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Pregnancy is a time of growth and development, making nutrition a priority. But while some supplements may be helpful during pregnancy, many can cause dangerous effects in pregnant women and their babies. While supplementing with safe vitamins and minerals can fill in increased nutritional needs or pre-existing gaps, supplements will not replace a healthy diet and lifestyle. The best way to assure a healthy pregnancy is for you to eat nutrient rich foods, get enough exercise and sleep, and do what you can to reduce Stress.
Vitex angus castus is an herb known as chasteberry, as well as being a Chinese Medicinal herb, Man Jing Zi. Vitex has been shown to support progesterone production, and it is suggested that is can normalize the menstrual cycle, but once you are pregnant, or suspect that you might be, you should immediately stop taking Vitex. Also avoid when breast feeding.
Ashwagandha is an herbal medication in the ayurvedic tradition and has been used for a couple thousand years to treat a long list of medical complaints. It has recently become popular among women seeking pregnancy. But it is strictly prohibited once a woman is pregnant due to the threat of miscarriage, and must not be used during breast feeding.
Vitamin A is important for fetal vision development and immune function, but too much can be toxic, and can cause liver damage and congenital birth defects.Because it is a fat soluble vitamin, excess amounts are not excreted in the urine, but instead accumulate in the fatty tissue. Very small amounts are required, and therefore through prenatal vitamins and a reasonable diet, you will not need supplemental Vitamin A.
Vitamin E plays important roles in the body such as gene expression and immune function, but like Vitamin A very little is required for healthy metabolism. Vitamin E is also a fat soluble vitamin, and supplemental Vitamin E can acumulate in the tissues to increase the risk for abdominal pain and premature rupture of the amniotic sac.
Black Cohosh can cause uterine contractions during pregnancy, causing preterm labor and misarriage. Black Cohosh has also been shown to cause Liver damage in some people.
Goldenseal contains a substance called berberine, which has been shown to worsen jaundice in infants. It can also lead to a condition called kernicterus, a type of brain damage that can be lethal.
Dong Guai is a staple of Traditional Chinese Medical pharmacopoeia, but should be avoided during pregnancy because it can stimulate uterine contractions raising the risk of miscarriage.
Yohimbe Bark should never be used during pregnancy because it has been associated with dangerous side effects like high blood pressure, heart attacks and seizures.
Other Herbal Supplements considered unsafe during pregnancy include: saw palmetto, tansy, red clover, angelica
(DuHuo), yarrow, wormwood (HuangHuaHao, YinChen), blue cohosh (ShengMa-black cohosh), pennyroyal, ephedra (MaHuang), and mugwart (Ai Ye).
Depending on who you ask, most wild seafood is toxic from 100 years of industry using the oceans for dumping their waste chemicals. Mercury which is especially harmful to a developing baby, is likely present in many varieties of wild caught seafood. Two to three servings per week of low mercury fish suck as salmon, pollock or sardines, can be included in the diet to supplement the Omega-3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA as recommended.