While supplementing with some micronutrients and herbs is safe for pregnant women, many of them should be avoided, or avoided in high amounts. Supplements to avoid during pregnancy
Always check with your doctor before adding any additional supplements outside of any prenatal vitamins you may be taking.
1. Vitamin A
You’ll often find vitamin A in your prenatal vitamins since it’s so important. Although this vitamin is extremely important for fetal vision development and immune function, too much vitamin A can be harmful. Supplements to avoid during pregnancy
Given that vitamin A is fat soluble, your body stores excess amounts in the liver.
This accumulation can have toxic effects on the body and lead to liver damage. It can even cause birth defects.
For example, excessive amounts of vitamin A during pregnancy has been shown to cause congenital birth abnormalities.
Between prenatal vitamins and foods, you should be able to get enough vitamin A, and additional supplementation outside of your prenatal vitamins is not advised.
2. Vitamin E
This fat-soluble vitamin plays many important roles in the body and is involved in gene expression and immune function.
While vitamin E is very important for health, it’s recommended that you don’t supplement with it.
Extra supplementation with vitamin E has not been shown to improve outcomes for either mothers or babies and may instead increase the risk of abdominal pain and premature rupture of the amniotic sack. Supplements to avoid during pregnancy
3. Black cohosh
A member of the buttercup family, black cohosh is a plant used for a variety of purposes, including controlling hot flashes and menstrual cramps.
It’s unsafe to take this herb during pregnancy, as it can cause uterine contractions, which could induce preterm labor.
Black cohosh has also been found to cause liver damage in some people.
Goldenseal is a plant that’s used as a dietary supplement to treat respiratory infections and diarrhea, although there’s very little research on its effects and safety.
Goldenseal contains a substance called berberine, which has been shown to worsen jaundice in infants. It can lead to a condition called kernicterus, a rare type of brain damage that can be fatal.
For these reasons, definitely avoid goldenseal.
5. Dong quai
Dong quai is a root that has been used for over 1,000 years and is popular in traditional Chinese medicine.
Though it’s used to treat everything from menstrual cramps to high blood pressure, evidence regarding its efficacy and safety is lacking.
You should avoid dong quai, as it may stimulate uterine contractions, raising the risk of miscarriage.
Yohimbe is a supplement made from the bark of a tree native to Africa.
It’s used as an herbal remedy to treat a range of conditions from erectile dysfunction to obesity.
This herb should never be used during pregnancy, as it has been associated with dangerous side effects like high blood pressure, heart attacks, and seizures.
7. Other herbal supplements considered unsafe during pregnancy
It’s best to avoid the following:
- saw palmetto
- red clover
- blue cohosh
Pregnancy is a time of growth and development, making health and nutrition a top priority. Taking the best care of that little one is the goal.
While some supplements can be helpful during pregnancy, many can cause dangerous side effects in both you and your baby.
Importantly, while supplementing with certain vitamins and minerals may help fill nutritional gaps, supplements are not meant to replace a healthy eating plan and lifestyle.
Nourishing your body with nutrient-dense foods, as well as getting enough exercise and sleep and minimizing stress, is the best way to ensure a healthy pregnancy for you and your baby.
Although supplements can be necessary and helpful in certain circumstances, always check with your doctor regarding doses, safety, and potential risks and benefits.