By the time you enter the home stretch of your third trimester, you're likely to be willing to do whatever it takes to kick start your labor. You are more than done with all of the discomfort the third trimester brings, and want to speed up meeting the little one that's been growing inside you for all of these months. You may be interested in natural ways to induce your labor from home. Using castor oil is a lesser known at-home method that many moms swear by. And if you're interested in trying it out, you'll need to know how to use castor oil to induce labor and why it's thought to be effective.
Oddly enough, castor oil is more of a laxative than a "labor inducer," but that doesn't stop people from swearing by it to get the ball rolling. According to What to Expect, castor oil has been shown to cause the muscles in the uterus and intestines to contract, potentially stimulating labor-starting contractions.
If you're interested in trying it out, there are lots of ways to make it easier to take. Very Well noted that many mothers put about an ounce into fruit smoothies, which makes the taste almost undetectable. You can also just take it straight, and chase it with a smoothie or fruit juice. Or, if you're feeling chef-like, cook up your favorite dish and throw the oil into the sauce or main portion of the meal. You won't even be able to taste it.
However, if you aren't showing signs of labor, it might be best to steer clear of the oil, since there are a few downsides that might outweigh the pros. Since the oil acts as a laxative and intestinal stimulant, you could develop diarrhea, stomach cramps, or stomach pain, What to Expect noted. Other than that though, there aren't really any negative side effects, so it's up to you and your doctor to weigh the pros and cons and decide if it might work for you.
One small study published in 2000 determined that castor oil was effective in starting labor within 24 hours, but another study published later found that there was little to no difference in mothers who used the oil and those who didn't.
Although the evidence isn't really conclusive, there's no harm in trying a method that, according to Healthline, many people have sworn by for thousands of years.