The last few weeks of my last pregnancy, my Certified Nurse Midwife suggested I add Evening Primrose Oil to my daily regimen of Red Raspberry Leaf. She explained to me how it can help soften and ripen the cervix and prepare it for labor. Being an herb person anyway, and knowing from my first labor experience how much help my cervix needs, I was game. And I believe that it, along with the Red Raspberry Leaf, are part of the reason my second labor was so much more effective and productive and went so much better and faster. Going from 22 hours to 4 hours felt miraculous, as you can imagine. And instead of my cervix never even getting to a 10 (like the first time), the second time I was at a 9 before I realized it.
I can't find where I wrote down anywhere my CNMs suggested dosage (and I now have an OB since, sadly, there aren't any CNMs in my town), so I've been doing the research again to figure out how much I should take. I remember waiting until 36 weeks to begin taking Evening Primrose Oil last time, and the information I've found online confirms that. So last week I started to take it orally, two or three capsules a day. I will increase it weekly thereafter, and at about 38 weeks I will also begin inserting a capsule(s) vaginally at bedtime (which is actually the most effective method).
For others who are interested in learning more about this natural way of helping to prepare your body for labor (which, by the way, studies indicate it will only do if your body is ready to be helped), and what Evening Primrose actually is and contains, check out the following sites:
Passionate Homemaking (which also discusses its other, non-pregnancy uses)