Researchers at Monash University, in Victoria, Australia, examined the scientific evidence for the use of CAM to stimulate labor.

Here’s what we know.

  • Most CAM used for induction of labor is based on traditional knowledge rather than scientific research.
  • Currently, the clinical evidence is sparse, and it’s not possible to make firm conclusions regarding the effectiveness of these therapies.
  • Some supporting data
    • Breast stimulation for induction of labor
    • Acupuncture
    • Raspberry leaf
  • Might not be effective and possibly increase the risk of complications
    • Castor oil
    • Evening primrose oil.
  • No evidence from clinical studies
    • Homeopathy
  • May be harmful during pregnancy and should not be recommended for induction
    • Blue cohosh

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Midwives should develop a good understanding of these therapies, including both the benefits and risks, so they can assist women to make appropriate decisions.”

5/2/11 20:47 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.