midwives brew

Midwives Brew: Does It Really Work to Induce Labor?

You are counting the days till your little one arrives, and it’s been weeks since you started counting. The circle on your calendar denoting the due date seems like ages.Waiting and counting, you feel like labor can’t deter you from the thought of NOT being pregnant a moment longer. You are so ready to hold your baby in your arms. 

And now that the end of your pregnancy is at hand, wanting to trigger your own labor can sound very tempting. One of the most popular drinks concocted to induce labor is the midwives brew.You might want to know the ingredients that go into the drink and if the drink is safe. 

We are here to give a detailed look at this mix that many might have recommended to you by now. 

Midwives Brew: What Does It Include?

What Is Midwives Brew

The midwives brew recipe can differ from midwife to midwife. But some ingredients are common in all versions. The most common midwives brew ingredients are:

  • Almond butter
  • Lemon verbena oil
  • Apricot juice
  • Castor oil

It is advised (read mandatory) to consume this drink or any other drink for similar purposes in consultation with your medical provider.Before attempting to try it out, you must talk to your midwife or OBGYN. They could help you with it, refine the ingredients, and suggest alternatives if needed.

It could also be that your midwife has not heard of a midwives brew at all, and you are introducing it to them. For some, the drink can be difficult to keep in, given its unwelcome taste. 

Is Midwives Brew Safe?

Is Midwives Brew Safe

If we have to consider the safety of the midwives brew, we must look at the individual ingredients. Castor oil is the primary labor-inducing component, whereas the other elements do not have too many uses other than enhancing the taste that castor oil mars. 

Lemon Verbena Oil:

Not much research has been done on using lemon verbena oil in pregnancies or in the induction of labor. Talk to your midwife or doctor to understand its role.

Castor Oil: 

Castor oil is used primarily as a laxative because it can cause spasms in the intestines. It could also cause spasms in the uterine muscles, which could lead to contractions, inducing labor. 

It is easy to talk about consuming castor oil as compared to actually doing it. This oil can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. There is also the added issue of dehydration that castor oil can cause. 

The contractions, too, could be very painful and irregular, causing exhaustion and stress for both the mom and the baby. This is why castor oil should be used under total medical supervision.  

Almond Butter:

If you are allergic to nuts, these are the ingredients you must be hyper-aware of. It is otherwise safe for most other soon-to-be-moms. It can be substituted with other types of nut butter. Talk to your midwife or doctor about what other options there are. 

Apricot Juice:

Apricot is a great source of vitamins and minerals unless you are allergic to them. They are otherwise safe for consumption throughout your pregnancy. But like all other foods, moderation is key. 

When Should You Consume The Midwives Brew?

When Should You Consume

Keeping your baby’s safety in mind, you will receive your due date. As a result, you should not induce labor before you reach your due date.You are eager to see your baby and lose the pregnant body yesterday. But you must remember that your baby is safest when in the womb. You must carry your baby for at least 39 weeks if you can. 

An induction will be more successful when your body is ready to go into labor. And keeping these facts in mind, the midwives brew should not be taken unless you have completed a full term, i.e., 39-40 weeks. 

In some cases, your doctor will induce labor before your due date. You and all involved parties need to think about your and your baby’s health before making these decisions. 

If you want to try the midwives’ brew when the doctor wants to medically induce labor before the due date, discuss the matter with them.The midwives brew may not be appropriate, and your doctor must be made aware of everything you do in those few days. 

How To Start Using Midwives Brew

This is not something that you plan on carrying with you when you rush to the hospital. This is something you start taking when you are late beyond your due date. You can start this to get things started, but this is not going to help you make the process any faster. So once you are in labor and getting regular contractions, Midwives Brew is not going to help you. In fact, if you take it while you are in labor, it might make your contractions strong and close.

When Can You Start Drinking Midwives Brew?

You should consider drinking this once you are ready to go into labor. Of course, you will have reached the due date by this time. Wait as long as you can, but if you are getting impatient, then start drinking the brew, but consult your OBGYN before you start.Try not to induce labor forcefully before consulting your doctor. Just because you are past your due date does not mean that you have to get to the delivery room immediately. Reaching the due date does not imply that you are ready to meet your baby. Start consuming the brew when you feel you are in discomfort because you are past your date and your doctor has given the go-ahead for it.Once you are certain that you are doing this, then drink it when you wake up in the morning and on an empty stomach. Finish the drink within thirty minutes of when you have started drinking it, but do not force it down your throat, as it might make you nauseous.

How Much Can You Intake?

Make sure that after making the mixture, the whole drink is something around twenty fluid ounces. And don’t have a drink within the next 48 hours. The mixture has castor oil in it, and it is responsible for stimulating contractions and taking too much can turn out to be dangerous for you. It might make the contractions come too close, which can be harmful to you and the baby.

How Long Does It Take To Give The Desired Results?

Pregnant women who have drank the midwives brew have talked about getting into labor in only twenty-four hours after drinking it. One study suggested that women who are late are likely to get their labor within twelve hours if they drink the brew or castor oil. But drinking this after losing the mucus plug is believed to be most effective, as the body is already showing signs of early labor.

