Pregnancy is quite a big spectacle in every woman’s life. It brings a mix of emotions, including ones of happiness, fear, anxiety, and contentment. Every woman’s pregnancy journey is different. Some experience little to no side effects while a few others experience a barrage of uncomfortable symptoms.
A majority of over-the-counter medications and other strong doses aren’t always permissible throughout pregnancy due to their side effects for the baby and the mother. But, what about medicinal herbs like Ashwagandha? Are they safe for consumption?
This article will answer your question on whether or not you can have Ashwagandha while pregnant, its benefits, and its potential side effects too.
In this Article
- 1 Ashwagandha – More on It
- 2 How can Taking Ashwagandha Help during Pregnancy?
- 3 Is Ashwagandha Safe to take during Pregnancy?
- 4 Does Ashwagandha Support Fertility?
- 5 FAQs
- 6 Conclusion
Ashwagandha – More on It
Scientifically known as Withania somnifera, Ashwagandha is an herbal medicinal plant that’s found in India, the Middle East, and Africa. It is quite a popular herb that’s used in Ayurveda, which is a popular form of natural Indian medicine.
Ashwagandha has multiple benefits for the physical and mental health of a person, including:
- It can potentially reduce stress and anxiety
- It can improve energy and eliminate fatigue and tiredness
- It can ease acute or chronic pain
- It can reduce inflammation and inflammatory markers in the body
Ideally, most people consuming ashwagandha are directed to take it at night. This optimizes the benefits of the herb, showing its impacts, especially during the nighttime.
However, the dosage of ashwagandha depends on multiple factors, especially when you are pregnant. A study concluded that taking 250-600 mg of the herb is enough to manage stress and reduce anxiety.
How can Taking Ashwagandha Help during Pregnancy?
Ashwagandha herb has been prevalent in Ayurveda for decades. Although there are several benefits to this herb, there is very little evidence to confirm its positive impacts.
That aside, if you are wondering, “Can I take ashwagandha while pregnant?”, the answer depends on your doctor’s suggestions. In general, the herb is more or less safe. However, you need to understand that every pregnancy is different. So, discussing your options with your doctor is crucial.
Some of the benefits of ashwagandha during pregnancy include:
Studies suggest that taking ashwagandha reduces the cortisol levels in the blood, which typically contributes to stress in the individual. Given that pregnancy in itself is quite a stressful experience, it isn’t surprising that most pregnant women reach for this herb to manage their stress and keep themselves calm throughout the period.
Reduce pain and inflammation
Acute or chronic pain and inflammation are common throughout the pregnancy term. Ashwagandha has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which reduce the pain in the joints and muscles, especially during pregnancy. However, the studies were conducted with a small group of people, so the available evidence is still not conclusive.
Improve sleep quality
Pregnancy is very taxing on the body (both physically and mentally). Not getting enough sleep simply worsens the already existing complications. Studies have found that consuming ashwagandha in small amounts during pregnancy might improve sleep quality and prevent the fatigue and disorientation that many pregnant women complain about.
Besides these benefits, ashwagandha also improves fertility in men and women. Especially in men, studies suggest that consuming ashwagandha in a controlled dosage can improve sperm quality and vitality, thereby helping with a successful conception in most men.
Despite the diverse range of benefits, we urge you to understand that most scientific research are done with a small group of participants. Evidence is quite few when it comes to the usage of ashwagandha during pregnancy. Hence, always discuss the impacts and side effects with your doctor before you start taking them.
Is Ashwagandha Safe to take during Pregnancy?
“Can you have ashwagandha while pregnant?”
Technically, yes. But, then again, it depends on how your body responds or reacts to the herb after consumption.
What we’d recommend you do is familiarize yourself with some of the potential side effects before you start taking it. So, once you are aware of the same, chances are that if you do potentially experience any of the side effects, you can immediately stop and discuss the same with your OBGYN.
Some of the potential side effects are:
The risks and side effects also increase when you are consuming more of the herb than you should. High doses of ashwagandha, especially during pregnancy, can lead to poor health and consequences.
In an isolated study with a few subjects, the researchers found that excess ashwagandha consumption also results in liver toxicity. However, we need more studies on this to confirm the issue in a larger cohort.
The use of ashwagandha during pregnancy is typically not encouraged due to the following reasons:
- Lack of confirmed evidence
- Lack of clarity around standard dosage
- Negative impacts on high-risk pregnancies
You must be thinking, “But, I am not taking too much of this herb?” But, how much of this supplement is too much? Even doctors don’t have standard clarity about the right dosage and whether or not the benefits of this herb actually live up to the claim. So, what we’d recommend you do is discuss your options with your doctor before you get started with it.
Does Ashwagandha Support Fertility?
Now that you know more about “Is ashwagandha bad for pregnancy?”, the typical follow-up question is regarding its impacts on fertility.
Should I take this herb to boost fertility? Again, some studies suggest that consuming ashwagandha has a positive influence on fertility (for both men and women).
However, there aren’t many conclusive studies that confirm these claims. A study from 2018 found that consuming Ashwagandha has a positive influence on regulating the female hormones, supporting follicle growth, and maturation, and reducing the risks of menstrual irregularity, etc.
We aren’t saying that the herb doesn’t have any benefits because smaller cohort studies have proven otherwise. However, we need more clinical studies to confirm its benefits in a larger group of people.
Who Cannot Consume Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha has very little clinical evidence regarding its health benefits. Hence, every person should consult their doctor before consuming it, and make sure to get the right dosage that they should consume. And, this applies to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers too.
Does Ashwagandha Work Immediately?
If you are taking ashwagandha for certain symptoms and complications, you might have to wait for a few weeks before you can witness any positive change.
Is It OK To Take Ashwagandha Every day?
Taking ashwagandha depends on the dosage you are taking. Ideally, you want to discuss your options with your doctor, check for any underlying concerns and be aware of the side effects before you start taking the supplement.
The influence of ashwagandha on pregnancy requires more clinical research. In order to determine its safety for pregnancy, we need to have clarity about the correct dosage and also regarding the side effects. Although it’s a herbal supplement, we’d still recommend that you discuss your options at length with your OBGYN before starting it.