Can you eat after drinking midwives brew?

Once you are 39 to 40 weeks pregnant, the anticipation of your little one’s arrival may leave you restless and searching the internet for DIY methods. Midwives brew turns out to be the most popular of those DIY methods for pregnant women! But what happens after you DIY this brew? Can you eat after drinking midwives brew?

There is no scientific evidence that drinking midwives brew on an empty stomach will reap results than on a full one. Also, there is no evidence showing that having a meal after it would interfere with its efficiency. Eating before or after is entirely up to personal preference.

This drink has been around for more than a hundred years, yet there is little to be found regarding its safety information.

The safety guidelines for this drink are not very apparent; there are questions regarding drinking it on an empty stomach and avoiding meals to increase its efficiency.

Therefore, we have taken the liberty of preparing a detailed guide to answer any questions you may have in mind.

What is midwives brew made of?

It is a blend of four main ingredients; castor oil, almond butter, apricot juice, and lemon verbena, which is used either as an essential oil or tea. Castor oil here is the star ingredient as it carries the quality of stimulating contractions, hence labor. But it can be swapped with raspberry leaf tea and other replacements too.

How safe is the midwives brew?

Midwives brew prepared with castor oil may be a compelling way for inducing labor contractions. Still, it comes with minor side effects such as vomiting, nausea, and in extreme cases, severe diarrhea, which might lead to dehydration. Also, it shouldn’t be consumed until full term i.e. 39 to 40 weeks.

Midwives brew ingredient breakdown

To understand the safety of the midwives brew, we will give you a breakdown of the ingredients and their individual side effects so you can easily decide whether this concoction is for you or not. However, it is important to always discuss with your doctor before opting for any DIY methods.

The midwives brew is made up of the following ingredients:

  1. Almond Butter
  2. Apricot Juice
  3. Lemon Verbena
  4. Castor Oil

Almond Butter and Apricot Juice

Both these ingredients are more or less common household food items. Therefore, they are considered benign ingredients. When it comes to both these ingredients, the sole existent risk is looking for allergies. Complications may arise only if you are allergic to either one of these ingredients; otherwise, they are relatively safe.

Some people may prefer to swap apricot juice with other ingredients that are readily more available. Pineapple, peach, and mango juices are good alternatives as all of them are strong-flavored juices that can mask the unpleasant flavor of castor oil.

Lemon Verbena

This ingredient can be found in two forms: as an essential oil and as a tea. Essential oils should never be consumed during pregnancy, so make sure you use lemon tea instead of the lemon essential oil when making your midwives brew.

Lemon teas have long been a favorite as well as a tried and tested way to settle the stomach and morning sickness. The reason we add this to the brew is to counter the gastrointestinal effect of castor oil, the star ingredient of the midwives brew.

Castor Oil

Castor oil is the star ingredient in this brew because it carries the quality of stimulating uterine contractions, which have been reinforced by clinical trials. However, castor oil may cause other muscular contractions, such as in the intestine or the bowel. All of this can lead to vomiting, nausea, and severe diarrhea in worst-case scenarios.

These side effects may put you off as you would not want such a start to your anticipated delivery. But castor oil is a reasonably low-risk ingredient to both the mother and the baby.

If you would like to swap castor oil for another ingredient to cope with the side effects, raspberry leaf tea and spicy ingredients such as cayenne are good options to swap with. 

How long does it take for midwives brew to work?

Most women who drink the midwives brew made up of the original ingredients that include castor oil end up laboring within 24 hours. According to a study in 2012, some post-term women went into labor within 12 hours of drinking the brew. However, it may vary from person to person. There is no set time for the brew to work.

You blended all those ingredients and made yourself slurp down that brew within minutes. Now, what’s the next step? The next step is quite simple: you wait. Unfortunately, after drinking the brew, there is not much you can do except waiting.

The primary mechanism that makes the midwives brew effective in inducing labor is the ability of castor oil to produce muscular contractions, which may make leeway for its side effects to appear. However, eating before or after ingesting midwives brew will have little to no effect on its efficacy as a stimulant, so feel free to eat as per your preference.

When you should take midwives brew

Be very critical not to take midwives brew or any natural labor stimulators until you are at least 39 weeks into your pregnancy, as early labor may interfere with the baby’s growth.

Research shows that midwives brew in most cases causes labor within 24 hours of ingesting it. However, the brew may work differently for every individual. The key here is to remain patient while you wait for your little bundle of joy.

Trust your body and nature’s divine plan. Your baby will arrive at their own perfect time, so you will have to be patient and look forward to their arrival.

What to do if the midwives brew doesn’t work

If the brew doesn’t work, then don’t worry, as it isn’t always successful. But keep in mind that nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are common side effects of the midwives brew due to castor oil. If you feel ill for more than 24 hours, call a healthcare advisor and seek immediate medical attention.

Natural, DIY ways to induce labor may not always work, so keep in mind to remain patient. The brew reacts differently to every individual. However, you may opt for other low-risk options which are very easy to perform, such as:

  • Eating spicy foods
  • Going for a nice walk
  • Meditating or relaxing for a while
  • Nipple stimulation

If none of these ways help you on your way to labor, essentially, you must get in touch with your healthcare advisor and seek their help.

Wrapping up

Midwives brew made with castor oil is an age-old recipe for stimulating uterine contractions to induce labor, and you can eat things after drinking it. However, you must keep in mind that the brew will have an unpleasant taste, and it may come with side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

You need to make sure not to go for any natural stimulants until the 39th week of your pregnancy. And always seek your medical advisor’s guidance before using any DIY methods.

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Amna Muqeem
Hi! I'm Amna and I love cooking and eating different cuisines. My fiance, Immad, and I started this website to share our knowledge of food and kitchen appliances, and to learn more along the way! Here, we try different foods, learn about them through extensive research, and share our experiences with you. Same goes for kitchen appliances and the reviews we craft for you. I hope you enjoy our articles and get to learn from them. Do share your thoughts in the comments, we always read them! You can contact me through

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