Alternative Therapies to Avoid During Pregnancy

These alternative therapies have the potential to harm your developing baby when you use them in a concentrated formulation (not as a spice in cooking). Some may cause birth defects and encourage early labor.

Have any doubt about the safety of an alternative therapy? Contact your doctor before using it.

Avoid these oral supplements:

  • Arbor vitae
  • Beth root
  • Black cohosh
  • Blue cohosh
  • Cascara
  • Chaste tree berry
  • Chinese angelica (dong quai)
  • Cinchona
  • Cotton root bark
  • Feverfew
  • Ginseng
  • Golden seal
  • Juniper
  • Kava kava
  • Licorice
  • Meadow saffron
  • Pennyroyal
  • Poke root
  • Rue
  • Sage
  • St. John's wort
  • Senna
  • Slippery root
  • Tansy
  • White peony
  • Wormwood
  • Yarrow
  • Yellow dock
  • Vitamin A (large doses can cause birth defects)

Avoid these aromatherapy essential oils:

  • Calamus
  • Mugwort
  • Pennyroyal
  • Sage
  • Wintergreen
  • Basil
  • Hyssop
  • Myrrh
  • Marjoram
  • Thyme

Check with your doctor before trying any alternative therapy during your pregnancy. Be especially cautious in the first trimester, a crucial time for your baby's development.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD on June 25, 2018

Sources

SOURCES:

CDC: "Medications and Pregnancy."

Womenshealth.gov: Pregnancy and medicines fact sheet.

American Family Physician: "Over-the-Counter Medications in Pregnancy."

Cleveland Clinic: "Medication Guidelines During Pregnancy."

RxList web site.

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