Recently on Instagram, I did a series of videos entitled “Get this baby out of me!” for those mamas wanting to induce labor naturally at home. Of course, I had to include the one that works nearly the best, the good ‘ole Midwives brew or otherwise known as the German midwife cocktail.
You have probably been doing a quick internet search to find help to get your labor started. So happy you found us because I not only recommend this natural labor induction drink, but I have done it myself (it worked!)
The midwives' brew recipe is a natural labor induction recipe you can make at home. It is a variation of other effective ways to induce labor at home, which might be a little easier on the system.
Related Post: The Four Stages of Labor Explained
Why I am here and who I am:
Hey mama, I am Trish— AKA Labor Nurse Mama. I am a labor and delivery nurse with over 15 years of high-risk OB experience. I am also a mama to 7 kids and have given birth to 6. This means I am quite familiar with the postpartum period and how to navigate it. I am the online birth class educator for Calm Labor Confident Birth and The VBAC Lab birth classes and the mama expert inside our Calm Mama Society, a pregnancy & postpartum membership community! I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey! You can find me over on IG teaching over 230k mamas daily. I am passionate about your birth and motherhood journey!
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Disclaimer: Talk to your provider first, and Do not do this unless you are at/past your due date.
When should I consider the midwives brew?
The German labor cocktail, or midwives brew labor-inducing drink with natural ingredients, is best used after 40 weeks.
I know that is the last thing you probably want to hear right now, but I promise it is best for you and your baby. The thing about all types of labor inductions (self or medical) is that they won't work if you are not ready for labor. Most experts say you should be full-term before trying anything to start labor.
Be patient, momma. I know, I know. It's so challenging and so maddening to be pregnant for 40 weeks.
Your vagina feels like it is falling out. I get it. But YOU CAN DO THIS.
Where did the midwives brew the recipe originate?
The thought is that this is from Germany, where most deliveries are by a midwife and might not include a labor nurse. What? Not cool.
What is incredible is the support that Germany offers to new parents. Things like paid maternity and paternity leave
Read this FIRST: Six Signs of Labor
The history of the midwives cocktail (brew)
Apparently, the midwife would offer more natural pain relief options at the hospital, such as homeopathic remedies, TENS units, and even acupuncture. I swear, I should have had a baby in Germany.
While in labor, if your labor stalls out, or you are past your due date and prefer not to use medications to induce labor, they would offer you midwives brew tea or labor cocktail to help naturally get your labor going.
In fact, they used to give the midwives brew to induce labor while in the hospital. ( update: I have heard they are no longer regularly offering this)
Does the midwives brew really work?
I have heard that the Midwives Brew has up to an 85% success rate, and many of my students will tell you it worked well for them!
When you're at the point of really wanting that baby out, you are willing to try even this not-so-bad blend!
How long after drinking the Midwives brew does it induce labor?
If it is going to work, it is usually within a few hours up until 24 hours after drinking it. Most women say they begin to feel the side effects soon after drinking it. It really depends on you and your body's readiness for labor.
Is the midwives brew safe for mom and baby?
If you are at full-term and have a low-risk pregnancy, it is safe. However, I would also consult your provider before drinking the midwives brew. This is a safe way to naturally kick start labor for the low-risk pregnant woman. However, there are some common side effects you should be aware of!
Here are some side effects of the midwives brew/ labor tea:
Castor oil, which is a key ingredient, is a laxative. My mom told me her mom used to dish our teaspoons to her whenever she had anything going on. Feel sick, drink it, can't poop, drink it…headache.. You get the point.
Castor oil causes the muscles in your intestines to have spasms which in turn cause the uterine muscles to contract: aka contractions.
The other ingredients in this recipe help lessen castor oil's side effects when it is done alone. The almond butter binds to the oil, and the lemon verbena calms the intestines. (The ingredients also mask the horrific taste of the oil!)
The most common side effect of the midwives brew is nausea, diarrhea, and painful contractions.
Remember that it induces severe diarrhea for some mamas and can lead to dehydration. SO be sure to drink plenty of water and fluids afterward. (Again, make sure you have your medical provider's guidance when choosing whether this is the right move for you!)
My suggestions for success with midwives brew
This is for you if you are a full-term, healthy, normal pregnancy and have no risk factors!
Steps to follow:
- At 37 weeks, drink one glass of red raspberry leaf tea and increase it to 2 glasses of RRLT tea at 38 weeks and three glasses a day of RRLT at 39 weeks.
- At the start of the third trimester, eat six dates a day. (Click here for recipes from my reels)
- Start at 38 weeks doing nipple stimulation for 30 min a day, both sides, 15 right, then 15 left. Use your electric pump on the lowest setting.
