While herbalists believe that herbs are often cheaper, healthier and better compared with conventional medicines, medical practitioners do not recommend herbs for pregnant women because of the unknown risks.
Risks of using natural herbs during pregnancy:
You are advised to consult an experienced and trained herbalist if you want to take herbs during pregnancy because some of the herbal products contain toxic agents that are contraindicated during pregnancy.
In addition, the FDA suggests that pregnant women should not take any herbal products without talking to their doctor or midwife.
While tests on the effects of herbs on pregnant women are ongoing, herbal products consist of components that can lead to miscarriage signs, uterine contractions, and injury to your fetus or premature birth.
Herbs to avoid during pregnancy:
- Black cohosh: Used orally when you are not at term.
- Blue cohosh: A uterine stimulant which can induce labor.
- Dong quai: A uterine stimulant which has a relaxant effect.
- Ephedra: Harmful when used orally.
- Goldendeal: Can cross the placenta and is dangerous to your baby.
- Pennyroyal: Harmful when used orally or topically.
- Passion flower: Harmful when used orally.
- Pay D’ Arco: Contra-indicated for pregnant women, it is harmful when used orally and in large doses.
- Saw palmetto: Has an adverse hormonal effect.
- Yohimbe: Harmful when used orally.
Herbs that can be used in pregnancy:
Ginger root: Helps in relieving nausea and vomiting.
Oats and oat straw: Has wonderful magnesium and calcium contents and helps in relieving anxiety, irritated skin and restlessness.
Peppermint leaf: Helps relieve morning sickness [morning sickness remedies] nausea and flatulence.
Red raspberry leaf: Has high contents of iron; helps in toning the uterus, increasing the production of milk, relieving labor pains, and decreasing nausea. It can also reduce complications and the usage of interventions at the time of birth.
Because there is controversy about whether this herb can be used throughout the pregnancy period or just in the second and third trimester, most practitioners recommend this herb only be used after the first trimester.
Consult your practitioner about the use of any natural supplements during pregnancy.