Cloves are a fairly common spice often used in baked goods and desserts. While you're smart to use caution when building your pregnancy diet, cloves in spice form are safe during pregnancy, according to MedlinePlus. Clove oil and clove supplements aren't, however. Always ask your obstetrician before adding anything to your pregnancy diet, including things that might seem safe or innocent.
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They're Usually Safe
In spice form, cloves are safe to use while you're pregnant. You can safely sprinkle cloves into a recipe or certain foods such as oatmeal or applesauce. According to MedlinePlus, cloves are safe, as long as they're used in food form and in doses appropriate for eating. While there isn't a specific use of cloves in relation to pregnancy, it's often used for toothaches, cough and the common cold, Drugs.com notes. Don't use cloves for these purposes during pregnancy, however, because it often takes more than the small amount you would use to flavor your food.
You Get All This
When you sprinkle cloves on your food or use it in a recipe, you'll get small amounts of certain nutrients that are essential for a healthy pregnancy. A teaspoon of cloves supplies a small dose of iron, which is crucial for the formation of blood and can reduce the risk of low birth weight and premature delivery, the American Pregnancy Association notes. That same teaspoon of cloves delivers small amounts of vitamin E for proper muscle formation and calcium for the formation of bones and teeth.
Creativity With Cloves
Cloves are a bold spice that will add a burst of flavor to foods, and you can safely incorporate them into a variety of the foods you've included in your pregnancy diet. Sprinkle ground cloves into homemade muffins and bread. Add a unique flavor to beef stew or chicken noodle soup by adding a small amount of cloves. Put a small shake of ground cloves into your favorite hot tea, hot cocoa or coffee to enhance the taste. Include cloves in marinades for grilled meat and vegetables, too.
Back Away Slowly
While small amounts of cloves in food form are perfectly safe, clove supplements and clove oil are not. Though technically not food, you do ingest them, which can cause potential harm to your unborn baby. Clove oil shouldn't be used on the skin, either. According to Pregnancy.org, you shouldn't use clove oil during pregnancy because it's a uterine stimulant, which means that it can cause your uterus to contract before it's time for your baby to be born. Dr. Michael C. Lu, author of "Get Ready to Get Pregnant," reports that clove oil can cause cell death. This can interfere with the normal development of your baby. Always ask your obstetrician before using clove supplements for medicinal purposes, because they aren't regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and usually exceed the amount you would use in a recipe.