ORAL EVENING PRIMROSE OIL

Its Effect on Length of Pregnancy and Selected Intrapartum Outcomes in Low-Risk Nulliparous Women

Authors

  • Dorinda Dove CNM, MS,

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      The Birth Center: Holistic Women's Health Care, L. L. C., 1508 West 7th Street, Wilmington, DE 19805.
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    • Dorinda Dove received her BSN from University of Delaware, Midwifery Certificate from Baylor College of Medicine and MS in Nurse-Midwifery from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She is co-owner and co-director of The Birth Center: Holistic Women's Health Care, L. L. C. in Wilmington, Delaware where she has practiced as a midwife for four years.

  • Peter Johnson CNM, PhD

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    • Peter Johnson is a clinical assistant professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook Nurse-Midwifery Education Program. Mr. Johnson received his BS and MS from the State University of New York, his Midwifery Certificate at the United States Air Force Nurse-Midwifery Education Program and is currently completing requirements for a PhD in educational psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Mr. Johnson is a member of the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) Division of Research, the ACNM Certification Council, Inc. (ACC) Research Committee, and the New York State Midwifery Board.


The Birth Center: Holistic Women's Health Care, L. L. C., 1508 West 7th Street, Wilmington, DE 19805.

ABSTRACT

Evening primrose oil is widely used by many midwives to hasten cervical ripening in an effort to shorten labor and decrease the incidence of postdates pregnancies. Although its efficacy has been studied in the relief of symptoms of a number of medical conditions, its use has not been well studied, if at all, for the purpose of cervical ripening. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of oral evening primrose oil on the length of pregnancy and selected intrapartum outcomes in low-risk nulliparous women. A two group retrospective quasi-experimental design conducted on a sample of women who received care in a birth center, compared selected outcomes of 54 women taking evening primrose oil in their pregnancy with a control group of 54 women who did not. Findings suggest that the oral administration of evening primrose oil from the 37th gestational week until birth does not shorten gestation or decrease the overall length of labor. Further, the use of orally administered evening primrose oil may be associated with an increase in the incidence of prolonged rupture of membranes, oxytocin augmentation, arrest of descent, and vacuum extraction.

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