Using Evening Primrose Oil in Pregnancy: Health Benefits & Side Effects

Using Evening Primrose Oil During Pregnancy – Is It Safe?

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Disha Patel (Ayurvedic Physician)
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Evening primrose oil has long been used to relieve stress, hot flashes, PMS pain, and for other health issues in women. It is also believed that evening primrose oil helps induce labour. If you are pregnant and your due date has come and gone, you must be willing to try everything to induce labour, yes, even herbal remedies like evening primrose oil. But is it really safe to use it during pregnancy? Let’s find out!

What Is Evening Primrose Oil?

A herbal oil made from the extract of a herbaceous flowering plant called the evening primrose plant, evening primrose oil is known for its numerous medicinal properties such as treating skin disorders and providing relief from various pre-menstrual symptoms. The oil, used as a herbal supplement, is usually taken in the form of capsules. Some women even use them to insert in their vaginas to induce labour, but it is not safe. Even capsules are not safe unless and until, recommended by a doctor.

How Safe Is it to Take Evening Primrose Oil During Pregnancy?

The safety of evening primrose oil during pregnancy depends on how far a woman is into her pregnancy. It’s usually considered safe to use during the first trimester, but it should not be used unless specifically recommended by a gynaecologist. It gets less beneficial by the third trimester and should be avoided completely.

When Can a Pregnant Woman Use Evening Primrose Oil?

There is no exact time to start using the oil during pregnancy; but if a woman wants to use it during pregnancy, she can use it in her first and second trimesters. However, it should be used only after consulting with a doctor, better yet under medical supervision.

How to Use Evening Primrose Oil While Pregnant

There are numerous ways in which primrose oil can use be used during pregnancy. One can use evening primrose oil in the following ways –

  • Primrose oil can be used orally; it can be taken orally in the last four weeks of pregnancy to soften and thin the cervix, but only if recommended by the doctor.
  • It can be used vaginally to induce labour. Many women start using it between the 38th and 40th week of their pregnancies to induce labour.
  • Evening primrose oil can be used for massages and skin disorder during the first trimester of pregnancy.


What Are the Health Benefits of Evening Primrose Oil for Pregnant Women?

There are a large number of benefits to using evening primrose oil during your pregnancy, here are a few:

  • One of the most important benefits is that you can use primrose oil to induce labour in a healthy and safe way.
  • Primrose oil is known to be a great remedy for common skin conditions such as eczema that is caused during pregnancy due to your weaker immune system and hormonal imbalance.
  • Evening primrose oil is known to be a great way of easing muscle pain through massage.
  • Primrose oil is known to help increase the likelihood of a safe vaginal birth by reducing tearing.
  • Primrose oil reduces the risk of premature or late deliveries.
  • It reduces the risk of preeclampsia.
  • During the first trimester, it is common for you to feel uneasiness around the breast or experience breast pain, evening primrose oil helps avoid that.


What Are the Side Effects of Using Evening Primrose Oil in Pregnancy?

Like with anything good and healthy, moderation is the key. Using evening primrose oil excessively can have major side effects on a woman’s health during pregnancy. Here are some potential risks of evening primrose oil that are likely to arise if it is used during pregnancy.

  • Although this oil is known to induce labour, if taken in the last week of pregnancy in high doses, it can cause a condition called “arrest of decent”. This means the baby stops descending to the vagina and this in-turn needs a procedure that requires your baby to be pulled out through a tool called the vacuum extractor.
  • As evening primrose oil is a blood thinner, it can lead to complications during labour and delivery. Hence, it should be avoided if a woman has had or is going for a C-Section.
  • If used excessively, evening primrose oil can cause severe abdominal cramps.
  • Using evening primrose oil can cause headaches, nausea, and diarrhoea.
  • This oil, in excess doses, can cause bloating.
  • This oil can cause a condition called postpartum haemorrhage or PPH.

Where Can You Buy Evening Primrose Oil?

Evening primrose oil is available in pharmacies, health stores, organic stores, or online. You can use capsules orally or you can slit the capsules open and spread it over your skin to be used in a massage as the oil is easily absorbed into the skin. But before using it (in any form), do check with your doctor.

Things to Remember

Here are a few key points to remember about evening primrose oil.

  • Evening primrose oil must be used in moderation.
  • Talk to your doctor before and while using this oil.
  • Avoid using primrose oil for aromatherapy.
  • It is unsafe to feed young children primrose oil without medical clearance.

While evening primrose oil, like other oils, can be hugely beneficial when used in moderation, but even for that, consulting a doctor is necessary. This oil is not recommended to all during pregnancy or otherwise, as it may not work for everyone. So don’t self-prescribe it – check with your doctor and make safe choices!

Also Read: Castor Oil During Pregnancy

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