Everybody knows there are foods you should avoid while pregnant, but did you know there are specific herbs to avoid while pregnant?
But, why are so many herbs off limits during pregnancy? Well, simply put, it’s the “better safe than sorry” theory.
Herbs that are known or suspected to be strong purgatives or emmenagogues (substances that induce menstruation) may induce miscarriage or premature labor.
Other herbs are known or suspected to affect the development of the baby. Relax, and know that there are plenty of alternatives that have been proven to be safe for pregnant women and their babies.
Herbs to Avoid During Pregnancy For the Safety of Both Mom and Baby
The following herbs are proven or suspected to have a stimulating effect on the body that could induce miscarriage or premature labor:
- Aloe Vera
- Arbor Vitae
- Cotton Root
- Devil’s Claw
- Greater Celandine
- Pennyroyal (both American and European)
Related: What to Do in the First Trimester
Are There Any Herbs That Help During Labor?
Some herbs are useful during labor because they can bring on and encourage uterine contractions.
For this reason, they should be avoided until labor.
Please note, your midwife or naturopathic doctor can give you guidance on their safe use.
- Basil Oil
- Beth Root
- Black and Blue Cohosh
- Clove Oil
- Juniper and Juniper Oil
- Lady’s Mantle
- Shepherd’s Purse
- Wild Yam
Helpful Herbs for Postpartum Healing
Other herbs can be useful after birth but should be avoided during pregnancy.
- Broom. This stimulates uterine contractions and can be used to help prevent too much postnatal blood loss. This can help shrink the uterus after birth and help healing faster.
- Don Quai. This helps encourage contractions and menstruation which will also help in shrinking the uterus back down to normal size postpartum.
We highly suggest checking out these super helpful postpartum supplies for comfort, ease and quickness of healing.
Herbs That May Interfere With Baby Development
These herbs are known or suspected to interfere with the body’s function as it does the important work of building your baby cell by cell, so AVOID these during pregnancy or when you suspect pregnancy.
- Bugleweed– This affects pituitary glad function and can cause changes in various hormone levels.
- Comfrey– This can cross mother’s palcenta and start to interfere with and harm your baby.
- False Unicorn Root– this interferes with hormone function.
- Liferoot– this is TOXIC to your baby.
- Misteltoe– This is TOXIC to your baby.
Herbs That May Cause Birth Defects:
The following herbs are suspected of causing birth defects:
- Autumn Crocus
Herbs That Are Safe To Cook With But Should Be Avoided In Medicinal Doses:
Some herbs are perfectly safe to use for culinary purposes but should be avoided in high, medicinal doses:
- Bitter Orange
- Celery Seed
Another common question pregnant mom’s want to know the answer to is, is cheese safe while pregnant?
Safe Herbs During Pregnancy
Yes, the list of herbs to avoid is a mile long. The good news is that herbs can be used safely to promote well-being during pregnancy too.
For example, Ginger Root. Ginger root is great at easing nausea.
Nettle Leaves (Urtica Dioca). Particularly high in Vitamins A, C, D, and K, calcium, potassium, iron, sulfur, and chlorophyll. Beneficial to the kidneys, which cleanse 1.5 times a woman’s normal (non-pregnant) blood supply for most of the pregnancy.
They’re also great at helping to relieve hemorrhoids, eases labor and post-birth pain, prevents post-birth hemorrhage, relieves leg cramps, promotes rich and abundant breastmilk.
Oats and Oat Straw. This is usuallly taken for skin conditions and anxiety. It’s also a good source of magnesium and calcium.
Peppermint Leaf. This is safe in low doses as a remedy for nausea and flatulence. But be sure to avoid peppermint oil, opting for the dry leaf.
Red Raspberry Leaf. This is a common one you hear about. It’s very beneficial, but some practitioners recommend its use during the second and third trimesters only.
It helps my toning the uterus, provides an excellent source of iron, soothes nausea, decreases labor pain, and reduces the incidence of interventions and complications during birth.
Slippery Elm Bark. The inner bark is taken in moderate amounts to address vaginal discomfort, heartburn, and nausea.
Herbs can bring amazing benefits to pregnant women. As long as you avoid potentially harmful herbs, you can nourish your body and baby safely with the very best nature has to offer.