Natural Labor Induction Series: Evidence on Evening Primrose Oil

hi everyone my name is Rebecca Decker

I'm a nurse with my PhD and the founder

of evidence-based birth in today's video

we're going to talk about using evening

primrose oil as a natural induction



so some people have asked me as evening

primrose oil can be used as a safe way

to naturally induce labor or to get

labor started earlier rather than later

there is actually very very little

research evidence on using evening

primrose oil to induce labor

there was one review published by two

authors named bales and GU Satine

in the year 2009 and they looked at the

use of evening primrose oil or EPO for

cervical ripening and labor induction

the authors concluded that since the

effects of EPO are unknown it should not

be recommended for use during pregnancy

childbirth or breastfeeding they cited a

case study of a newborn who experienced

skin problems bruising and little

pinprick bleeding spots after being born

to a mother who took a total of six

point five grams of EPO during the week

before giving birth they also referenced

a study that took place in 1999 that

looks back in time and a sample of women

who received care in a free-standing

birth center 54 women took oral EPO

during pregnancy they took 500

milligrams three times a day

starting at 37 weeks for the first week

of treatment and then followed by 500

milligrams once a day until labor began

and 54 women had no treatment this study

was looking back in time at these

women's charts and they found no

difference between groups and the length

of pregnancy or the length of labor

however they did find that there was a

trend towards women in the ochio group

to have longer active phase of labor and

a longer period where their water was

broken before they gave birth they also

found a trend towards arrest something

they called a rest of descent where the

baby had trouble coming down need for

pitocin and need for vacuum extraction

or vacuum delivery and the group that

took the EPO however this was relatively

small study and these differences were

not all statistically significant so

they would meet they would have

had more women in the study to determine

if these were true differences between

the groups in 2006 there was also a

randomized control trial that included a

total of 71 people who were pregnant

assigned to either taking EPO by mouth

or taking a placebo pill the EPO group

saw a significant improvement in Bishop

score and a significant decrease in

their cervical length meaning their

cervix ripened more compared to the

placebo group but there was no

difference between groups with regard to

the time from when they got treatment

told when they started labor or between

the two groups there was no difference

in the need of pitocin they did find

that more women in the EPO group gave

birth vaginally 70 percent versus 50

percent in the placebo group so in

summary there is almost no research on

this topic the one randomized trial that

found the EPO did improve cervical

ripening but it made no difference in

how quickly women went into labor the

birth center study found more labor

complications or a trend towards more

labor complications in the group that

took EPO and the case report of the baby

with skin problems after their mother

took EPO is troubling but we can't know

for sure if the EPO is related to that

or not so at this time the use of EPO

during pregnancy or to induce labor is

experimental mostly based on anecdotes

and we don't have any scientific

evidence that it is effective or safe I

hope you found this video helpful thanks

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