- At 40 weeks, ask your medical practitioner about having a membrane sweep.
- After your amniotic membrane sweep is done, go home and drink the midwives' brew recipe.
Success Tips for Drinking the Brew
- Drink on an empty stomach.
- Do it early in the evening before bedtime when it is dark out. (Melatonin increases the strength of contractions.
- Drink it at room temp.
- Don't try until you know your body is ready (favorable cervix) or you are past 40 weeks pregnant.
My Experience with Castor Oil
First, I will tell you that castor oil is no joke. I drank it with two of my pregnancies, once in this concoction. The first time I drank castor oil was due to a random elderly woman. She told me to drink it like a shot (STRAIGHT) and follow it with a Coke. I still can't drink coke, and it's been many years.
Needless to say, I drank it around 3 in the afternoon, and after many bouts of severe diarrhea and endless vomiting, I gave birth around 1 A.M. the following morning. (Read below for my experience with the midwives brew or midwife's cocktail)
As seen on SCARYMOMMY: The Golden Hour After Birth And Why You Should Protect It at All Costs
How do You Make Midwives Brew?
Many of you are like, Trish, get to the midwife's brew recipe! (be sure to order these before you need them)
Midwives' Brew Recipe
- 10 oz of Apricot Juice (see substitutes below)
- 8 oz of pure Lemon Verbena Tea
- 2 TBSP Castor Oil
- 2 TBSP Almond Butter
- A whole lot of stamina
First, brew the tea and let it steep for 10-15 minutes. Then mix everything in a blender. You can add ice, but it works better at room temperature and ON AN EMPTY STOMACH. People ask me often, Do you have to drink the midwives brew on an empty stomach, and my reply is this: Yes, if you want to up the chances of it working, drink the labor-inducing drink on an empty stomach.
Do not go out and about. This can hit you at any time. Girl, it hit me quickly and within 4 hours, and that was that. I was not doing hot, and the contractions were INTENSE! But I had him 50 minutes after getting to the hospital, about 8 hours after drinking this mixture.
You can grab all the ingredients here and stock them just in case!
Midwives Brew Recipe Alternatives
The main ingredient of midwives brew is castor oil, or should I say the main active ingredient; without it it's not going to kickstart your labor.
Apricot juice substitutions:
Peach schnapps, peach champagne (not condoning), orange juice, pineapple juice, mango nectar
The lemon verbena is needed, as it is soothing for your tummy. I have found it at all-natural food stores or on amazon. But order it around 37 weeks just in case; it can be hard to find.
You can use peanut butter, but almond butter binds better to castor oil and helps minimize the digestive effects.
How often can you try the brew?
It is your choice to repeat the drink. However, it is essential to wait a few days. It does cause side effects, namely dehydration, so do not overdo it.
Comment below with your thoughts and experiences with the Midwives Brew to induce labor!
Midwife Brews Birth Stories:
At 41 weeks, 2 days (Monday, May 23rd) I had a doctors appointment in the morning. At the appointment, my OB went over the protocol of the induction with me and my husband. We walked out of there and I looked at my husband and said “I really really don’t want to do that”. It was time for the last resort to get baby to come…Midwifes Brew.
I drank the brew at around 11:30am. I started feeling it work shortly after with the wonderful diarrhea and upset stomach. (I was just happy it was working/doing something). Still no contractions though. Around 4 pm I finally felt my first contraction.
Around 8pm they were getting stronger and I was more certain this was finally the real thing! Around 9:30pm I notified my husband that I felt it was time to go in. He questioned me because he took yourclasses.. so he said are you sure? And was double checking all of my time logs to make sure I was contracting for 1 minuet, 4 minuets apart, for 2 hours…. Around 1130 am the next day I was 10 cm, I pushed for 30 minutes on my side and baby was born at 11:40am. My husband got to announce the gender to the room! Baby GIRL 💕I am so happy with my birth story and so glad I was able to labor at home vs get the induction. I felt so empowered the entire time due to being fully educated. THANK YOU Trish!! ❤️
Other Ways to Naturally Induce Labor:
Below are my favorite natural induction methods. We also have a free induction class that you can watch whether you are being induced (medical induction) or want to know how to start your labor.
1.Nipple Stimulation (This is the most proven and effective way to naturally stimulate labor) (it works but increases oxytocin levels!) Many scientific studies support nipple stim!
2. Sex: Semen must be inside you, as the orgasm and the semen work to soften the cervix.
3. Walking: Get moving, girl!! *Try stairs and curb walking*
4. Pineapple or pineapple juice (no thanks!)
6. Spicy Food
If your drink the midwives brew and you are in labor, be sure to wait until your contractions are at least 4 minutes apart for two hours (this is for first-time mamas). Read this post for more on real labor.
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