      By: victosha
      Evening primrose oil may be used to increase fertility prior to pregnancy.