When you are pregnant, your family and friends will be full of advice for you on what to do and what not to do during this period. This can be very overwhelming. But remember you are not alone. A lot of new moms and moms-to-be go through this situation. One such confronting view is the use of evening primrose oil during pregnancy – is it good or bad? Read on to know more about this.
What Is Evening Primrose Oil?
Evening primrose oil is a herbal oil that comes from evening primrose plant, a variety of herbaceous flowering plant that is mostly found in the North America. Evening primrose is known for its yellow and white flowers that bloom at night. For long, it has been hailed for its medicinal properties. It has been known to relieve pre-menstrual symptoms and skin disorders.
Is It Safe To Take Evening Primrose Oil While Pregnant?
When it comes to the question of whether it can be consumed during pregnancy, there are confusing opinions regarding its use. Though it is believed to be helpful in the first trimester, as pregnancy progresses into the last phase, it is best avoided or used with precaution. Many doctors recommend that if you have been taking evening primrose oil prior to pregnancy, it is best to find an alternative when you’re pregnant for your daily dosage of essential fatty acids and other benefits that this oil offers.
If, however, you decide to take evening primrose oil while you’re pregnant, you should be aware of the quantity and dosage. Let’s take a look at the recommended levels.
How To Use Evening Primrose Oil During Pregnancy?
It is recommended to start using evening primrose oil orally after 35 weeks and vaginally after 37 weeks; the ideal time being somewhere between 38-40 weeks.
- Start with one or two 500 mg capsules orally and you can gradually increase it to 2,500mg/day
- This amount is to be divided by taking it 2-3 times a day and not all at once
- If you plan to use it vaginally, make sure to take it when you will be lying down for long such as at night
- Exercise caution because in some women evening primrose oil is known to induce labor though there are no confirmed studies to definitely prove it
- Dosages vary according to the brand you use so read the instructions on the pack carefully before use
- If you have already decided on a C-section, avoid it as it could act as a blood thinner. Remember to consult your doctor before you decide to take it
Benefits Of Using Evening Primrose Oil During Pregnancy
Despite the fact that there are contradictory opinions regarding consuming evening primrose oil by pregnant women, its benefits cannot be refuted.
- It helps mitigate early discomforts and complications that many pregnant women face
- It is known to relieve breast pain (mastalgia) that many women experience during the first trimester
- It helps prevent preeclampsia (high blood pressure) and late deliveries
- It helps the cervix ripen and prepare it for labor thereby the need to medically induce can be avoided
- It reduces the risk of tearing during labor
- It is rich in linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that is used by the body to make prostaglandins that help in many important body functions
Side Effects Of Using Evening Primrose Oil During Pregnancy
Though it is believed that evening primrose oil can prepare the cervix to induce labor, some studies show that women who take it in the final week of pregnancy might have “arrest of descent”. This means that the baby stops descending into the vagina in the final stages. Moreover, as already mentioned earlier, it acts as a blood thinner and therefore complications might arise if you are planning a C-section. This might necessitate the use of vacuum extractor to pull the baby out, which is quite risky. Other side effects associated with its use are usually mild which include:
- Nausea, headache, and abdominal cramps when consumed in higher doses
- Diarrhea and bloating
- Post-partum hemorrhage (PPH). However, this can be avoided by taking it along with raspberry leaf which is known to decrease the risk of PPH
Where To Find Evening Primrose Oil?
Evening primrose oil can be easily found at most health food stores in the form of capsules. These capsules can be taken orally or slit open and used for the purpose of massaging. It is easily absorbed through the skin.
Can Evening Primrose Oil Be Used During The Pregnancy?
Going by the pros and cons it is sensible to avoid evening primrose oil during pregnancy, if possible. Remember, it prepares the cervix which makes dilation easy. It may not induce labor and will not be of much use until your body is ready to go into labor on its own. Instead of opting for self-medication, make sure that you consult your doctor before you decide to take evening primrose oil in the later stages of pregnancy since there is little evidence to guarantee it’s safety. Don’t take chances and get into complications. Stay safe and ask your doctor for instructions when you decide to take something out of your regular diet. Pregnancy is a phase of indulgence and enjoyment. Don’t go overboard to spoil it.
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