Pregnancy herbs refer to natural substitutes or supplements for replacing synthetic agents to produce same pharmacologic effects without interfering with pregnancy progression or affecting maternal health.
Herbal practitioners believe that herbs are often better, cheaper and more curative compared to pharmacologic agents.
However, herbal teas or remedies, for pregnant women, aren’t recommended by many medical professionals, principally because extensive researches haven’t established fool-proof safety of using majority of common herbs during pregnancy.
Although most natural supplements have been replaced by medicine, many people still prefer natural herbal teas and alternative remedies.
Natural herbs or herbal preparations don’t undergo the same analysis, evaluation and regulatory process, unlike prescription drugs.
FDA doesn’t test or approve herbal preparations nor subject them to clinical trials and besides, herbal manufacturers aren’t mandated by law to prove their products’ efficacy, quality and safety. This is the reason for inconsistent variations in composition and quality of most herbal supplements in circulation today.
Quite a number of studies have been conducted to measure the effects of different herbs on pregnant women. Such studies have revealed that there are some herbs with substances that are beneficial during pregnancy but as well, there are toxic substances in herbs that could cause harm or pose health risks to the fetus; contributing to premature birth, uterine contractions and miscarriage.
Although pregnancy herbs or herbal preparations are labeled as “natural”, it doesn’t imply that they are “safe” before, during or after pregnancy.
Some contradictory agents are found in many herbal products and FDA, for instance, discourage pregnant women from using any kind of herbal products without consulting their respective doctors.
A typical revelation is that certain pregnancy herbs do interfere with blood vessel caliber, leading to growth retardation or mental retardation in babies. Herbs also have the tendency to interfere with other substances in medications or drugs in a manner that is unsafe.
Some popular side effects that may result with continued use of non-recommended pregnancy herbs are pre-mature onset of uterine contraction, pre-mature labor or gestational hypertension (seen commonly with ergotamine that is widely taken for migraine during pregnancy).
Following are some popular pregnancy herbs that are considered safe during pregnancy:
Red Raspberry Leaf - It's found to be rich in iron and helps in the toning of uterus, minimizing nausea, stabilizing hormones, increasing milk production and alleviating labor pain. Due to some elements of reservation, use it after the first three months of pregnancy and with caution.
Peppermint Leaf - Alleviates pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, nausea and flatulence or gas pains. It can be consumed in the form of herbal teas as stomach tranquillizer.
Other popular beneficial herbal teas or remedies include:
Following herbs have some associated reservations with their total safety during pregnancy. They are to be used with caution and on advice from a healthcare professional or doctor who is familiar with herbal and alternative medicine.
Below is an in-exhaustive list of herbal teas, which are considered unsafe during pregnancy:
Other herbal teas considered unsafe during pregnancy include yarrow, mistletoe, ephedra, senna, juniper berry and oil, basil oil, chaste berry, mugwort, tansy, penny-royal leaf and oil, cascara sagrada, squaw vine, scotch broom, coltsfoot, feverfew, rue, cotton root bark, buckthorn, et cetera.
Our final words,
Pregnancy herbs that aren’t recommended by your healthcare provider may affect your health at different points during the 9 months pregnancy term instead of benefiting you.
Don’t take homemade herbal teas from your backyard or neighborhood except you’re sure of its safety during pregnancy. Take caution, stick to reliable brands of herbal teas and don’t forget to read labels carefully.
It’s risky to expose yourself or your baby to such herbal remedies that are unknown to be safe during pregnancy. Therefore, avoid pregnancy herbs, herbal teas, supplements or remedies that aren’t approved or prescribed by your physician.