Is Inositol Safe While Pregnant?

pregnant woman sitting on floor with her hands on stomach
A pregnant woman holding her stomach. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Inositol is a nutrient naturally found in animal products, such as beef and poultry. Treatment with therapeutic dosages of inositol may be beneficial for people who have depression or anxiety. Inositol may also help reduce symptoms associated with nerve damage caused by diabetes. While inositol is safe during pregnancy when consumed in the small amounts found in food, taking larger, therapeutic doses of this nutrient may not be safe.

Pregnancy-Related Adverse Effects

The use of inositol during pregnancy remains controversial as of 2011. In a December 1998 article published in "Alternative Medicine Review," Lisa Colodny, Pharm.D. and Dr. Ronald L. Hoffman report that inositol may induce uterine contractions. Thus, taking inositol while pregnant has the potential to cause miscarriage, preterm labor or low birth weight. Researchers need to perform additional studies to examine the full effect of inositol in pregnant women. For these reasons, do not use inositol while you are pregnant without permission from your medical provider.

Additional Adverse Effects

Mild side effects that may affect anyone, including pregnant women, include fatigue, dizziness, headache and nausea. Although these adverse effects are usually temporary, seek care from your doctor if they persist or become severe.

Medication Interactions

In addition to pregnancy complications, medication interactions are another reason why inositol is unsafe to use during pregnancy. People taking lithium should discuss the use of inositol with a physician before beginning treatment.

Contraindications

Pregnancy isn't the only health-related reason why people shouldn't take inositol. If you have chronic kidney failure, do not take inositol unless otherwise instructed by a doctor. In addition, people with bipolar disorder shouldn't take inositol without first talking with a doctor. Health professionals with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center warn that inositol may induce manic episodes in people with bipolar disorder.

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