Black cohosh is a commonly prescribed labor-inducing herbal supplement. This article discusses how this herb helps in inducing labor.
Black cohosh is a perennial plant that is grown in native America. This herb, which belongs to the buttercup family, is said to be used as a herbal supplement to treat various ailments, including menstrual cramps, arthritis, menopause problems, indigestion, etc., for several years. Apart from these, this supplement is also said to be useful for inducing labor in pregnant women. Though most midwives support the use of this herb, it is important that one gains appropriate and detailed information on this supplement before consuming it.
Nowadays, when a woman goes beyond her gestation term, or when some complications arise in pregnancy, the most common alternative that is found to bring the child out of the womb is to conduct a cesarean section. Sometimes, pain medications are also administered to induce labor. Though these methods are effective, they can be dangerous in certain cases.
Hence, a safer alternative to this is the use of black cohosh, which has been used for this very purpose by midwives for many years. It is said that the leaves and stem of this plant contains estrogen-like compounds called phytoestrogen. These phytoestrogens help produce oxytocin, which ripens the cervix and stimulates the uterus, thereby strengthening the contractions and stimulating labor.
It is important that you talk to your doctor or midwife about the dosage you should take for the induction of labor. This is because excessive intake of black cohosh is not advisable as it may harm the mother as well as the baby.
One extremely crucial thing that you should remember is that this supplement can never be taken before the 37th week of gestation, as doing this can lead to premature delivery. The initial dosage should not be more than five drops which should be taken by mixing it with tea or water. This solution should be taken twice everyday, starting from the 37th week of pregnancy. If you do not find any cervical change in a week’s time, the dosage should be increased by ten drops which should also be consumed daily.
Apart from this, this supplement is also available in the form of tablets. You can consume these tablets three times a day for the initial few days, and increase the dosage after some days. However, make sure that the tablets you are taking do not contain more than 500 mg of black cohosh in them. When the health practitioner or midwife ensures that it is safe to bring the baby out, keeping 15 drops of black cohosh tincture under the tongue every hour will help induce labor.
Even though black cohosh is a herb that is widely used to induce labor, its effectiveness is not something that is scientifically proven. Hence, there are chances that some kind of problems may occur to the mother or the child after delivery. There have been cases where prolonged bleeding as well as postpartum hemorrhage have been associated to the use of this herbal supplement.
Hence, one should not take this herb without consulting a gynecologist as most of these cases have occurred due to overdose. Sometimes, excess consumption of this herb can also lead to severe uterine contractions which may lead to miscarriage. Some people take black cohosh with the combination of blue cohosh, which is another herb that causes labor pain because this combination is considered to be more effective. However, there have been cases where this combination has caused neurological problems in the baby.
Apart from this, women who are affected by uterine fibroids or breast cancer should not be given this supplement because it may cause certain hormonal changes, which may not be good for their health. There are also certain side effects which include indigestion, weight gain, vomiting, low-blood pressure, headache, and nausea. Some of the severe side effects include liver damage, seizures, visual disturbances, and irregular heartbeats. Also, people who have an allergy towards aspirin should not take this supplement because they have a common component ‘salicylic acid’, which may give rise to further side effects.
There is a debate on the usage of black cohosh without any specific side effects, because not much research has been done on this subject. The only alternative here is that one should try some other method to induce labor or be extra careful while taking this particular herb. Consulting a doctor or a midwife can reduce the chances of risk pertaining to the intake of this herbal supplement.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.