Herbal Products During Pregnancy Essay

Herbal products are not medications and are not used for treating, diagnosing, or preventing diseases. Herbs used in moderate amounts in cooked foods do not cause any harm. However, herbal products have huge amounts of active elements which need extra care for pregnant and breastfeeding women. In addition, most herbal products do not undergo FDA safety checking since they are sold in local stores or online. Hence, only a few are scientifically proven, as mentioned in the product label.

The use of herbal products during pregnancy is not evaluated, and pregnant women usually do not mention that they use herbal products to doctors. Medicines produced from herbs and plants are classified under complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). CAM also includes other therapies like acupuncture, homeopathy, and aromatherapy. Herbal medicines are traditional practices, used to treat minor, short-term symptoms and provide healthy well-being. Few examples include Cestrum latifolium and Euphorbia hirta. However, herbal products are from natural sources are not considered safe during pregnancies.

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the effectiveness and safety of herbal products in the United States. There are no standards for ingredients in herbal products. People believe the product claims as they work effectively than medication, are completely safe, natural, have no side effects. However these beliefs are not usually right, and people should be aware of the side effects associated with herbal products.

Concentrations of active elements in herbal products depend on the growth, harvesting, and plant conditions. In addition, the method used to prepare herbal supplements also affects the active element levels.

Contaminants like lead, mercury, pesticides, chemicals, and microorganisms may be present in herbal products. In addition, liquid products can have alcohol in them, which pregnant women must avoid.

Many herbal products cause harmful side effects and can alter the functions of prescribed medications. Hence, patients must consult the physician before using any herbal products.

Some herbal products can change hormone functions and levels responsible for the pregnancy, while other products claim to increase the chances of pregnancy, but they are not proven.

Most herbal supplements have not undergone clinical traits on pregnant women, and hence, women trying to get pregnant must talk to healthcare providers.

Some herbal products have ingredients that can cause miscarriages due to hormone imbalance or uterine contractions.

Common Herbal Medicines taken during Pregnancy
Fenugreek is traditionally used to increase breast milk production, but only a few results prove its effectiveness. The safe dose of fenugreek is one to six grams per day during breastfeeding for a short period. Sometimes, the baby can have side effects like diarrhea, rashes, or smelly urine. Immediate medical intervention is essential in these cases.


Echinacea is used for treating cold and respiratory tract infections. The use of Echinacea for a short period does not cause any harm during pregnancy. However, physicians recommend conventional medications. There is no sufficient information available on the safety of Echinacea use during breastfeeding.

Olive leaf extract treats viral or bacterial infections like influenza. Pregnant women must avoid using high amounts of olive leaf extracts.

Garlic prevents and treats common cold and respiratory tract infections. Dietary consumption of garlic is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women. However, a high intake can cause immature birth or increase bleeding when used with anticoagulants. In addition, it can change the taste of breast milk.

Aloe vera consumption treats asthma, skin dryness, and constipation. Topical application of aloe vera treats acne and heals the wound. Pregnant women can apply aloe vera on the skin, but intake of aloe vera can cause uterine contractions. In addition, consuming it by breastfeeding women can cause diarrhea or vomiting in babies.

Cranberries prevent and control urinary tract infections. However, studies suggest that it is ineffective in reducing UTIs. In addition, the lower consumption of cranberries does not affect pregnancy and breastfeeding. Nevertheless, consuming large quantities of cranberries can cause GI disturbance.

Ginger can manage nausea and vomiting that occurs in pregnancy. Using ginger at a dose of 1,000 mg per day for a few days is safe for pregnant women. However, consuming a high quantity of ginger can cause heartburn, GI disturbance, and blood thinning. In addition, women who had miscarriages or antepartum hemorrhage should not consume large quantities of ginger. Ginger consumed through food is safe in pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Peppermint oil can treat irritable bowel syndrome and stimulates menstrual flow. However, large amounts of peppermint oil can cause miscarriage, while topical or oral use is safe during pregnancy.


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