Looking for ways to kick start your labor? Here is a magical cocktail, Midwives Brew to induce labor naturally in 24 hours plus the safety and side effects you should know before trying it.
The last few weeks of pregnancy can be hard on any woman. Carrying an eight-pound baby can be exhausting and not to mention those sleepless nights!
If you have passed your due date and still your body is not showing any sign of going into labor, you may become desperate to try anything to induce labor including Midwives Brew.
In case you are wondering if Midwives brew work to induce labor safely, you are at the right place. In this article, we are going to talk about everything you need to know about using midwives brew to induce labor.
No matter how excited you are about trying Midwives brew to induce labor,
DO NOT TRY THIS UNTIL YOU TALK TO YOUR OBY/GYN OR MIDWIVES. IT HAS TO BE TAKEN UNDER SUPERVISION.
Now that you are clear, Let’s go right into it.
- What is Midwives Brew?
- Is Midwives Brew a Safe Way to Induce Labor?
- What is the Best Midwives Brew Recipe?
- Midwives Brew Recipe Substitute
- Midwives Brew Alternatives (Midwives Brew without Castor Oil)
- Potential Side effects of Consuming Midwives brew to Induce labor
- How Long do Midwives Brew take to Work?
- When is the Right Time to Take Midwives Brew?
- Can you take Midwives Brew at 36/37/38 weeks?
- Other Natural Ways to Induce labor
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What is Midwives Brew?
Midwives brew is a cocktail made from natural ingredients, used as a natural and quick method of labor induction. Also, known as a “German Labor Cocktail”, a very popular labor-inducing drink among midwives in Europe,”.
This cocktail is made of Castor oil, Lemon Verbena, Apricot juice, Almond butter and is said to kick start labor in 24 hours. Although there aren’t strong scientific data to back up its effectiveness in inducing labor, some women swear by it.
If you are overdue and desperate to bring on labor, try Midwives brew under the supervision of your OB. But fair warning, it tastes awful! Many women are not able to keep it in after drinking it.
Related Reading – 44 Positive Birth Affirmations to Empower you during Labor
Wait….Schedule for Medical Induction but want to Induce Labor Naturally??
I here you, mama!! Here is a very informative Induction Mini Course that will give you detailed, evidence-based information on 20 ways to get labor going naturally + exactly what to expect for planned induction. So that you’re covered no matter how your labor gets going. Find out here.
Is Midwives Brew a Safe Way to Induce Labor?
There aren’t many scientific studies that have tested the safety of this method for inducing labor. Few small research studies did not see any major side effects on moms and babies.
However, the safety of Midwives Brew as a natural method of labor induction depends on its ingredients. Let’s look at each ingredient in detail.
The star ingredient of Midwives Brew is castor oil. Castor oil has been known to induce labor for many centuries in certain cultures (Egypt).
Castor oil is a strong laxative and its effectiveness in inducing labor may have been attributed to its ability to cause spasms of uterine muscles, which can lead to contraction and labor induction.
The science review of three trials that studied the effect of castor oil in the induction of labor in 223 pregnant women. They were given a 60ml oral dose of castor oil.
The study showed that 58% of women who took castor oil began active labor within 24 hours compared to 4% of women who did not receive any treatment. However, the author noted 100% of women who took the castor oil reported nausea (1).
However, caution should be taken when consuming castor oil to induce labor because it can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and ultimately dehydration in pregnant women.
So, castor oil should NOT be taken during pregnancy without your OB’s guidance and supervision.
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Lemon Verbena is a flowering plant that grows in South America and it has been used for making medicine. It is a milder laxative than castor oil.
Its effectiveness in inducing labor is unknown but some midwives recommend taking a verbena cocktail to kick start labor (check the recipe below). Talk to your OB/Midwives before consuming it.
Apricot juice is rich in vitamins and minerals and in this cocktail it is mostly used as a flavor enhancer.
It is thought to help castor oil stick to your intestine rather than running straight through your body because of its stickiness. Unless you are allergic to nuts, Almond butter is safe to consume.
What is the Best Midwives Brew Recipe?
Now that you know the ingredients of the midwives brew, let’s look at the most popular and the most followed recipe of midwives brew to induce labor.
2 tbsp – Castor Oil
2 tbsp – Almond Butter
1 cup – Lemon Verbena Tea
1 and ¼ cup – Apricot Juice
How to prepare Midwives Brew
- Steep Lemon Verbena tea in boiling water
- Let it stand for 10 min
- In a blender, mix all the ingredients
- Blend really well until smooth
When blended well, pour and drink it warm on empty stomach in the morning. You can also drink it cold or with an ice cube to make the taste more tolerable.
Midwives brew is best when used after 40 weeks or for women who have low lying contractions and trying to speed things up.
Midwives brew is a super cocktail to induce labor but the downside to it is its horrible taste. Here is another way you can take Midwives brew without too much pooping and puking!
Midwives Brew Recipe Substitute
To make Midwives’ brew taste tolerable, here is what you should do without losing its potency to induce labor.
Mix 2 tbsp spoon of almond butter and 2 tbsp of castor oil in a blender until smooth. Spread it on a toast and enjoy it with apricot juice. It is much better than drinking a glass of nasty cocktail.
Eating it on a toast takes it into the intestine rather than sitting in the stomach and causing all the trouble.
The main ingredient of the Midwives brew recipe is castor oil. So, you can not replace it, but other ingredients can be substituted in case they are not available to purchase or you don’t have it on hand.
You can substitute almond butter with any nut butter or Nutella. The main purpose of any butter in this receive is to bind it to castor oil.
If you don’t have apricot juice in hand, substitute it with grape juice or apple juice.
