Last Updated on December 4, 2021
During pregnancy, ginger comes highly recommended by everyone – from your sister to your hairstylist, and it can start to feel like the herb is a magical cure-all. Magic aside, ginger does actually have science-backed benefits.
Ginger is proven to improve morning sickness symptoms, even in placebo-controlled trials. Not only can the herb alleviate nausea, but ginger and ginger tea are safe to use regularly when pregnant, so long as you stick to amounts typically found in foods.
Does the way you consume ginger determine how much it will soothe your stomach? Are there any downsides to the different ways ginger can be eaten? I’ll explore all of the possibilities, from ginger tea to ginger candy, as well as a few reasons to be cautious about the amount of ginger you eat.
Ginger in Pregnancy: Is It Safe or Good for Pregnant Women?
Ginger might be one of, if not the most, talked about herbs/foods for pregnant women. Used in everything from teas and candies to curries, it is natural to wonder whether eating ginger frequently is good for you and your baby’s health, not to mention if there is any scientific research to verify that ginger is even helpful.
The good news is that eating ginger while pregnant is safe when taken in amounts typically found in foods (source: American Pregnancy Association). There have also been studies done on the effects and usefulness of ginger when it comes to stopping pregnancy-related nausea, which I will go into detail about below.
Ginger Tea for Pregnancy: Safety and Brands
Drinking ginger tea is such a common suggestion for pregnant women to receive, it is deserving of its own section in this article!
Ginger teas can be made in two distinct ways. The first is homemade ginger tea, where fresh ginger root is steeped in hot water, usually along with some lemon and a bit of honey. This tea is naturally caffeine-free and is thought to be incredibly soothing for the stomach.
Store-bought ginger tea is the second ‘type.’ Often, these teas include ginger in a blend, such as lemon-ginger, ginger-turmeric, and orange-ginger. A few popular brands that carry ginger teas include Yogi’s Mango-Ginger and Sweet Citrus Ginger, Twinings, and Republic of Tea’s Orange Ginger Mint.
Many tea blends will contain several different herbs in order to achieve maximum flavor. Since not all herbs are safe during pregnancy, be sure to read the ingredients carefully to avoid drinking any unsafe herbs on accident.
Ginger teas can be herbal, or have ginger as a flavoring in leaf tea. For this reason, not all store-bought ginger teas are caffeine-free. It is a good rule of thumb to double-check the packaging for any caffeine in your teas.
Aside from verifying caffeine content and the herbs used in any tea blend, ginger tea is a safe beverage during pregnancy and even counts towards your daily fluid needs to help you stay hydrated.
The Benefits of Ginger for Pregnant Women
Ginger is shown to be a strong antioxidant and is anti-inflammatory. However, many of these studies used ginger supplements, which may not be safe during pregnancy (source: Herbal Medicine).
Nutritionally, ginger does not contribute any macronutrients. And since it is used in such small amounts, the vitamins and minerals in ginger are also fairly negligible. All of this does not mean that eating ginger can’t boost nutrition, however. Even ginger putting a stop to morning sickness is a nutrition benefit if it means you’re able to eat and drink!
Ginger and Nausea in Pregnancy
Morning sickness and nausea are downright uncomfortable, no question about it. A morning sickness saving-grace for many women in early pregnancy, ginger is a herald for its natural stomach calming properties.
According to research, the claims about ginger and nausea are true! Across 12 different studies, women who ate ginger were significantly less likely to report feeling nauseous. The same goes for women who took ginger compared to women who took a placebo (source: Canadian Family Physician).
Ginger is also an economical way to get morning sickness relief. From tea and ginger ale to ginger candies, most products are fairly inexpensive and relatively easy to find. A little also goes a long way, as many ginger products have a potent and spicy kick that can help curb nausea quickly.
So if pregnancy is causing you to feel a little queasy, you can be confident knowing that ginger is a science-backed treatment.
Ginger Candies or “Preggie Pops”
Ginger candies (also known as ‘preggie pops’) and lollipops are popular ways to take ginger. These treats tend to be on the sweeter side, making them more palatable than a spicy mug of ginger tea, especially to folks new to ginger.
At first glance, ginger candies seem like they would be much higher in added sugars than ginger chews, but that’s not necessarily the case! One ginger lozenge from a popular brand had approximately the same amount of sugar as one piece of crystallized ginger.
A little bit of sugar can also be a good thing when it comes to morning sickness since it is much harder to shake feelings of nausea if your stomach is empty.
If ginger candies are the most appealing option to you, they are a perfectly healthy and safe choice to calm your stomach during times of nausea.
Can You Eat Gingerbread When Pregnant?
Although popular during the holidays, gingerbread is found all year round. Gingerbread is safe to eat when you’re pregnant, and may even help a little with nausea, as mentioned above. The other typical ingredients found in gingerbread, such as cinnamon, are also safe in food amounts.
Bear in mind, though, that you’ll be getting extra calories, sugar, and fat from cookies or similar products, and if you have gestational diabetes, it’s a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider first.
How Much Ginger is Safe During Pregnancy?
As I mentioned above, when nausea strikes, ginger can be incredibly helpful to calm your stomach. Some women experience daily nausea, especially during their first trimester, and worry that they are reaching for ginger too frequently and maybe overdoing it. Currently, there is no set upper limit, or amount of ginger to not exceed in a single day.
Most safe herbs come with a caveat: they are safe when used in amounts typically found in foods. The same sentiment goes for ginger as well (source: American Pregnancy Association).
This means that while the amount of ginger used in foods and drinks is a safe amount, the amount in supplements (such as capsules, pills, oils, and powders) might be more concentrated than foods and these products can contain too much ginger.
For this reason, it is best to stick to ginger-flavored foods and drinks and avoid dietary supplements containing ginger.
Many women also wonder whether both fresh and dried ginger are okay, especially since dried herbs are generally more potent than fresh. Both forms of ginger are perfectly safe to use while pregnant, so long as you are mindful of the portion used.
For example, a tablespoon or so of ginger is an amount that is reasonable in a recipe, however, a full cup of dried ginger would be way more than called for in any given dish.
When Might Ginger be Harmful or Unsafe During Pregnancy?
Like most herbs, there are some situations when ginger can cause unwanted side effects.
The biggest one to consider is beverages. Real ginger beer is a sneaky culprit, as some ginger beer is sold in grocery aisles right next to regular sodas and juices. Not all ginger beer is alcoholic, but some brands are, so it is best to carefully read the label and avoid brands with any trace of alcohol.
Another unintended side effect is that ginger is a natural blood thinner. There is some evidence that ginger can decrease the activity of platelets, which help clot the blood after getting a cut (sources: BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies). This doesn’t mean ginger is off the table, though.
Several studies have been done on the safety of ginger during pregnancy and showed that eating ginger did not increase the risk of needing to be hospitalized for increased bleeding (source: Canadian Family Physician).
While ginger is not nearly as strong as blood-thinning medications, if you are prescribed a medication for your blood then it is best to check with your medical provider about any dietary restrictions.
As long as you stick with enjoying ginger in normal food amounts, there is little risk of unwanted side effects such as bleeding.
Often touted as a superstar herb during pregnancy, ginger sure does have some impressive benefits- especially when it comes to nausea. Hopefully you’ve found this guide useful in determining which types of ginger foods and drinks might work best for you!
|This article has been reviewed and approved for publication in line with our editorial policy.|