The full risks of consuming garlic during pregnancy are not known. However, it is probably a good idea to avoid large amounts of garlic and garlic supplements during pregnancy. While a normal dietary intake is probably not going to cause any problems, garlic may contribute to miscarriages. If you are consuming large amounts of garlic and pregnancy occurs, talk to your healthcare provider.
Garlic and Pregnancy: An Overview
A normal intake of garlic from dietary sources is probably no cause for concern for pregnant women. However, it is not known if unusually large amounts of garlic supplements are also safe for pregnant women.
Is Garlic Safe During Pregnancy?
It has been reported that garlic has properties that can contribute to miscarriages. However, there are no reports of problems due to garlic in pregnant women. It is known that garlic components pass through the placenta into the amniotic fluid, as do many other substances.
One study looked at the effects of garlic supplementation in women who had a high risk for preeclampsia in the third trimester of pregnancy. Although garlic did not seem to lower the risk of preeclampsia, it did not seem to cause any problems either.
Garlic, especially in high doses, can "thin" the blood, possibly increasing the risk of bleeding. This can be dangerous during pregnancy. Because there are no documented benefits of garlic supplementation for pregnant women, and since the full risks are not known, it is probably a good idea to avoid garlic supplements or unusually large amounts of cooked or raw garlic during pregnancy.
Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Garlic and Breastfeeding
If you are pregnant, it is always a good idea to have a discussion with your healthcare provider before taking any medication or supplement, including garlic. If your healthcare provider recommends that you take garlic, make sure not to exceed his or her recommended dose, as high doses can increase the risk of bleeding.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed January 23, 2008.
National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Herbs at a glance: Garlic (March 2007). NCCAM Web site. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/garlic/. Accessed January 23, 2008.
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