Many pregnant women question the safety and efficacy of taking herbal supplements during pregnancy. Cinnamon bark and cinnamon oil have been used for seasoning and medicinal purposes for centuries. Although cinnamon as a kitchen spice is considered safe during pregnancy, the concentrated amounts of cinnamon found in dietary supplements may have harmful side effects. Consult your obstetrician or midwife before taking cinnamon tablets or other herbal supplements during pregnancy.
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According to a 2002 review published in "BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetric and Gynaecology," cinnamon is classified as an emmenagogue herb. In excessive amounts, this type of herb encourages menstruation and may cause spontaneous abortion. Although using cinnamon as a spice when cooking or baking is safe during pregnancy, expectant mothers should not use cinnamon tablets due to a lack of scientific research on the safety of the supplement on the expectant mother and her unborn child.
Powerful antioxidants in cinnamon, known as catechins, may help to alleviate gastrointestinal issues such as stomach pains, gas or indigestion. Although these are common problems during pregnancy, cinnamon tablets should not be used as a treatment for these symptoms without first consulting your physician. Cinnamon also has antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties, which may be effective in the treatment of certain viral infections. As of July 2011, more scientific research is necessary to determine the safety and efficacy of cinnamon supplements as a treatment option for any type of health condition during pregnancy.
When consumed in concentrated amounts, cinnamon may cause premature labor or uterine contractions in an otherwise health pregnancy. In high dosages, the herb may damage or negatively affect the central nervous system. A severe allergic reaction may occur as a result of taking cinnamon tablets during pregnancy. If you experience difficulty breathing, facial swelling, hives or a rash, immediately stop taking the supplement and seek medical attention. A severe allergic reaction lowers your blood pressure and may temporarily cut off oxygen to your unborn baby. Also, using epinephrine to treat an allergic reaction may reduce blood supply to the uterus for several minutes. As of 2011, scientific research is lacking on the effects of cinnamon on fetal development.
Recommended dosages of cinnamon have not been established for pregnant or nursing mothers. Although many people take cinnamon supplements without problems, concentrated amounts of the herb may cause unnecessary side effects. Avoid using cinnamon tablets during pregnancy unless you are directed otherwise by your obstetrician or midwife.