Doctor and agony Aunt, Miriam Stoppard, has advised mums-to-be to consult the doctor before taking any medication of any kind, including herbal remedies.
In an article she wrote for the Mirror, she said that one in 10 pregnant women take a herbal remedy during their first trimester knowing “virtually nothing about their effects on the unborn baby”.
“Something else that scares me is that more women use the internet to check if a medicine is safe for an unborn baby,” she said, citing a study which found worrying inconsistencies in the way websites report the safety of various drugs.
The report, published in the US, found that of those medications deemed ‘safe’ for pregnant women to use, 80% had no published data which assessed the risk to cause birth defects, and 98% had insufficient data to explain such a risk.
Recalling her own experiences as a Junior doctor prescribing thalidomide (a sleeping drug now known to be linked to pregnancy problems) to mums-to-be in the 60s, Miriam says that she now always reads the research before prescribing drugs.
For more advice, have a look at our guide for medicines in pregnancy.