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You are here : home > Pregnancy > Complications during Pregnancy > Are Alternative Remedies Safe during Pregnancy?

Are Alternative Remedies Safe during Pregnancy?


It is necessary to be cautious and consult an obstetrician before using any alternative remedies during pregnancy. Some alternative remedies may cause harm during pregnancy. Let us take a look at the risks associated with using alternative remedies during pregnancy.


Medicines have serious effects on your developing baby, so it is best to avoid non-essential medicines as much as you can during these 9 months. It is better to opt for alternatives like natural remedies to ward off your problems associated with pregnancy, such as constipation, nausea, vomiting, heartburn, tiredness, etc. But are alternative remedies safe? There are many alternative therapies, which are deemed unsafe during pregnancy. Therefore, to be safe it is necessary to consult your obstetrician before you take anything during pregnancy.


Commonly Used Alternative Remedies during Pregnancy

Red raspberry leaves are rich in iron and are known for increased milk production, reduced nausea, toning the uterus, and easing labour pains. Peppermint leaves are helpful in relieving morning sickness. Ginger root tea combats nausea and vomiting. Slippery elm bark used in foods help relieving heartburn, nausea, and vaginal irritations. Oats are rich in calcium and magnesium, and help in relieving restlessness, anxiety, and irritated skin. But these remedies should not be used without consulting your obstetrician.


What Are the Risks?

Alternative remedies are natural – but are not always safe to take during pregnancy. Even if you consult a trained and experienced herbalist, you should consult your obstetrician if alternative remedies are suitable for you. There are many natural products that may contain components, which are contraindicated in pregnancy. They may contain agents that may cause premature birth, birth defects, malformations, miscarriage, abnormal developments, uterine contractions, or other injuries to the foetus. Risks are not yet studied properly yet; studies have been done to measure the effects of various natural products on pregnant women or a developing foetus.


You Should be Cautious during Pregnancy

You have to be cautious before you take few alternative remedies, which are safe if only taken in moderation and only when your obstetrician approves them. Excessive use of chamomile may stimulate your nervous system causing sleeplessness apart from its allergic reactions. If consumed in large amounts, chili may cause diarrhoea. Echinacea may be a heart stimulant, but can cause nausea, vomiting, heartburn, allergic reactions. Eucalyptus can be taken as diluted essential oil to relieve sinuses, but only for short periods. Senna leaves can cause liver toxicity, causing diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and cramps.


Remedies that Should be Avoided

There are alternative remedies which you should avoid in pregnancy but can use in labour in the supervision of a specialist as well as your obstetrician. Cotton root and false unicorn root can stimulate the uterus in labour. Jasmine and squaw vine can cause miscarriage, contractions, or preterm labour if used in pregnancy, but maybe used in labour under the supervision of an obstetrician and a specialist. Lady's mantle acts as a uterine stimulant, but if taken in large doses, it may cause liver toxicity. Any remedies as mentioned above which are taken without supervision of an obstetrician and a specialist can cause serious complications during pregnancy.


What You Should Avoid During Pregnancy and Labour?

There are many alternative remedies, which are hormonal and uterine stimulants that may cause preterm delivery, contractions, or miscarriage, e.g. barberry, beth root, caraway, fennel, fenugreek, celery seed, blue cohosh, black cohosh, clary sage, myrrh, oregano, feverfew, golden ragwort, mother wort, mugwort, golden seal, licorice, pokeroot, nutmeg, lovage, passion flower, mistletoe and parsley. Alder buckthorn, blood root, devil’s claw, Peruvian bark, rhubarb, arbor vitae etc. can cause nausea, diarrhoea, and vomiting. Aloe Vera, cinnamon, comfrey, gotu kola, greater celandine, pennyroyal, sassafras, etc. are linked to liver toxicity. Thyme, verbena, aniseed, etc. have allergic reactions. Ginseng may cause developmental abnormalities in your baby.

Never be in doubt about any supplement, medication, or therapy. Ask your obstetrician if you have any question about the safety of an alternative remedy before using it. Unlike prescription drugs, alternative remedies do not go through FDA-approved scrutiny and evaluation process.  So it is risky to take them as they are not usually tested on pregnant women. The best way is to consult your obstetrician.


What kind of alternative remedies are unsafe during pregnancy? Why is it important to always consult an obstetrician before using any alternative remedy? What kinds of risks are linked with the use of alternative remedies during pregnancy? Discuss here.

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