Herbal remedies like ginger root can seem like a good idea for expecting moms who don’t want to put unnecessary chemicals into their bodies. But just like drugs, herbal treatments contain chemicals that can negatively affect you and your developing baby. If you’re considering taking ginger root during pregnancy, know the benefits and risks, and talk with your health care provider to make an informed choice.
Ginger’s active ingredients include volatile oils that have a soothing effect on the stomach and digestive system, explains MedLine Plus, the online health information resource maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. These volatile oils may also affect your brain and nervous system to help reduce feelings of nausea.
Ginger root can help relieve the nausea and vomiting caused by morning sickness for some pregnant women, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Morning sickness affects many expecting moms during the first trimester of pregnancy, and while it’s rarely severe enough to cause serious problems, morning sickness can be very unpleasant.
Herbal remedies don’t require the same Food and Drug Administration approval process as do medications, so there’s often limited research into their benefits and risks. It’s not clear exactly how ginger affects developing babies, but its use may affect fetal sex hormones and one woman who used ginger for morning sickness miscarried, according to MedLine Plus. More research is needed to determine how ginger affects pregnancy, so talk with your health care provider about the potential risks of using ginger root during pregnancy.
To make ginger tea, steep a few tablespoons of fresh shredded ginger root in hot water for three to five minutes. If you prefer — and your doctor gives you the go-ahead — you can take ginger in capsule form to soothe morning sickness, but limit your intake to four doses of 250 mg each per day, recommends MedLine Plus.
Always check with your health care provider before taking any herbal supplements during pregnancy to make sure the supplement is safe for your particular pregnancy. People who have heart conditions or bleeding disorders should avoid using ginger because it may negatively affect these conditions. If you have diabetes or gestational diabetes, be careful using ginger because it has the potential to cause drops in blood sugar levels.