Effectiveness Of The Midwives Brew

Effectiveness Of The Midwives Brew

The reports are primarily anecdotal on the success of midwives brew, as there is a lack of research behind its use. The scientific evidence of castor oil being any good, too, is hazy because it hasn’t been studied as much either, with varied results. 

An old study divided 103 women at around 40 weeks pregnant into two groups – While the experts gave castor oil to one half, they did not give anything to the other half.Of the ones given castor oil, 60% of them went into labor within 24 hours, of which 80% gave birth naturally. 

Another study from 2009 had more discouraging findings, saying castor oil was neither helpful nor harmful in inducing labor. 

A 2013 study said castor oil may help, but the quality of the study made the results questionable. Researchers also noted that the women taking castor oil felt nauseous. 

Those who said that both the midwives brew, as well as the castor oil help induce labor have gone into labor within 24 hours. Another 2012 study suggested that it was more likely for post-term women to go into labor within the next 12 hours on consumption of castor oil. 

Potential Risks And Side Effects Of Midwives Brew  

Though the infamous midwife brew is made of all-natural ingredients, it might react differently in different women. So, it is best to know about these risks if you are planning to take midwife brew.  

Nausea And Vomiting  

Castor oil has a very strong taste, which is not liked by a lot of people in general. Pregnancy increases your sensitivity to certain smells and tastes. Hence, there is a high possibility that you might feel a tremendous urge to vomit after drinking the midwives brew.  


In some women, castor oil might cause dizziness. So, it is better not to stay alone after drinking the brew. Try to sit in one place or just lie down so that there is no chance for you to fall down.  

Dehydration And Diarrhea  

Castor oil is a very popular laxative. So, there is a good chance that it might cause diarrhea in some women. Diarrhea causes the body to lose out on a lot of fluids, resulting in severe dehydration. So, if you are starting with the midwife brew, it is suggested that you drink as much water as possible so that your body does not dehydrate anytime soon.  


There is a high chance that you might feel extremely sluggish and tired after taking the midwife brew as it contains Lemon Verbena tea. So, if you get a sudden feeling of tiredness, make sure to rest as much as possible.  

Irregular Contractions  

Castor oil is notoriously famous for causing spasms in the uterine muscles. These contractions may sometimes be completely irregular, causing extra pain.  

Dangerous For The Baby 

The midwife brew is particularly made for consumption after your pregnancy term is overdue. Castor oil is certainly dangerous for the baby. So, if you at all plan to drink the brew before the due date, first have a talk with your doctor to know if it is at all safe to do so.  

Allergic To Almonds  

Some people suffer from nut allergies, which also include almonds. So, if you know you have an allergy to almonds, either do not consume the brew or change the almond butter with some other ingredient. In case you are unsure of your allergies, ask your doctor to first do an allergy test and then proceed with the midwife’s brew.  

Allergy To Apricot  

Though it is certainly uncommon, some people tend to have an allergy to apricot. So, if you think you do have any such allergy, make sure to test it out before you drink the brew.  

How To Make A Midwives Brew?  

There are multiple recipes for making the Midwives Brew. Though most of them are just the same, with very slight variations. Here is the most popular recipe to make the infamous Midwives Brew:  


Almost butter – 2 tbsp.  

Castor oil – 2 tbsp.  

Apricot juice – 300 mil.  

Lemon Verbena Tea – 250 mil.  


Take a regular pan and boil some water.  

Get a cup and pour in the boiling water. Lave the Verbena tea bag in it for about 10 minutes. Once the time is over, take the tea bag out.  

Now, take a blender and blend out the rest of the ingredients.  

Make sure the blended paste is smooth and has no bubbles in it.  

Alternatives To Midwives Brew

The drink is undoubtedly nasty. If you want other options to go into labor, here are some of the alternatives. But it’s important to note they are not medically approved. 


Anything that works you up, like long walks or climbing stairs, is helpful. At 40 weeks, the slightest movement can work you all up!

Membrane Stripping:

You cannot do this at home. Try to talk to your doctor about it.

Spicy Foods:

Science does not back spicy foods. However, several women claim that spicy food can induce labor.


To get your oxytocin levels to rise, acupressure is a great method. You can also consider acupuncture. 


It is usually safe until it’s not, for example, if your water breaks. Talk to your provider to know more about it. 

Nipple Stimulation:

Pump or hand stimulation can get the hormones flowing and your uterus contracting. Discuss with your OB how frequently and how long you are allowed to do this medically. 

Wait It Out:

This is the toughest one, but if you let your mind wander into something else, your body will likely get tricked into going into labor, like a light switch. 

To Wrap Up

The last few days of waiting makes it feel like years of pregnancy. If you want to get the show-up and running, the midwives brew could help a little, provided you consult your midwife or OB.

Also, if they allow it, you can look up how to make midwives brew on the internet that can contain ingredients best suited to your needs.

If you have questions or you have thoughts to share, please leave a comment below. We would love to hear from you!

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