Many women prefer taking herbal remedies for various reasons. Herbal remedies can be incredibly effective in treating ailments, as well as helping you maintain good health. And not to mention, there are herbs that are utilized for cosmetic, medicinal, and culinary purposes.
There are many herbs that are safe and even beneficial for pregnant women to take. However, some herbs have been advised to be avoided in pregnancy because they can be dangerous for the mother and fetus.
Any woman who is trying to get pregnant, or is pregnant must find out what kind of herbs to avoid not only during pregnancy but to also avoid during breastfeeding if she chooses that method to feed her infant.
There are some herbs that are safe for pregnant women to take only in first or third trimesters as well, listed below are the herbs that pregnant women and breastfeeding women must avoid unless it helps with inducing labor at the end of the third trimester.
Angelica Herb Angelica herb is used to help calm heartburn down and bloating. However, it must be avoided in pregnancy because it can cause the flow of blood and menstruation. Therefore, it may stimulate contractions and result in miscarriage in an early period of pregnancy.
Aloe Vera Aloe Vera has so many benefits as they really are endless. However, while pregnant, the consumption of Aloe Vera can lead to uterine constrictions, but it may be safe to take at the end of the third trimester to help induce labor if needed.
Autumn Crocus Herb The Autumn Crocus herb is used to help with bloating, diarrhea and rheumatism. However, if taken during any stage of pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, it may cause birth imperfections as it interferes with the cell division process.
Black Cohosh Black Cohosh is taken to help with acne, osteoporosis, and for PMS symptoms but it is a uterine stimulant! Therefore, unless you are overdue and want to trigger labor, you must avoid this herb! The same applies to blue cohosh.
Comfrey herb Comfrey herb helps treat wounds, but avoid this herb during pregnancy because it may result in liver problems in mother and fetus!
Goldenseal herb Goldenseal herb helps aid digestion and boosts your immune system, however it can cause also cause contractions and thus miscarriage. However, this herb can be used to help induce labor in the late third trimester.
Licorice helps aid digestive issues, but the intake of licorice during pregnancy can increase the high blood pressure. It also possesses some hormonal characteristics which can harm the fetus. Avoid this one!
Mugwort herb Mugwort herb which is used for the treatment of stomachache can lead to birth defects if taken during pregnancy.
Nutmeg is a great sedative. However, if you take a high dosage of nutmeg and its oil during pregnancy, it can result in miscarriage.
Pennyroyal Leaf Pennyroyal Leaf is a great cold remedy and can reduce fevers. However, don’t take this while pregnant because it may result in miscarriage or birth defects.
Barberry is an herbal remedy to treat bladder, urinary and gastrointestinal infections. However, if taken during pregnancy, it can cause bleeding and interferes with the development of the fetus.
Uva Ursi Herb Uva ursi herb can treat bladder and urinary tract infections, however, it also affects blood sugar. If taken during pregnancy, it can increase the risk of gestational diabetes, and it also obstructs the flow of blood to the uterus.
Saw Palmetto Saw palmetto is usually helpful for men because it helps the retention of testosterone levels. However, if a pregnant woman were to take it, it affects the hormonal balance and is therefore harmful.
Shepherd’s Purse Shepherd’s purse helps treat bladder infections, but it may contract the blood capillaries, and act as a uterine stimulant. It, however, may be used to trigger labor when needed.
Laxative Herbs Laxative herbs such as senna, rhubarb, and buckthorn cause uterine constrictions, but can be used to trigger labor if necessary towards the end of the third trimester.
Those herbs listed above must be avoided during pregnancy (unless their purpose is to cause uterine contractions which can be used to stimulate labor but always talk to your midwife or OBGYN before taking any of these first for that purpose!)
However, once you have your baby and you have decided to breastfeed, there are herbs that must be avoided as it can pass through the breastmilk. Therefore can be harmful to the baby, or at the very least create discomfort.
Listed below are the herbs to avoid while breastfeeding your baby:
Cascara Segrada This herb is a popular herbal laxative. However, it may cause cramping, colic, nausea and definite diarrhea in the infant so you will want to avoid it.
Fennel This herb has been used for centuries to help promote lactation and is fairly safe when small amounts are used in food. But don’t drink fennel tea because it can lead to a serious neurological condition in your baby. Especially if the child is younger than three months of age.
Licorice may improve milk production, however, the sugar content is high and can also cause high blood pressure in your baby- and you!
Sage This herb can cause milk to dry up so , therefore, void it if you want to continue to breastfeed.
Now you know what herbs to avoid while pregnant. That being said, chances are that these herbs listed above if injected in trace amounts will likely cause no problems at all. However, it is best to avoid them at all cost if you can! Therefore, be sure to look at the ingredients of certain foods, because they can possibly contain these herbs without you even knowing. Especially if you tend to eat natural and organic snacks. If you are unsure, you can always consult with a nutritionist, or even talk to a homeopathic doctor for advice.
In the meantime, keep yourself in optimal health while you are carrying your little one, and if you choose to breastfeed, continue on eating like you have been during your pregnancy!