Ephedra and Pregnancy

Ephedra is not considered safe for anyone, including pregnant women. The FDA has banned any supplement that contained ephedra. However, ephedra is still used in food and traditional Chinese medicines. If you are taking ephedra and pregnancy occurs, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider. He or she may need to do some tests to make sure you and your baby are okay.

An Overview of Ephedra and Pregnancy

Ephedra (ma huang) is an herbal supplement most frequently used for weight loss. It is not considered safe for anyone, including pregnant women.
 

Ephedra Safety During Pregnancy

Ephedra has been banned in the United States due to safety concerns. The FDA investigated ephedra (after numerous reports of dangerous side effects and deaths due to ephedra) and banned all of the supplements that contained ephedra. However, ephedra is still used in food and in traditional Chinese medicine.
 
Ephedra can cause high blood pressure (hypertension), an irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia), heart attacks, strokes, and seizures. Any of these side effects could be devastating during pregnancy. By taking ephedra, you may be risking your life and the life of your unborn child. Additionally, pregnancy is a time of increased nutritional need, not a time to be dieting or taking weight loss supplements, such as ephedra.
 
If you took ephedra before you knew you were pregnant, please discuss this with your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider may recommend additional tests or monitoring to make sure your pregnancy is progressing normally (and to reassure you that everything is okay).
 
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