Can You Eat After Drinking Midwives Brew?

When your baby keeps a bit longer than usual to arrive, tradition and science intertwine, and that’s definitely when midwives brew comes in.

As a rich ancient concoction, the midwives brew has left many future parents or new mom-to-bes with several questions;

“Does it work?” What’s in it?” and most relevant to our discussion, “can you eat after drinking midwives brew?” Let’s get into the whole of it.

What is midwives brew?

Midwives brew, sometimes called German Labor cocktail is a traditional remedy that has long been used by midwives and pregnant women to induce labor naturally. This brew is known to trigger labor within about 48 hours of consuming.

The ingredients may vary at a glance but usually it consists of;

  • Castor oil
  • Almond butter
  • Apricot juice
  • Lemon verbena tea

It’s actually incomplete when it doesn’t contain the castor oil because it is considered the major working mechanism behind the brew, as it is thought to induce contractions by causing muscle spasms.

In as much as it is natural, always allow your midwife to prescribe it first. He or she is also going to guide you with it thoroughly till you have your baby.

Is it safe to drink midwives brew?

The safety of midwives brew largely depends on your health condition. As I mentioned earlier, it contains castor oil, which is the primary labor-inducing component.

Castor oil is a very powerful laxative but despite its naturalness, it can cause side effects like diarrhea, nausea, dehydration and vomiting.

You should note that in as much as castor oil (as the main ingredient) can help labor induction, it shouldn’t be taken solely without the other ingredients of the brew.

This is because it is known that the other ingredients including almond butter and apricot juice helps to shrink the effects of the castor oil in the brew, making it very safe to drink.

I personally recommend midwives brew to my patients when they are at full term, which is usually at 40 weeks.

If you’re noticing baby movements like squirms or shuffles heavily starting from the 39th week through to about 43 weeks and baby is still not out, then your OB-GYN can recommend midwives brew to help induce labor immediately. 

How soon can you eat after drinking midwives brew for labor?

In fact, there are no hard and fast rules about when you should eat after having this blend. Many pregnant women usually feel the need to eat after downing it because has a bitter taste.

You are good to eat after consuming it anyway. If you also prefer to eat before drinking midwives brew, go ahead and do so. You can also choose to drink it while eating, and that’s still okay.

Regardless of how you take in between your meals, it’s so fine, so far as you’re comfortable with it.

But like always, make sure your decision to drink midwives brew is made by your doctor. It’s not any light refreshment or a sweet drink you casually sip. It’s a blend meant to push out your baby, so it’s a serious business!

How do you feel after drinking midwives brew?

Once you have it sipped, how your body reacts can be different for you and your pregnant friend.

The castor oil in it might trigger a feeling like you have to use the washroom. For some, this could lead to stomach cramps, diarrhea or even a queasy feeling.

You know you’re taking it to kickstart labor and therefore, woud cause some contractions, which may feel like intense menstrual cramps. The discomfort may be mild or very harsh. Don’t worry, they’re signs your baby is coming, and it’s perfectly normal.

Some expectant mothers also report feelings of dehydration or blood circulation issues. But remember every pregnancy is unique and reactions can vary widely.

How long does it take to work?

Generally, it shouldn’t take too long for the brew to work its magic. For many women, the brew starts working within a few hours. This is because the castor oil speeds up uterine contractions.

Studies suggest that 6 out of 10 women who took castor oil went into labor within 24 hours. But know that everyone’s body works different, so some might notice changes even faster than others.

I prescribed this blend for a patient who was on her 43rd week, and she literally had contractions and eventually gave birth in less than 5 hours after drinking it. So yea, it actually depends on your body, specifically your uterus, and how ready it is for labor.

Will midwives brew still work if you throw up?

If you vomit shortly (30 seconds to a couple of hours) after taking midwives brew, your body might not have fully absorbed it. This means that it may fail to stimulate the contractions it should.

But if it waited for at least 4 hours before throwing up, then you do not have to retake it. Your body had absorbed enough, so it’ll work just as fine as if you didn’t vomit it out.

Do you have to drink midwives brew fast?

The brew is traditionally prepared to be taken in a go or in a shot. It’s even bitter and I doubt you would want to take a longer time consuming it. So go ahead and down it fast for a quick relief.

What is the best way to drink midwives brew?

Here’s how you can make midwives brew at home:


  • Apricot or pineapple juice – 10 ounces
  • Lemon verbena tea(allow it to cool) – 8 ounces
  • Castor oil – 2 tablespoons
  • Almond butter – 2 tablespoons

Process in making it:

  • Make a cup of lemon verbena tea and allow it to cool
  • Blend the juice, almond oil, cool tea and castor oil until it’s very smooth
  • Drink it all in a go

Always talk to your doctor before trying this because it might trigger some side effects like diarrhea, upset tummy or nausea.

Can you put ice in midwives brew?

Well, you can add very small ice if that’s what you want. Ice will change the taste slightly but it’s still fine. Just make sure you do not leave part of the serving you added the ice – Instead you should drink it all.

This is because ice condenses and increases the water volume in the serving and if you should leave a portion, that literally means you took less of the prescribed amount, which can go a long way to affect the duration it will take to work.

In all, ice shouldn’t change the effectiveness anyway. It’s more or less like drinking water right after drinking the brew.

Should I take midwives brew regularly?

Hell no! you shouldn’t take midwives brew regularly. It should be used just once to kickstart labor.

It’s probably in rare cases that your doctor would prescribe it again or for a few more days. That even follows that you threw up on your first intake or you didn’t take the right amount to force labor, or some other conditions that may impede labor.

How frequent you should take it must solely rely on your doctor so keep talking to him or her.

Final verdict

While there isn’t a strict rule on when to eat after drinking midwives brew, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before taking it.

It may trigger an upset tummy sometimes, and the food you take in after downing it may worsen it. As such, eat something light after it. And note that you should always take it prior to the prescription of your OB-GYN.


Mommy labor Nurse (Midwives brew) & Wonder Baby (Midwives Brew: Does It Really Work to Induce Labor?)

Georgina Austin

Georgina Austin

Georgina is a certified midwife, a seasoned writer and a mother of twins - Noel and Noelle. She brings to this blog eleven years of experience in maternity support, coupled with her personal motherhood adventures to give you factual information on women's health.

Aside writing on pregnancy and breastfeeding, she writes on sexual health concerns, birth control guides, egg donation, sibling dynamics, and balancing the demands of multiple children.