So, you probably feel like you’ve been pregnant for too long and Googled “How to Induce Labor?” that’s why you landed on this page.
Or, you could have heard someone mention the term “Midwives Brew” and how it can help induce labor, and you decided that you want to learn more about it (because you’re tired of being pregnant) because you want nothing else but to birth your child already at this point.
However, you found this page, you are lucky because we are going to talk about everything that you need to know about the most popular natural method to induce labor- The Midwives Brew, also known as The German Labor Cocktail.
VERY IMPORTANT REMINDER: Do not use this unless you’re already full term as it can induce full-on labor!
Now that we have that critical reminder out of the way let’s start with the basics and move our way up.
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What is a Midwives Brew?
Midwives Brew is a concoction of natural ingredients that are believed to help induce labor at home.
Originating in Europe, Midwives’ Brew has been used by women for centuries and is trusted by many to induce labor within a matter of hours.
What is the Best Midwives Brew Recipe?
There are several midwives brew recipes with different variations on the ingredients, but this blend seems to be the most popular and the most followed one:
2 tbsp Almond Butter
2 tbsp Castor Oil
250ml Lemon Verbana Tea
300ml Apricot Juice
Instructions: Steep the Verbana Tea in boiling water and let it sit for 10 minutes, mix with the other ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Other versions include the use of mango nectar if you can’t find the verbena tea and the use of pineapple juice instead of apricot juice.
Just a heads up, the taste is less than pleasing (far from it!) and has been known to cause an upheaval in your digestive system, so don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Is Midwives Brew Safe?
Midwives Brew is considered safe to take as long as it is taken when you are already full term in pregnancy; at least 39 or 40 weeks, but you must inform your medical doctor and wait for the signal before trying it.
Please follow your doctor’s advice regarding any possibility of an early induction for medical and health reasons, whether yours or your baby’s.
Midwives Brew Scientific Research
There seems to be a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest the Midwives brew works but what does the research say?
This study in 2000 claimed that 60% of women who took castor oil went into labor within 24 hours and interestingly 80% of these women gave birth vaginally. The thing we must note, however, is that this study was very small. Only 103 Participants and all the women were at least 40 weeks pregnant.
A more recent study in 2018 found that
The use of castor oil is related to a higher probability of labour initiation within 24 hours. Castor oil can be considered a safe non-pharmacological method for labour induction.
Nearly 91% of women in the study who consumed the castor oil cocktail to induce labor were able to give birth vaginally with little to no maternal or fetal complications. Findings indicate further research is needed to compare the safety and effectiveness of natural labor induction methodologies, including castor oil, to commonly used labor induction techniques in a prospective study or clinical trial.
RELATED: How to overcome the fear of Labor
When is the Best Time to Drink Midwives Brew?
Midwives Brew should only be taken at 39 weeks or 40 weeks if possible.
This is for your baby’s safety; moreover, your body will respond better to the induction once your pregnancy has reached full term.
The Brew is also best taken at room temperature or warm early in the morning or on an empty stomach. You can also add ice if you wish.
Make sure to drink everything within 30 minutes, so you get the maximum effect.
This might be a bit hard to do considering the taste, but a lot of women say that adding a few blocks of ice makes it easier to drink (and keep a tablespoon of sugar or a piece of chocolate to follow, perhaps?).
How Long Does Midwives Brew Take to Work
How soon before you see or feel the effect of the midwives brew depends on how ready your body is, so it differs from one pregnant woman to another.
Many women who have tried inducing labor using the concoction felt the result within 24 hours while some reported having gone into labor after 4-5 hours only, with an increase in dilation of 3cm.
This means that you should be ready for labor before you take it.
Either you should be in the hospital if it is a hospital birth or your midwife/doula should be present if it is a home birth.
What is the Midwives Brew Success Rate?
It is reported that the midwives’ Brew has a success rate of a whopping 85% and within 24 hours. I consider that a pretty good number!
It must be stressed that there is no scientific evidence or studies backing this claim The success rate is purely anecdotal
Success Midwives Brew Stories
A lot of women have nothing but high praises for the midwives brew in helping them induce labor.
