Herbal Mixtures in Pregnancy – Are they safe?

Despite the advancements in modern medicine today, herbal mixtures are still very much widely used by a lot of individuals in almost every country for various health conditions. Knowing the safety of the drugs you consume, whether herbal or modern pharmaceuticals, is very important especially if you are pregnant. This is because whatever drugs you take when pregnant can pass through the placenta to your unborn baby and may cause harm of various degrees to your baby.

It is advisable that you inform your doctor about any medications you are currently on once you discover that you are pregnant. More so, before taking any new medication, consult with your doctor about its safety to your pregnancy. Sometimes your doctor may have to ask you to stop a certain medication you are on, or ask you to stay away from other drugs in order to ensure a smooth pregnancy journey for you and your baby.

In this article, we will briefly highlight why herbal mixtures are not safe for you and your baby during pregnancy. We will also list out some of the herbal mixtures you must avoid completely and a few that be somewhat safe for you during pregnancy. But just before we get into the heart of the matter, let’s have a little review of how to detect pregnancy and the journey from pregnancy to childbirth. 

Overview of Pregnancy

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Pregnancy, or gestation, as medically referred, is the period a baby develops in a woman’s womb. A woman can get pregnant either by sexual intercourse or assisted reproductive technology. It typically takes over 40 weeks, equivalent to 9 months for childbirth. As an individual, you can detect pregnancy through missed periods, tender breasts, nausea, vomiting, increased hunger, frequent urinating and a positive homemade pregnancy test. However, you will need to see a doctor to confirm the pregnancy and its health.

There are three stages of pregnancy grouped into three trimesters. The first trimester is the beginning of the 1st week to the 12th week of pregnancy, covering the first 2 and a half months of pregnancy. During this period, a woman’s body undergoes hormonal changes. She can become extremely tired, experience mood swings, weight gain or loss and even constipation.

Second trimester begins from the 13th week to the 28th week of pregnancy, lasting for 3 to 6 months. At this point, your baby organs begin to form. During this phase, the symptoms experienced as morning sickness disappears. However, you may experience heartburns or indigestion, swelling of face, hands or legs.

Finally, the last weeks of fetal growth starts from the 29th week through till childbirth. This represents the third trimester.  In these final weeks covering the 7th till 9th month, the baby completes its full growth of the brain, bones, hair, skin, nails and digestive system. At this point, all that is left is preparation for the coming of your baby.

Complications of Pregnancy

Complications may occur during pregnancy. These are health problems that tend to affect either or both the mother and her baby. Conditions occurring before pregnancy that may lead to complications during pregnancy include:

Other pregnancy related health complications may also include:

All these can be harmful to both mother and child; and can make most expecting mothers become tense or maybe depressed at the time of childbirth. But there’s no need to be anxious about your delivery. Your doctor and mid-wife have got you covered. Just relax and watch out for lightening (descent of the fetus down the pelvis), bloody show, contractions and/or water breaking. These are labor signs indicating that your baby is tired of staying in your belly and wants to come out.

Herbal Mixtures and Pregnancy

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Herbal remedies are plant produce. They come in many forms such as powders, teas, capsules or tablets. They are sometimes called, medicinal herbs, herbal medicines or supplements. Herbal medicines are known to be powerful and work similarly as prescribed medications. This, however, does not mean they are a safe choice especially in pregnancy. Herbs may contain substances that can cause miscarriage, premature birth, uterine contractions or injury to the fetus.

While many say it is safe to take herbal mixture, doctors have some concerns about them. Every doctor wants the best action for their patients and thus advice against herbal mixtures, even when in combination with pharmacological medications. Such mixtures can greatly affect both mother and child health during pregnancy or during delivery.

Most herbal medicines cause blood thinning, and if this happens  prior to caesarean section, it may lead to prolong bleeding, leaving mother and child at risk. So before thinking about taking that herbal preparation or supplement, ensure that you clear things out with your doctor first. Don’t also hide any relevant drug history to your doctor during your antenatal visits. Write down all the drugs you are currently on and let your doctor know about them.   

List of Herbal Mixtures to Avoid During Pregnancy

It is important to talk to your doctor before taking any form of herbal mixture. Some herbs to avoid during pregnancy may include;

S/N NAME EFFECT
1. Goldenseal May cross the placenta
2. Black Cohosh Can stimulate the womb and induce labor
3. Cotton root Can stimulate the womb
4. Jasminum Grandiflorum May cause contractions, miscarriage or induce labor
5. Lady’s Mantle Can stimulate the womb, may cause liver toxicity
6. Aloe vera May cause birth defects and miscarriage, however skin creams and other products containing aloe vera are safe
7. Angelica Archangelica Can cause uterine contractions
8. Arbor Vitae May cause vomiting, asthma, seizures, miscarriage or premature labor
9. Celery seed May cause contractions, miscarriage or premature labor
10. Cinnamon May lead to liver toxicity
11. Clove May cause blood clotting and liver problems
12. Elderberries May cause nausea, vomiting or severe diarrhoea

List of Safe Herbal Mixtures during Pregnancy

Some possibly safe herbs during pregnancy, use with caution;

S/N NAME Benefits
1. Dandelion Rich in Vitamin A, Calcium and Iron, help relieve mild edema and nourishes the liver
2. Ginger root Helps relieve nausea and vomiting
3. Red Raspberry Helps tone the uterus, increase milk production and ease labor pains
4. Peppermint leave Helps relieve morning sickness and flatulence
5. Slippery Elm Bark Helps relieve nausea, heartburns and vaginal irritations
6. Oats & Oat Straw Helps relieve anxiety, restlessness and irritated skin

 

 

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