There have not been any studies done on ginkgo biloba (ginkgo) and pregnancy. However, some of the components of ginkgo biloba may stimulate labor, have a negative effect on hormones, or increase the risk of bleeding. Just because ginkgo biloba is a "natural" product, it does not mean that it is automatically safe for use during pregnancy. If you are taking ginkgo biloba and pregnancy occurs, contact your healthcare provider.
An Overview of Ginkgo Biloba and Pregnancy
Ginkgo biloba (ginkgo) is an herbal supplement. It is most often used to enhance mental functioning and memory, but it is claimed to be useful for other conditions as well. As with most supplements, it is not known if ginkgo biloba is safe for use in pregnancy. In fact, there is some concern that ginkgo biloba could cause problems for pregnant women.
Can I Take Ginkgo Biloba During Pregnancy?
It is not known if ginkgo biloba is safe for pregnant women. There are no reliable studies that show that ginkgo biloba is safe (or unsafe), as this supplement has not been adequately studied in any pregnant women or animals. Some of the active components of ginkgo biloba may stimulate labor, have undesired effects on hormones, or increase the risk of bleeding (which can be especially dangerous during labor and delivery).
Many women try to avoid medications in pregnancy and turn to herbal remedies as an alternative, assuming that "natural" automatically means "safe." However, natural products can be quite toxic. For instance, many poisons and toxins are natural products. It just does not make sense to use an herbal supplement for which there is no information available about its safety during pregnancy.
Ginkgo Biloba and Pregnancy: Final Thoughts
If you are pregnant, it is always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider before taking any medication or supplement. You and your healthcare provider can consider the possible risks and benefits of using ginkgo biloba in your particular situation, as well as any other treatment alternatives.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed March 10, 2008.
National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Herbs at a glance: ginkgo (September 2005). NCCAM Web site. Available at: http://nccam.nih.gov/health/ginkgo/. Accessed March 10, 2008.
Dugoua JJ, Mills E, Perri D, Koren G. Safety and efficacy of ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) during pregnancy and lactation. Can J Clin Pharmacol 2006;13(3):e277-84.
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