Evening Primrose Oil?

Can evening primrose oil really help ripen my cervix?
profile picture of Melissa M. Goist, MD
ByMelissa M. Goist, MD
OB-GYN
Updated
Jan 2017
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Although it’s been used for decades — and even longer — as a way to help nudge your body into labor, there’s very little scientific evidence to show that evening primrose oil can actually get the job done. Many midwives will prescribe a dose of the oil (inserted vaginally) to hasten cervical ripening (which itself will bring about delivery), but research published in the Journal of Nurse-Midwifery has shown that women who took the oil did not have a shorter length of pregnancy or length of labor compared to a control group who did not use the oil.

Unfortunately, most obstetricians agree there’s really not that much you can do beyond administering certain medications to make that due date come any sooner. But if it can help you feel like you’re gaining some control over when your baby actually arrives, it probably can’t hurt to try it (just check with your health care practitioner first).

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