What is Midwives Brew & Does it Work?

If you are reading this, you are probably close to or over your due date. We all know that due dates are just an estimation of baby’s arrival, but as the day gets closer and you get more uncomfortable the anticipation grows!

Many women close to or over their due date are looking for things to induce labor. You may be reading some articles or blogs trying to find something that will start your labor! Let’s jump into the midwives’ brew!

Related Post: 12 Sure Signs Labor is Close

What is Midwives Brew?

The midwives brew is a concoction said to help induce labor in moms that are full term. One of the recipes contains castor oil which is said to help induce labor.

The theory behind the midwives brew is that the active ingredient (castor oil) causes muscles to contract, which is exactly what a contraction is!

Midwives Brew Ingredients:

There are several different recipes floating around for the midwives brew, but typically they contain some sort of combination of these ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of castor oil
  • 8 oz of lemon verbena tea
  • 10 oz of a strong tasting juice (mango, apricot, orange)
  • 2 tablespoons of almond butter

How to Make Midwives Brew:

  • Brew your tea, try to brew it stronger by letting it steep for at least 8 minutes.
  • Blend all of the ingredients together until smooth
  • Pour into a glass and BOTTOMS UP.

You can always pour this drink over ice if you are unable to consume it at room temp.

Breakdown of The Ingredients:

Castor Oil

Castor oil is WIDELY used as a laxative all around the world. This oil causes intense spasms in your intestines. Because of this reaction, castor oil can also induce spasms in your uterine muscles – inducing labor. Ultimately this can lead to contractions.

Lemon Verbena Tea

This tea has been around for centuries. It is commonly used for treating colds and for boosting immune systems. The core purpose of this tea in midwives brew is to relax your muscles and soften your cervix.


Juice itself is a great source of vitamins and minerals. Because of this alone, it is a great addition to your midwives brew. Certain juices are higher in different vitamins, so choosing one that would benefit you most would be a great idea. The juice also adds taste to your midwives brew to balance out the less tasty ingredients – so choose a strong-tasting juice that you enjoy.

Almond Butter

Almond butter is what helps the castor oil to stick to your intestines. Plus, it has numerous health benefits! Consuming castor oil without almond butter isn’t a great idea as it will flow too quickly through your system. Almond butter acts as a buffer and diarrhea-reducing agent.

How Effective is Midwives Brew?

There are mixed reports on how effective the midwives brew actually is. If your body is ready, this might be the thing that pushes you over the edge and into active labor!

When Should you Drink Midwives Brew?

You should only consider any labor-inducing method when you are full term or over your due date. 39 weeks is the very soonest you want to try anything like the midwives brew.

How long does it take to kick in?

There is no set amount of time that you can expect to be in labor. If it works, most women reported going into labor within 24 hours of consumption.

This concoction can be effective because the castor oil causes muscle contractions. This is also a large part of why nausea and diarrhea are common because unfortunately, you cannot pick only one thing to contract!

Is Midwives Brew Safe?

Everything that you put in your body, has an inherent risk. The ingredients of the midwives brew are simple and easy to discern if it is right for you or not.

If you are concerned, always consult your OBGYN or midwife.

What are the Risks of Drinking Midwives Brew?

Allergic Reaction: Anytime you are trying something new you have this risk. Be careful with unfamiliar ingredients, especially when pregnant.

Interference with Medication: If you are taking any sort of medication make sure to ask your pharmacist if any of the ingredients would interfere with what you are taking.

Extreme Diarrhea: The active ingredient is castor oil, which is known to potentially cause diarrhea in some cases..not the most ideal way to go into labor.

Dehydration: You can become extremely dehydrated if you have extreme diarrhea. This can be dangerous for both mom and baby.

What are the Side Effects of Midwives Brew?

Some of the side effects are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration

Those side effects aren’t the most fun to go into labor with.

What is the Evidence Supporting Midwives Brew?

There haven’t been very many clinical studies done regarding the effectiveness of the midwives brew. There are some studies suggesting that it works on a majority of women at or around 40 weeks and some studies say that it isn’t as effective.

If you are desperate enough to try an induction at home, you might take this method into consideration.

Can you make Midwives Brew without Castor Oil?

If you feel uncomfortable with the castor oil aspect of this recipe, you could always try an alternative. You want something that will stimulate contractions similar to castor oil.

Cayenne pepper is a good substitute to consider. Another is red raspberry leaf tea or tincture.

What are the Alternatives for Inducing Labor?

Related Post: Natural Ways to Induce Labor

Membrane stripping: This is where your midwife or OBGYN takes their fingers and strips away the amniotic sack away from the membrane wall. You may feel discomfort as this is happening. Afterward, you may be crampy and have spotting/loss of mucous plug.

Pitocin: Pitocin is synthetic oxytocin. Pitocin is probably the most commonly used in hospital inductions.

Contractions from Pitocin can be intense and sometimes do not let up, which can cause baby distress. Pitocin contractions can also be more intense and painful for mom.

Balloon catheter: This is where a catheter is inserted into the cervix and a balloon is used to help dilate the cervix. The theory behind this is that the cervix will become dilated and irritated causing contractions.

Herbal tinctures or teas:

  • Blue Cohash is known to increase contractions and normalize them.
  • Red Raspberry leaf tea: Some women start drinking red raspberry leaf tea at around 36 weeks. This tea is said to help strengthen the uterus and slowly ripen the cervix for labor.

Spicy food: Spicy food can cause an upset stomach, which can sometimes create contractions. Be careful with this one because you definitely don’t want terrible heartburn.

Sex: The prostaglandins from semen can cause ripening of the cervix. An orgasm will release oxytocin in the body which will cause uterine contractions.

Related Post: Best Sex Positions to Induce Labor

Acupuncture: The idea behind this method is to relieve stress and release oxytocin into the body.

Walking: Exercise is great during pregnancy, however in the 3rd-trimester walking is especially beneficial. Walking not only raises the heart rate but also helps the baby lower down into the birth canal and put pressure on the cervix.

Nipple stimulation: You can do this with a breast pump or intimacy with your partner. Nipple stimulation causes oxytocin to release, which can stimulate contractions to begin.

Cervical Ripening agents: Cervical ripening agents contain prostaglandins which encourage cervical dilation. These are usually administered at a routine appointment or at the hospital before induction.

Frequently Asked Questions About Midwives Brew:

How Fast Do You Have to Drink Midwives Brew?

Midwives brew is probably not going to taste the best, but you want to try to drink it within a timeframe of 20-30 minutes. Any more time than that, and it will lose its effectiveness.

Should you Eat Before Drinking Midwives Brew?

You don’t have to but you absolutely can. There is no evidence that consuming the brew on an empty stomach makes it work any better than if you just had a meal.

Does Midwives Brew Make You Poop?

It definitely might. You can develop extreme diarrhea from the castor oil, but some women note just having looser stools and not severe diarrhea.

What does Just Simply Mom Think About Midwives Brew?

Overall, it isn’t a terrible idea for natural labor induction, however, I would suggest trying some other labor-inducing tricks before resorting to this one.

Mama, I understand that you are tired, uncomfortable, and desperate. No matter what you choose, make sure to consult your doctor/midwife before jumping in.

Whatever you choose, I support you! Have you chosen any labor induction methods listed? If so, what was your outcome/experience? Let me know in the comments!

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