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Is It Safe To Use Castor Oil During Pregnancy?

While we’re all for - ‘Without risk, there’s no reward’ policy, pregnancy is not exactly the best time to be taking risks. Seemingly harmless things can prove to be dangerous during pregnancy so it’s important for you to know if something is safe before trying it. One such thing that a lot of pregnant women wonder about is good old castor oil.

Castor oil which is extracted from castor beans has been used since a long time for aiding hair growth, solving skin problems and even for relieving joint pains. The intake of castor oil is known to stimulate the circulatory system, the lymphatic system and the liver to keep one fit and healthy. It detoxifies your body and helps raise the T-11 cell count in your system which is important to keep away the viruses, bacteria and fungi.

It sounds perfect, right? Well, not quite. Because of the strong laxative properties present in castor oil, it is unsafe to be used by pregnant women. Unless you are deliberately trying to induce labour (Which is not recommended without your physician’s consent), it’s best you stay away from castor oil.

Here Are A Few Reasons Why Castor Oil Is Not Safe During Pregnancy:

1. Induced labour

As already mentioned, castor oil is a laxative which stimulates the bowels and irritates the uterus. If you’re full term then all this stimulations and spasms could cause contractions. These contractions are extremely painful and as is the case with induced labour, there are higher chances of you having a C-section/Cesarean.

2. Dehydration

When we say laxative, it, of course, leads to diarrhoea and with excessive diarrhoea comes dehydration. Dehydration could result in loss of nutrients that are very important for a mom-to-be. Apart from headaches, dizziness and fatigue, It has been shown to have a long-lasting effect on moms, especially during the postpartum stage.

3. Meconium Aspiration Syndrome

Meconium is baby’s first faeces which is passed in the womb during pregnancy and also after childbirth. When castor oil is used by the pregnant mom, it can speed up the pooping process of the unborn child which means that the amniotic sac that the baby is present in will get filled with meconium. The baby might inhale or aspirate the mixture of meconium and amniotic fluid which will result in the blockage of the respiratory airway. This can affect the newborn’s breathing and could also cause an infection in the lungs.

4. Reduces milk production

Breast milk is made up of 90% water. In fact, breastfeeding moms are recommended to up their water intake by 700ml. Now that we know excessive consumption of castor oil could make you dehydrated, this may affect your breast milk supply. Interestingly though, a castor oil pack can be used externally to treat blocked ducts or mastitis and stimulate milk supply.

5. Premature delivery

For a mom who’s been expecting her child any day now, castor oil can act as a boon but for a mom with a gestation period of fewer than 40 weeks, it is nothing but a curse. It could cause preterm labour or even miscarriage in extreme cases. Preterm babies, as you might already know could develop serious problems like difficulty in breathing, infections and brain damage. In the long run, it could affect how they develop - both physically and mentally and can also result in behavioural issues.

6. Unpleasant labour experience

Think about it - It’s not every day you give birth. Labour is hard in itself and on top of that, nobody wants to run back and forth to the restroom every other hour. The gas that gets trapped in your tummy due to the intake of castor oil will not only hurt your tummy but could make you fart like nobody’s business. Trust us when we say that you don’t want to welcome your newborn into this world in a room that’s stinking.

7. Extreme nausea

Because of castor oil’s god awful taste and smell, it induces nausea in most pregnant women. Even if it is mixed with something pleasant like orange juice, women still complained of nausea. Combine this with the fear and anxiety of labour, it will make you feel like you’re ready to spill your guts out any second.

Although you should refrain yourself from drinking castor oil during pregnancy, you can still use it as part of your daily beauty routine to get beautiful hair and skin.

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