Infusions and Natural Supplements from Plants during Pregnancy: Are Inocuos?

Who has not heard the recommendation of any infusion take during pregnancy to alleviate heartburn, rest better, for circulation … ECEMC (Spanish collaborative study of congenital malformations) has prepared an information document on the use of herbal teas and natural supplements from plants during pregnancy.

The document emphasizes that does not speak of the complementary and alternative medicine (acupuncture, chiropractic, massage or homeopathy) but to medicinal herbs and traditional natural products that many women consume during pregnancy, among other reasons for fear that the medicine affect the fetus.

Infusions are widely consumed during pregnancy in countries like United States, Australia and Spain, and that seems to worry the professionals, because can not be trusted fully in that they are harmless.

The first thing to remember is that a vast majority of the active ingredients that contain drugs are extracted from plants. Therefore, the use of some of the Teas and other natural products that are offered for different health problems, is based on the knowledge of the effect that these active ingredients in drugs.

Considerations about the natural remedies during pregnancy

However, these so-called “natural remedies” have also some problems, which become more important during pregnancy:

  • To consume the herbs in infusions (or other forms of presentation such as capsules, tablets …), It is difficult to calculate the dosage of each active ingredient-containing. It is true that, in General, the dose in an infusion should not be high. But that dose will not always be the same: will depend on the source plant, the moment in which they collect, the concentration that is preparing the infusion, and the number of times that will be swallowed this infusion a day.
  • The quality and concentration of an herbal supplement may vary between two lots of the same product and between products of different manufacturers.
  • Most of the substances that are extracted from plants and are the active ingredients of drugs can be poisons to certain doses. Therefore, to be part of a drug, they have had to go through a series of processes that determine their characteristics and their effects. They then pass through experimental studies and clinical trials, to determine dosages that have therapeutic effect and are safe. It is not easy, and would be very costly, a few similar studies on safety and the potential effects of the products “natural & #8221;.
  • Some preparations of medicinal plants (especially from other continents) may contain toxic heavy metals or added and undeclared drugs.
  • If you are taking any drug, You should consult your doctor about a possible interaction. Even when taken form and in adequate doses, herbs can interact with some medications. An interaction that can be translated in reduce the therapeutic efficacy of these drugs, enhance adverse effects or promoting its toxicity if certain doses are exceeded.

Advice on the consumption of herbs during pregnancy

Starting with tea, coffee and mate, that should be used taking into account that the maximum dose of caffeine should not exceed 100 mg/day (including in the calculation other caffeine-containing beverages), among the most commonly used herbs are also those applied for depression, anxiety and sleep disorders.

  • For Linden, Pennyroyal Mint and Valerian recommended moderate use, as they may have adverse effects in combination with other medications, hepatoxicidad & #8230;
  • Echinacea or grass of San Juan (St. John’s wort) are not recommended because they may have adverse effects such as allergies, liver problems, interaction with other drugs & #8230;
  • The chamomile seems to have no risks, Although possible effects identifies possible exacerbation of asthma, among other.
  • Anise is accepted in very low doses and a sporadic use. You can have adverse effects in patients with epilepsy and produce estrogenic activity.

Remember that the ECEMC investigates the causes by which produced defects and congenital malformations observed in newborn infants.

The document with the information on the consumption of herbal teas and natural supplements during pregnancy It has been developed by Department of Pharmacology of the Faculty of Medicine of the University Complutense Madrid. We hope to serve for infusions and “ natural remedies ” not be taken lightly.