There are many different foods and herbs that you need to avoid during pregnancy because there isn't sufficient evidence to suggest they're safe. While it's not likely that chicory will cause uterine contractions, it's possible. Since there's no evidence to prove its safety, it's best to avoid chicory if you're pregnant.
Chicory is a plant with several medicinal uses, as well as common food uses. The root of the chicory plant, for instance, is sometimes included in coffee as a flavoring agent or as an inexpensive substitute for coffee beans. Chicory root also has historical use as an antiparasitic and a treatment for intestinal ailments. Because it's rich in a type of soluble fiber called inulin, it can also promote digestive health and regularity.
During pregnancy, your uterus houses your developing fetus. While it's completely normal to experience intermittent, painless contractions--these are called Braxton-Hicks contractions--for the most part, your uterus reserves significant contractile activity for the process of labor and delivery. There are some compounds that may stimulate uterine contractions, and you should avoid these during pregnancy because they can pose a risk to your developing baby.
Chicory and Pregnancy
As of publication, there's very little research on chicory use in adults, despite the fact that it's been commonly used throughout recorded history. According to Wellness.com, chicory is suspected to cause uterine contractions, meaning that it's safer to avoid using it at all during pregnancy. This is true regardless of whether you're near the end of your pregnancy; stimulating uterine contractions won't help induce labor, and could stress or damage your baby.
Another reason you should discuss the use of chicory--or any herb--with your obstetrician is that the FDA regulates herbal compounds in a different manner than they do food and pharmaceuticals. This means that manufacturers don't have to prove that their supplement is safe or effective before they can make it available on the market. Due to the lack of research on chicory, it's safest to exercise extreme caution in approaching its use.