Goldenseal and Pregnancy
Based on what is known about pregnancy and goldenseal, the supplement may be dangerous for pregnant women. The herb contains berberine, a compound that crosses the placenta and could possibly harm a fetus. Taking it late in pregnancy could increase the risk of kernicterus (brain damage due to severe jaundice) in the newborn. If you are taking this supplement and pregnancy occurs, notify your healthcare provider.
Is Goldenseal Safe During Pregnancy?
Goldenseal is an herb that is sometimes used as a dietary supplement often claimed to be beneficial for a variety of different uses, such as for treating allergies or helping people pass urine drug tests. Generally, this herb is not considered to be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks (or lack thereof) are not known.
Goldenseal contains berberine, a compound that crosses the placenta and could possibly harm a fetus. Additionally, taking it late in pregnancy could increase the risk of kernicterus (brain damage due to severe jaundice) in the newborn.
It should never be assumed that natural products are automatically safe for pregnant women. This is a mistake that many pregnant women make. Pregnancy often limits the prescription and non-prescription drugs that are available for a woman to take. As a result, pregnant women often seek safe alternatives, sometimes assuming that herbal supplements are always safe. This is simply not the case. Herbal supplements can be marketed in the United States without any evidence that they are safe (or even effective) for anyone, including pregnant women.
If you are pregnant and considering goldenseal, talk to your healthcare provider. It is always a good idea to have a discussion with your healthcare provider before taking any medication or supplement. This is very important, even if you think your healthcare provider will not understand your choice or will discourage the use of alternative medicines.