What Is the Connection between Black Cohosh and Labor?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2018
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Black cohosh and labor are linked because using black cohosh is known to induce labor in pregnant women who are full-time. It works by softening the cervix so that it is more sensitive to stimulation and pressure, making contractions more likely to occur. Many times it in combined with other natural labor stimulants to make its use more effective. Not all women will go into labor after using black cohosh, since it is much more likely to work in those who are already on the verge of labor.

Physicians and natural health practitioners have known about the link between black cohosh and labor for years. It is often given as a natural induction option by midwives because it may promote labor while also allowing women to avoid the harsh side effects of drug induction methods. Black cohosh may be given in tincture, tea, or pill form. Each medical professional will likely have his or her preferred method of delivery for their patients.


It is not recommended that women who are not full-term use black cohosh for labor induction. Due dates are rough estimates based on the beginning of a woman's last menstrual period and/or ultrasound scans, but they are not an exact science. It is common for them to be off the mark by a week or more in either direction, and some babies naturally need more time to develop than others. Although many women can safely use black cohosh and labor induction methods sold over the counter, it is still recommended that women under 40 weeks gestation refrain from doing so unless advised by a doctor. Women who are under 37 weeks gestation are still considered pre-term and should never attempt to induce labor unless medically necessary.

Black cohosh and other labor induction herbs like blue cohosh or raspberry leaf tea may be used in combination with each other. They are ideally used to together when under the supervision of a doctor or midwife, since occasionally there could be side effects related to their use. In some cases, blood pressure changes my occur. The longer the herb is taken and the higher the dosage, the more chance there is for side effects. Black cohosh may not work for women who are not already approaching labor, since all induction methods are more effective on a cervix that is already primed to begin opening.



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