You can substitute Lemon Verbena tea with pure Lemon Verbena essential oil. To make midwives brew, add 5 drops of organic Lemon Verbena essential oil into the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
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Midwives Brew Alternatives (Midwives Brew without Castor Oil)
If you are desperate to bring on labor but don’t want to drink Midwives brew because of the nasty taste and side effects associated with it, I don’t blame you. Try Lemon Verbena Labor Cocktail.
Some midwives suggest Verbena Labor Cocktail, also known as Cervical ripening tea or drink to soften the cervix and relax the uterine muscles, which will move you to labor and delivery.
Again, you should NOT try this without supervision and guidance from your OB/Midwife.
Verbena Labor Cocktail
1 cup- Water
1-inch piece of Ginger
1-inch Cinnamon stick (2-3 sticks)
3 to 4 –cloves
Boil one cup of water with grated ginger, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Strain this boiled mixture over a Lemon Verbena tea bag in a cup. Let it steep for 10 min. Drink it warm.
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that they will start labor, but it is much safer, and you won’t be puking. But when it comes to consuming herbs to induce labor, it is always safer to check with your OB/midwives for the dosage and safety.
Potential Side effects of Consuming Midwives brew to Induce labor
The big turn-off for me for not using Midwives brew to induce my labor even though I was over 41 weeks was an awful taste of this cocktail. Besides that, more serious side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration.
It is bad if you go into labor with diarrhea and vomiting, you won’t have the energy to push your baby through a contraction, and believe me, it’s the hardest job that you have to do!
But if you want to avoid medicated induction, Midwives brew is worth a try!
How Long do Midwives Brew take to Work?
There is no specific timeframe for Midwives brew to work after drinking it. Most of the small research studies have shown that it can induce labor anytime from a few hours to 24 hours.
A research study of 103 pregnant women (40 weeks) published in 2000 showed that 60% of women who consumed castor oil to induce labor went into labor within 24 hours (2).
Another randomized control trial in 2006 looked at the effectiveness of castor oil in the induction of labor in 47 pregnant women. The study showed that 54% of women who took castor oil went into labor within 24 hours compared to 4% of women in the control group (3).
A research study published in 2012 even suggested that women who had passed their due date and took castor oil were three times more likely to go into labor within 12 hours (4).
These studies suggest that the effectiveness of midwives brew and castor oil in inducing labor are pretty quick, results are usually within 24 hours.
Although larger studies are needed to solidify the timeframe of labor induction after drinking midwives brew, this data looks promising too.
So, if you are wondering how long after drinking Midwives brew labor to start, it could take 5-6 hours to 24 hours depending on your body type. But be sure to go to the hospital as soon as contractions start.
When is the Right Time to Take Midwives Brew?
Your body needs time to get ready for the labor and your baby is still growing inside your womb until at least you are 39 weeks. Even if you try to induce yourself before your body is ready, it won’t work. So, it is wise to not try to induce labor until you are full term.
Most of the scientific studies, mentioned throughout this article, have also studied the effect of the Midwives brew or castor oil in the induction of labor on post-term pregnant women (between 40-42 weeks).
Post-term women are more likely to go into labor within 12 hours after drinking castor oil or midwives brew.
This may indicate that natural induction will be more likely successful if your body is already ready. And again, you should NOT take midwives to brew unless you have the permission and guidance of your OB or midwife.
Can you take Midwives Brew at 36/37/38 weeks?
You should not try to take midwives to brew to induce labor until you are full term. Even if you have a normal pregnancy, it is not advisable to take midwives brew at 36 /37/38 weeks.
Many times, the doctors recommend early induction, but those are medically necessary. And If you are getting induce before full-term, with your doctor’s permission and supervision, you can take midwives brew.
Other Natural Ways to Induce labor
If you are someone like me and don’t want to try Midwives brew, there are other safer options. But keep in mind that, you will go into labor spontaneously when your body and baby are ready for it.
I totally understand your urge to induce labor when you passed your due date. I tried to curb walking to induce labor when I was desperate to go into labor. It worked for me. I went out with my husband for curb walking and the same night I went into labor. Check out this article to learn everything about curb walking and how it helps to kick start your labor.
Here are other ways to induce labor naturally,
- Deep side lunges
- Bouncing on a yoga ball
- Drinking Red Raspberry tea
- Lots of walking
- Consuming spicy food
- Evening primrose oil
Here you go, mama! I hope this article helps you decide whether Midwives brew is for you or not. To be honest, I would not try it because of the associated side effects of drinking Midwives brew.
But I can totally understand how you are feeling at this stage of pregnancy and you can do anything to get out of your pregnant body.
Believe me, enjoy your last bit of pregnancy, before your precious little baby comes and won’t let you sleep because a baby can’t sleep at night.
Whether you decide to try Midwives brew or go for alternatives, be sure to do it under the guidance and supervision of your OB/Midwives. They know the best about your pregnancy.
Good luck mama!
Before you go, check out this article about 13 subtle signs of labor approaching that you don’t want to miss!
- Kelly, A. J., Kavanagh, J., & Thomas, J. (2013). Castor oil, bath, and/or enema for cervical priming and induction of labor. Cochrane Database Syst Rev(7), CD003099.
- Garry D, Figueroa R, Guillaume J, Cucco V. Use of castor oil in pregnancies at term. Altern Ther Health Med. 2000 Jan;6(1):77-9. PMID: 10631825.
- Azhari S, Pirdadeh S, Lotfalizadeh M, Shakeri MT. Evaluation of the effect of castor oil on initiating labor in term pregnancy. Saudi Med J. 2006 Jul;27(7):1011-4. PMID: 16830021.
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