This sheet is about exposure to ginger in pregnancy and while breastfeeding. This information should not take the place of medical care and advice from your healthcare provider.
What is ginger?
Ginger (Zingibar officinale) is a plant that is widely used in foods and beverages. The root (rhizome) is the part of the plant that is eaten or taken. Eating ginger in moderation as part of a balanced diet is not known to cause any problems related to pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Ginger is also used as an herbal remedy to treat different conditions, such as morning sickness, motion sickness, upset stomach, or vomiting. It is available as a supplement sold over the counter, and can come in the form of pills, capsules, syrups, or included in lozenges or tea. Talk with your healthcare provider before taking any supplements. It is generally not suggested to use herbal products or supplements during pregnancy or breastfeeding unless directed by your healthcare provider to treat a condition. This is because herbal products and supplements are not well-regulated or studied for use in pregnancy or breastfeeding. For more details on supplements, please see the fact sheet at https://mothertobaby.org/fact-sheets/herbal-products-pregnancy/.
I take ginger. Can it make it harder for me to get pregnant?
It is not known if taking ginger can make it harder to get pregnant.
Does taking ginger increase the chance of miscarriage?
Miscarriage is common and can occur in any pregnancy for many different reasons. Ginger has not been found to increase the chance of miscarriage in humans.
Does taking ginger increase the chance of birth defects?
Every pregnancy starts out with a 3-5% chance of having a birth defect. This is called the background risk. Several studies looking at the use of an average of 1000 mg of ginger per day during pregnancy did not find an increased chance of birth defects above the background risk.
Does taking ginger in pregnancy increase the chance of other pregnancy-related problems?
Studies have not been done to see if ginger increases the chance for pregnancy-related problems such as low birth weight (weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces [2500 grams] at birth). Information from one study on the use of ginger in the second trimester of pregnancy has not found an increased chance of preterm delivery (birth before week 37). Ginger has not been found to increase the chance of stillbirth in human studies.
Ginger can interact with some medications and may affect the way certain medications work, such as medications that treat blood pressure or affect how your blood clots. At high doses, ginger can lower blood sugar. Taking ginger supplements with certain medications may be a concern at any time in pregnancy. If you take a medication and would like to take a ginger supplement, it is important to talk it over with your healthcare provider.
Does taking ginger in pregnancy affect future behavior or learning for the child?
Ginger is not expected to increase the chance for behavior or learning issues in the child.
Breastfeeding while eating ginger or taking a ginger supplement:
When used in moderation as part of a balanced diet, there is no known reason to avoid cooking with and eating ginger in its natural form during breastfeeding. There is not enough information on the use of ginger as a supplement in breastfeeding to know if it can increase risks to a breastfeeding child. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about all your breastfeeding questions.
If a male takes ginger, could it affect fertility (ability to get partner pregnant) or increase the chance of birth defects?
Studies have not been done to see if ginger could affect male fertility or increase the chance of birth defects above the background risk. In general, exposures that fathers or sperm donors have are unlikely to increase risks to a pregnancy. For more information, please see the MotherToBaby fact sheet Paternal Exposures at https://mothertobaby.org/fact-sheets/paternal-exposures-pregnancy/.
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OTIS/MotherToBaby encourages inclusive and person-centered language. While our name still contains a reference to mothers, we are updating our resources with more inclusive terms. Use of the term mother or maternal refers to a person who is pregnant. Use of the term father or paternal refers to a person who contributes sperm.