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Herbs & Pregnancy: Know Which Are Safe & Which Are Dangerous

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With more medications and foods being outed for their dangerous chemicals, it is becoming more common for people to go the natural route with nadh supplements whenever possible. The problem is many people don't understand that just because something is herbal, doesn't mean that it's safe; especially when pregnant or breastfeeding. Here are some common herbal supplements that are safe, and some that are dangerous for pregnant women.

Dangerous During Pregnancy

Many herbal supplements, especially those found in several herbal teas, are uterine stimulants. In fact, some midwives will give them to their patients to assist with labor. These include:

  • Mugwort

  • Lemongrass

  • Sage

  • Rosemary

  • Black & blue cohosh

  • Fenugreek

  • Yarrow

The proper dosage can strengthen contractions and speed up labor safely. However, if taken any other time during pregnancy, the consequences can be dangerous for the baby. First trimester ingestion of uterine stimulants can lead to miscarriage. If used later in the pregnancy, they can cause preterm labor. NOTE: Chamomile is considered dangerous in the first trimester, but can be taken safely during the second and third.

Never ingest these herbs while pregnant unless under the supervision of your care provider.

Some herbal supplements support the male reproductive system. If taken by a pregnant women, the fetus could become androgynous. This means that the baby can be born with both male and female sex organs. These supplements include:

  • American & Korean ginseng

  • Tribulus fruit

  • Maca root

  • Saw palmetto berry

  • Yohimbe bark

Safe During Pregnancy

There are still many herbs that are considered safe during pregnancy. However, you should always consult a doctor or an herbal professional about the herbs and dosages before taking them. These herbs include:

  • Ginger

  • Red raspberry leaf

  • Cranberry

  • Echinacea

  • Chamomile (After the first trimester)

  • Nettle leaves

Ginger is a powerful herb. Only a small amount is needed to do its job. If you have morning sickness, ginger can help ease your stomach. You can cut a small amount of ginger and add it to your food, drink ginger ale, or even juice a small piece into a juiced drink. If you don't like ingesting it any of these ways, you can buy crystallized ginger candies. The natural candy has a sweet taste and will still calm your stomach.

Red raspberry leaf is a great herb to take during the third trimester. It will speed up your labor process and has been proven to reduce interventions and complications. Place some in a reusable tea bag and make some tea. For added flavor, add spearmint leaves and rose hips. Drink a cup or two per day and you will receive its benefits when labor strikes.

Echinacea is full of antioxidants. It reduces your chance of catching a cold, and reduces the length of your colds if you do. If you happen to catch a cold, take your ginger with it, which will reduce your cold symptoms.

Chamomile has many benefits. It's known as the calming herb which can only be helpful during pregnancy. It will reduce your anxiety and help you sleep. On those particularly uncomfortable nights, you'll be more than happy to have it.

Nettle leaves are the center of controversy around this topic. If you do a quick internet search, you will find conflicting information about whether or not nettle leaves are safe to take during pregnancy. Not only are they safe, they're one of the most important supplements that you can take. They are full of vitamins and minerals that nourish both mother and fetus. These include potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamins A, C, D, and K.

Taking herbal supplements during pregnancy can be extremely safe and healthy. However, it can also be disastrous. Just because something is natural, that doesn't mean it is necessarily safe. If you aren't sure about what you are taking, consult your health care provider or a professional in herbal medicine.