The Effects of Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is a byproduct of petroleum distillation. It is used in baby oil and as a light lubricant and laxative and is available in drug stores. The irritating effects of mineral oil in the bowel also tend to irritate the uterus, which is in close proximity. Abdominal cramping caused by the use of mineral oil can trigger uterine contractions, if the baby is term and the cervix is soft. Castor oil and prune juice have similar effects.

The use of laxatives by women to encourage labor is an age-old practice that is popular today because standard obstetrics commonly intervenes when pregnancy goes beyond 40 weeks of gestation. Mothers prefer to try home remedies before they are subjected to more invasive hospital procedures. Many physicians will recommend laxatives and other reasonably safe methods to start labor at home.

Expect Results In Six Hours

If it is going to work, the full effect of mineral oil will occur six hours after ingestion, so if labor does not start then, it is not going to happen. If contractions do occur, wait to see if they continue and get stronger before rushing to the hospital. They could stop when the effect of the mineral oil wears off.

Take Mineral Oil in the Morning

Two ounces of mineral oil first thing in the morning, following a good night's sleep, is the best time to use this laxative to stimulate labor. That way, the mother is less likely to become exhausted if she doesn't deliver until nighttime.


Consult your health care provider before taking mineral oil to start labor. The laxative effects of mineral oil can be very strong, and may cause the bag of waters to break. If this happens when fecal matter is being forcefully expelled, there is a danger that bacterial infection will be transmitted to the baby.

Continued use of mineral oil blocks absorption of nutrients such as B vitamins and vitamins A, D, E and K. It is recommended for short-term use only.

The use of mineral oil to induce labor will result in diarrhea, which can cause dehydration. Fluids should be replaced with plenty of water, juice, herbal tea, or sports drinks.