GINGER USES IN PREGNANCY AND POSTPARTUM

The following is a student blog post by Lisa Clark 

 

GINGER USES IN PREGNANCY AND POSTPARTUM

Ginger is an important herb in both Chinese and Indian medicine, and has been used worldwide  for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments.1 Ginger is a remedy for asthma, nausea, poor circulation, coughs, poisoning, and pain. Because of it’s long history, ginger is today one of the most widely studied herbs, and much of the research confirms traditional uses of ginger.2 Ginger has three uses that are especially helpful to pregnant and postpartum mothers. It may reduce or eliminate morning sickness, increase milk supply, and ease the discomfort of colic in newborns.

Ginger relieves nausea by increasing the production of saliva and digestive enzymes, reducing gas, and  relieving stomach cramps.3 If you suffer from pregnancy-related nausea, ginger is definitely worth trying. It is a spicy herb with a little heat to it. If you like the taste, a tea made from fresh root can be very soothing. Thinly slice a 1-inch piece of ginger. Steep in hot water for 1 to 3 minutes, longer if you like a stronger taste. Sweeten with honey and add fresh lemon juice if you like. Drink it warm or at room temperature, but not cold, because cold drinks can aggravate nausea. If you don’t like the strong, spicy taste of ginger, try taking it in capsules whenever your stomach is feeling queasy.

GINGER USES IN PREGNANCY AND POSTPARTUM

Breastfeeding mothers can also benefit from using ginger, whether you want to ensure a healthy milk supply, or if you are returning to work and want to maintain an adequate supply. A small 2016 study concluded that ginger shows promise for increasing breast milk volume.4 You can drink ginger tea or add it to smoothies, salads, stir fried veggies, fermented beverages such as kombucha, or lactation cookies.

Consuming ginger while breastfeeding may also ease colic in your newborn. The same mechanisms by which ginger treats nausea can also be helpful in easing colic. Saliva contains the digestive enzyme amylase, and ginger contains another digestive enzyme, zingibain. These enzymes may aid digestion in a baby’s immature gut. Ginger may help baby pass gas easier. And a 2005 study found that ginger’s ability to move food through the digestive tract, as well as it’s ability to ease muscle spasms in the intestine could explain its usefulness for conditions like colic.5

While ginger is on the FDA’s list of foods generally regarded as safe, there are some precautions to consider. Ginger is an effective blood thinner, so mothers who experienced significant bleeding during birth should avoid ginger in early postpartum. This would include mothers who had a cesarean delivery. And ginger can increase the effect of some medications. If you are taking a heart medication or anticoagulant, avoid ginger until you have consulted with your doctor.6

  1. Steven Foster, Yue Chongxi. Herbal Emissaries, Healing Arts Press, (1992), pp. 92-102.
  2. Dr. Mercola’s Food Facts: “What is Ginger Good for?” http://foodfacts.mercola.com/ginger.html
  3. Megan Ware, “Ginger: Health Benefits, Facts, Research.” Medical News Today, January 5, 2016. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265990.php
  4. Paritakul Panwara, Ruangrongmorakot Kasem, Laosooksathit Wipada, Suksamarnwong Maysita, and Puapornpong Pawin. “The Effect of Ginger on Breast Milk Volume in the Early Postpartum Period: A Randomized, Double-Blind Controlled Trial.” Breastfeeding Medicine. September 2016, 11(7): 361-365. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27505611
  5. Muhammad Nabeel Ghayur and Anwarul Hassan Gilani. Digestive Diseases and Sciences, October 2005, Volume 50: 1889. Accessed at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16187193
  6. Hilary Jacobson. “Lactogenic Foods and Herbs,” MOBI Motherhood International, September 23, 2007.http://www.mobimotherhood.org/lactogenic-foods-and-herbs.html

Lisa Clark has been an advocate for better birth options in Alabama for over 20 years. She is a mother of four and grandmother of one. She loves learning about health and nutrition, dabbles at gardening, and enjoys sharing new things she’s learning. http://handsandheart.info

All student article posts are the expressions of the student who wrote them. We do not take responsibility for the content, these are done as part of the educational experience and we try to encourage students to use their voice and learn to connect with clients through blogging and social media.
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