Pregnancy Wellness: To Herb or not to Herb, That is the Question!

The use of herbs and supplements during pregnancy is a constant question that needs to considered.

Most of our medicines today are derived from herbs, but are made synthetically based on the most active phytochemical ingredient found in the “natural medicine” (Dr. Bielory Source). There are many who still look to natural herbs and vitamins to wellness for special populations such as pregnant women.  Although herbalists believe that herbs are healthier than their medical counterparts, many  medical professionals do not recommend herbal remedies for pregnant women since safety has not been established due to lack of adequate scientific studies.  Unlike  (American Pregnancy Association Source ) prescription based medications, natural herbs and vitamin supplements used for “wellness” do not go through the same scrutiny and evaluation process by the FDA.  Under DHSEA (FDA Source), the quality and strength of an herbal supplement  are not regulated like medications. A single herbal can vary between two batches and from different manufacturers. Consumers have little way of knowing if a product will do what the label claims and how safe the product may be. Reliable information about the product may be hard to find, which makes researching these products’ effectiveness more challenging (Source). Although herbs are natural, not all herbs are safe to take during pregnancy.  It is strongly advised that pregnant women not to take any herbal products without talking to their health-care provider first. Pregnant women are urged to consult a health provider knowledgable in herbs  and a experienced herbalist. Some herbal products may contain agents that are contraindicated in pregnancy such as causing uterine contraction leading to miscarriages or premature birth, or impact on fetal development. The following herbs are considered Likely Unsafe or Unsafe during pregnancy.  (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19203652/)

  • Saw Palmetto – when used orally, has hormonal activity
  • Goldenseal – when used orally, may cross the placenta
  • Dong Quai – when used orally, due to uterine stimulant and relaxant effects
  • Ephedra – when used orally
  • Yohimbe – when used orally
  • Pay D’ Arco – when used orally in large doses; contraindicated
  • Passion Flower – when used orally
  • Black Cohosh – when used orally in pregnant women who are not at term
  • Blue Cohosh – when used orally; uterine stimulant and can induce labor
  • Roman Chamomile – when used orally in medicinal amounts
  • Pennyroyal – when used orally or topically

There are many herbs and essential oils that are safe ! See Blog Herbs and GRAS ( Generally Regarded As Safe) 

 Dr. Bielory’s Remedies Sinousal Anti-Viral Cold Remedy