One woman reported that she drank midwives brew at 8:30 pm and started labor at 1 am. Another woman shared in a forum that she took midwives Brew and gave birth to a lovely boy 5 hours later.
Another very pregnant momma who was scheduled for an induction at the hospital the following day took matters in her own hands and took midwives Brew at home.
Took the drink at 5:45 pm and her contractions started at 10 pm and the baby was born the following day.
There are so many success stories from women who have tried midwives brew in forums online, but you need to remember that each journey will be different, so don’t try to compare yours with others.
What are the Midwives Brew Side Effects?
We’ve talked about almost everything there is to know about this very popular labor-inducing drink, and now we need to discuss one more important thing before you decide on trying it.
Let’s talk about the side effects and possible bodily reactions. It’s best to know what to expect so you can be ready for it.
Nausea & Vomiting – make sure that you won’t be alone in the house or the hospital because the castor oil may cause dizziness to some.
Diarrhea & Dehydration – both usually go together since you lose a lot of fluids if you have diarrhea, so make sure you replenish and drink up!
Fatigue – some may feel sluggish or tired a few hours after taking the Brew
Irregular and Painful Contractions – may cause additional stress and exhaustion to the baby and the mother
Side effects can be present, or none to some, so make sure that you and your medical doctor are on the same page when it comes to using midwives Brew.
Always follow your doctor’s advice since they know your medical history.
What to Do if Midwives Brew Won’t Work?
As already mentioned, several times in this post, not everyone will react the same to midwives brew, so if it does not work for you, here are other natural labor-inducing methods you can try at home:
Nipple Stimulation – Use a hand pump or manual expression to induce uterine contraction and get your hormones going. A lot of women swear that this works so you can also give it a try.
Spicy Food – I’ve heard this so many times, and a lot of women swear by this. Just make sure you don’t have gastrointestinal or hyperacidity issues before trying this one, as it may cause additional stress on your part!
Exercise – This is a trusted natural labor-inducing practice; I know this because my doctor made me walk around and climb the stairs to get the labor going. You can also try squatting or use a birthing ball.
Sex – This might be the last thing on your mind, but sexual activity can help induce uterine contraction and hopefully moves your labor forward.
Just make sure to avoid this one if your water has already broken to avoid issues and check with your doctor if it’s okay.
Wait for nature to run its course – This may be the hardest thing to do at this point, but sometimes we just need to give our body the chance to progress on its own. Don’t worry; you’ll meet your baby soon enough!
I hear you. You just want to give birth and push the baby out already. I get it, it has been nine long months, and you are ready to go into labor and push so you can finally hold your baby in your arms and feel like your normal self again.
You’ve had enough of the waddling, big-bellied, and gaseous being that you have been seeing on the mirror for quite some time now.
Are you actually prepared for labor?
One thing I must mention is that being prepared for your labor is so incredibly important. Taking a birthing class to prepare yourself even this late in the day is vital.
If you are looking at being induced then considering an epidural may be something you may or may not have considered.
I recommend you read 18 of the best online birthing classes compared. It is a fantastic course that will get you ready in no time with all the information you need.
An amazing course that will prepare both you and your birthing partner from the comfort of your own home
The bottom line
My advice? Take a step back in enjoy this part of motherhood because trust me, once the baby is out, you will miss the quietness and your solitary moments, that I guarantee.
Trust me, I have birthed five babies, while they are the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me, there were times when I just wanted to put them back in my belly so that I can have a few minutes of silence and peace.
Motherhood is a crazy beautiful journey, and each stage will have its challenges.
Pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for getting this far. You are doing a fantastic job! Just a few more steps, and you’ll be home free with your brand-new baby! Exciting times.
Whether you decide to use midwives brew or try the alternatives listed above, just remember to fully inform your doctor and wait for the signal before starting anything on your own.
Your health and the baby should come first. I hope I have stressed this part enough.
Good luck, momma!
A FREE course I would recommend is the KOPA FREE NATURAL birth class.
It is completely free and I would wholeheartedly recommend it. The best thing is it doesn’t cost anything and you will learn some amazing tips with videos
YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR THE FREE COURSE HERE
I wish you all the best and hope you have a safe and easy birth