Sometimes referred to as Peruvian ginseng, maca is a fertility-enhancing herbal supplement used for centuries in South America. Recently popularized by its aphrodisiac qualities, maca is commonly available in powdered form in capsules as well as products such as teas or chocolate. While the effects of regular maca consumption during pregnancy are largely untested, regular maca intake has been linked with increased levels of fertility in men and women.
Maca's fertility-enhancing properties were first studied in 1961, when researchers linked maca consumption with increased fertility rates among rats, according to the Raintree Nutrition website. Since then, the consumption of dried maca root has become increasingly popular as an immunostimulant, used to alleviate symptoms of anemia, tuberculosis, menstrual disorders, memory problems and sterility. Traditionally grown in Peru, maca has recently grown into a popular international supplement due to its reputation as an energizing aphrodisiac that balances hormones in women and can improve fertility in both genders.
Although Peruvian women have been consuming high quantities of maca for thousands of years, even during pregnancy, many manufacturers advise against taking maca while pregnant. However, the Infertility Clinic London website raises the claim that the high nutritional value and nourishing properties of the maca herb make it a superior food compared to many diet items that are considered safe for women to consume during pregnancy. For best results, talk to your doctor about the possible ramifications and benefits of taking maca during pregnancy.
Maca and Fertility
Maca's effect on fertility is perhaps its most documented health property. According to a study cited by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center website, couples who regularly consume tablets or powder made from maca have increased chances of conception during intercourse. Another study involves nine men who consumed 1,500 to 3,000 mg. of maca each day for four months, after which their seminal volume and sperm count increased. Women who take maca often experience improvements in their progesterone levels prior to pregnancy, potentially reducing the risk of miscarriage and other difficulties during birth.
Like all supplements, maca is not appropriate for everyone and may cause problems for some individuals. Talk to your doctor before adding maca to your diet, and consult your best judgment before taking any herbal supplement during pregnancy.