Evening Primrose Oil

Evening Primrose Oil and Pregnancy

There are plenty of old wives' tales about pregnancy. Wearing briefs reduces a man's sperm count. Conceiving on a full moon means you'll have a girl. Carrying low means it's a boy; carrying high means it's a girl. You need hot water during childbirth.

Is evening primrose oil one more? Possibly. Manufacturers of herbal fertility treatments claim that taking evening primrose oil can help a woman conceive by making her cervical mucus more stretchable and slippery, enabling the sperm to move more quickly through the uterus and into the fallopian tube [source: Baby Hopes].

Taking evening primrose oil supposedly increases a woman's "egg white" cervical mucus during ovulation, which helps the sperm stay viable longer and move more quickly toward the egg [source: Labor of Love]. As promising as it sounds, be aware that no scientific studies have confirmed its effectiveness for making babies.

Evening primrose oil has been used to help induce labor. Because it contains GLA, it's considered a good source of prostaglandins, which can help soften the cervix and prepare it to open [source: Birthing Naturally]. It's the same reason some people claim having sex can induce labor. Semen also contains prostaglandins, which stimulates moisture production at the mucus membranes.

Because it may cause contractions, it is recommended that you don't take evening primrose oil until you are at least 34 weeks into your pregnancy [source: Hudson]. You can take it orally or apply it directly to your cervix using your fingers or by inserting the capsule vaginally.

And again, evening primrose oil's ability to induce labor is still strictly theory. Some midwives swear by it, but most experts say it does nothing more than what the body was already ready to do naturally.

Read on to learn about its potential in affecting your brain chemistry.