Friday, June 16, 2017

Things not to put "right up in there"

I found this pretty yellow evening primrose growing on the Appalachian Trail and it reminded me of something I haven't really thought about in a couple of years:
People behave differently with pregnant women.
They say things they would NEVER say to non-pregnant women.
The more visibly pregnant a woman is, the weirder it gets, too.
Both my kids were two weeks late, and I looked like an exaggerated cartoon version of a pregnant woman, so every time I left the house I knew I was opening myself up to some "interesting encounters."
Let me preface this next part by saying: 
I know they meant well.
and also
I am not any kind of an authority on any subject.
I'm just a sciency flower nerd armed with a field guide and Google, 
so you go ahead and do what you want.
So, anyway, here is my advice to pregnant women:
Please ignore all the advice regarding stuff to put in your hoo-ha.
I don't know how many times I had this conversation
(sometimes with strangers and sometimes acquaintances)
When are you due?
-Sometime last week.
Have you tried x, y, z methods of inducing labor? Also, you should try evening primrose oil- just put it right up in there and you'll go into labor in hours!
(Also, I should note that I live in an are where selling essential oils is super popular, so this may not be an issue you don't live in an area where everyone and their sister is selling essential oils.)

This is what evening primrose looks like:
and you should definitely NOT put it in your va-jay-jay.
Despite mountains of purely anecdotal evidence, scientific studies have never been able to prove even marginal efficacy.

 However, there have been crap tons of side effects in participants of those unsuccessful studies:

"Evening primrose oil may also cause abdominal pain, acidity, acne, altered immune system function, anxiety, belching, bloating, cellulitis (skin infection), colic, constipation, cough, cramping, crying, decreased or increased duration of childbirth, depression, diarrhea, difficulty swallowing, dizziness, dryness of mucous membranes, eczema, fullness, gas, gastrointestinal adverse effects, headache, heartburn, increased bleeding time or decreased platelet aggregation, increased risk of inflammation, indigestion, irregular menstruation, irritability, itchy and fatty skin, loose stools, musculoskeletal adverse effects, nausea, nervous system adverse effects, pneumonia, reproductive system adverse effects, respiratory system adverse effects, seizures or lowered seizure threshold, skin lesions in newborns, skin rash, slower dilation during childbirth, stomachache, tension, vivid dreams, vomiting, weight gain, or worsening mania.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: There is a lack of sufficient data on the use of EPO during pregnancy or lactation. A study has reported women taking EPO by mouth to have a longer labor, slower dilation rate, prolonged rupture of membranes, use of oxytocin, and arrest of descent."

(emphasis mine)

I love traditional medicine as much as anyone, but it's dangerous to make the assumption that just because something is natural means it's safe.
I'm sure your cousin's sister's neighbor that sells essential oils will probably disagree with me about EPO and want to argue that her hairdresser's sister is a midwife and buys the stuff (from her) by the gallon and just goes around with a super-soaker full of it to help her patients go into labor naturally, but I'm just going to go ahead and say it:
Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) is great for attracting birds and bees to your garden, but it belongs soundly on the list of  
things NOT to put in your cupcake.

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