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. Making your baby your utmost priority, 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. 

What Is Midwives Brew Made Of?

What Is Midwives Brew

The midwives brew recipe differs between midwives, but there are some common ingredients combined in it. 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. 

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.

Consuming castor oil is easier said than done, as it causes 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. 

Lemon verbena oil

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

Almond butter

If you are allergic to nuts, this is 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 Is Midwives Brew Taken?

When Is Midwives Brew Taken

It is important not to induce labor before the due date because the due date is calculated keeping in mind the baby’s safety. 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. These decisions are made keeping you and your baby’s health in mind. 

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 might start drinking this when you are prepared to go into labor and have reached the due date. 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 taken midwives brew have mentioned that they have gotten into labor within twenty-four hours of 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 mostly 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. 

In an old study, 103 women who were around 40 weeks pregnant were divided into two equally numbered groups- one half was offered castor oil, and the other half received no treatment. Of the ones given castor oil, witnessed 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. 

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. 

Exercise: Anything that can get you worked up, such as long walks or climbing stairs, can be helpful. At 40 weeks, you will be worked up by the slightest movement!

Membrane Stripping: This cannot be done at home; try talking to your doctor about it.

Spicy Foods: It is not backed by science that this could induce your labor, but many women have claimed that it does. 

Acupressure: To get your oxytocin levels to rise, acupressure is a great method. Acupuncture, too, can be considered. 

Sex: 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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