Home methods for starting labor
6. Hold the bag of water about the level of the woman’s hips and let
the water flow in slowly. It will take about 20 minutes for all
of the water to flow in.
7. Remove the tube and ask the woman
to hold the water inside as long as
she can. When she passes stool or
lets the water out, contractions will
usually get stronger and closer
together. The longer she holds the water in,
the better it will work.
Note: If you are giving her rectal fluids to prevent dehydration (not to
strengthen labor), it is especially important for her to hold the fluid.
If the woman is in shock, you can give her a second bag of fluid 1 hour
after the first.
Castor oil drink
A drink of castor oil and fruit juice can sometimes start or strengthen labor.
If castor oil is going to start a labor, it should work within 4 hours.
Castor oil causes stomach cramps and diarrhea (watery stool). Sometimes it
also causes vomiting. Having diarrhea during labor increases the chance of
infection because a little stool can easily get into the vagina. The contractions
together with stomach cramps can make labor feel too fast or overwhelming for
Always warn women that castor oil tastes very bad and will make them feel very
uncomfortable. Remind them to wipe from front to back after passing stool.
To use castor oil
Mix about 60 milliliters (2 ounces) of castor oil in a cup
(240 milliliters or 8 ounces) of fruit juice. Lemon or orange
juice work especially well. Do not give more than 1 glass.
60 ml or
240 ml or
8 oz. fruit
The mother should drink the whole glass down.
A Book for Midwives (2010)