Ephedra and Breastfeeding

The FDA banned ephedra in the United States after reports of deaths and other serious problems due to the weight loss pill. Because of the dangerous complications that could occur when taking ephedra, breastfeeding women should not take the weight loss supplement. Also, women who are breastfeeding should not be concerned about weight loss, as this is a time for increased nutritional need.

An Overview of Ephedra and Breastfeeding

Ephedra (also known as ma huang) is not safe for women who are breastfeeding. Actually, ephedra is not considered to be safe for anyone, which is why the FDA has banned it in the United States.

Ephedra and Breastfeeding: What Does the Research Say?

Ephedra was banned in 2004 because of safety concerns. The FDA investigated ephedra (after numerous reports of deaths and other serious problems due to ephedra) and banned all of the supplements that contained ephedra. Ephedra can cause an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia), high blood pressure (hypertension), heart attacks, strokes, and seizures. By taking ephedra, you may be risking your life and the life of your breastfeeding infant. Additionally, breastfeeding is a time of increased nutritional need, not a time to be dieting or taking weight loss supplements, such as ephedra.

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Ephedra and Breastfeeding

Ephedra is not appropriate for use by anyone, especially women who are breastfeeding. If you are concerned about the weight you gained during pregnancy, please discuss this with your healthcare provider. The safest way to lose weight is by healthy eating and increased exercise, not "quick-fix" herbal supplements.
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