Medically Reviewed

Can You Take Ashwagandha During Pregnancy?

As ashwagandha has become more popular, many pregnant people are wondering if this herb is safe during this special time. Let’s look at what the research says.

Pregnancy is an exciting and sometimes challenging time for many expecting parents. As the body undergoes significant changes, it can be difficult to know what nutrients are important to maintaining good health during this period.

One popular supplement that has been gaining traction in recent years is ashwagandha, an herbal remedy used to support a variety of issues, including stress, situational tension, and occasional fatigue. But is ashwagandha safe during pregnancy? In this article, we will explore whether ashwagandha is safe before, during, and after pregnancy, as well as any potential side effects.

What Is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is an ancient Ayurvedic herb that has been used for centuries to help the body cope with stress. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which is a natural and effective substance that assists the body in managing levels of cortisol. Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone” because of its role in helping the body respond to stressful situations. It plays a part in regulating mood, metabolism, and immune function. When circulating levels of cortisol are too high, many bodily systems may be compromised, including fertility.

Health Benefits Of Ashwagandha

Recent scientific research has uncovered numerous potential health benefits from ashwagandha. Studies show that it can help manage occasional stress, reduce food cravings, support restful sleep, and improve sexual wellness. Additionally, ashwagandha is being used among athletes for its ability to increase muscle strength and improve cardiorespiratory health and endurance.

Additionally, ashwagandha can be used to naturally enhance fertility and sexual function in men and women alike. Research has found that this natural herb can improve reproductive health by balancing hormones in the body.

Recent studies have shown that ashwagandha can increase luteinizing hormone (LH) levels in women and testosterone levels in men. LH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, which plays an integral role in stimulating egg production during ovulation. For men, increased testosterone plays a key role in improving sperm quality and overall fertility.

Can You Take Ashwagandha During Pregnancy?

Pregnant people often explore all kinds of natural remedies in order to support their health during this special time. Ashwagandha is one such remedy that many have been turning to for its potential benefits, but can you take ashwagandha while pregnant?

There is insufficient research on using ashwagandha while pregnant, so caution should be exercised. It is a powerful herb, and its effects on a developing fetus are not yet known. One theory as to why ashwagandha is not recommended during pregnancy is due to its cortisol-lowering effects. During pregnancy, cortisol levels naturally increase in the body because cortisol promotes healthy fetal growth and development. Thus, although ashwagandha may help pregnant people manage stress, its effects could put the developing fetus at risk.

Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take ashwagandha due to insufficient research data. Always consult with your doctor before considering ashwagandha or any other supplements.

Can you take Ashwagandha before pregnancy?

Pregnancy is a special time and the right nutrition can help ensure a healthy pregnancy as well as a healthy baby. It is okay to take ashwagandha as an adaptogen if you are preparing to optimize your body and stress levels. Researchers are finding that this herb may contribute to improved fertility in both men and women. However if you are actively trying to conceive, pregnant, or breastfeeding, you should avoid taking ashwagandha. Instead, an alternative that can be used to support healthy stress levels could be lifestyle modifications such as meditation and exercise. If you and your partner are trying to manage stress levels and sexual wellness, there are many options that can help! Let’s look into some of the science behind this.

By managing their cortisol levels, both men and women can expect to see improvements in their sexual wellness. For instance, this study suggests that ashwagandha can help with oxidative stress and promote sperm health by boosting testosterone and LH levels. Additionally, a pilot study conducted over 12 weeks reported a boost in sperm quality with ashwagandha supplementation. Lastly, another study showed that infertile men improved their levels of reproductive hormones by taking 5g of ashwagandha per day for three months.

If you are considering pregnancy, the utmost important supplement that should be taken is a prenatal vitamin to help fill any nutrient gaps in the diet. However, all supplements should be discussed with your physician.

Can you take Ashwagandha postpartum?

Ashawagandha’s adaptogenic properties may be particularly helpful for new parents as it can help manage occasional fatigue, improve sleep patterns, regulate hormones, and boost energy levels.

The postpartum time can often be a difficult time for new parents. The American Psychiatric Association estimates that 70% of all new mothers may suffer from some form of postpartum challenges. This study shows a correlation between lower levels of postpartum stress and those with social support especially from family members. There may be some truth behind the popular saying that it takes a village to raise a child. In addition, there may be some potential for additional support in the form of ashwagandha as an adaptogen when not breastfeeding or lactating. Studies have shown that it helps reduce occasional stress and physical exhaustion – all common experiences after childbirth. It also helps support the adrenal system, which can be impacted by the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and childbirth.

However, if you are breastfeeding, it is important to talk to your doctor about the best supplements.

Potential Side Effects

Most people who take ashwagandha do not experience any adverse effects; however, some may experience mild digestive discomfort. It is always important to stick to recommended doses to avoid any unwanted side effects. We recommend starting with 600mg per day, as this dosage has been shown to provide significant health benefits without any serious side effects. It is important to note, however, that studies have found dosages ranging from 150mg - 1000mg can be safely taken and provide similar therapeutic effects.

The Bottom Line

The research on ashwagandha and pregnancy is still very limited. While it may be beneficial to take ashwagandha to manage stress levels and sexual wellness due to its potential fertility-enhancing effects, there is not yet enough evidence to suggest that it is safe during pregnancy. However, taking ashwagandha after pregnancy can potentially help with mood and energy levels, which are essential for the postpartum period. Ashwagandha is not recommended for those actively trying to conceive, pregnant, breast feeding, or lactating. Ashwagandha is considered safe in recommended dosages, and side effects,if any, are mild. Ultimately, you should always consult your physician before making any decisions about adding supplements to your diet during any stage of pregnancy.

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