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Herbs, medicinal, Pregnancy, Prenatal care, Plant extracts



  1. Born, Diane MSN, WHNP, CHTP
  2. Barron, Mary Lee MSN, RN, BC, FNP


During the last decade, there has been a dramatic rise in the availability and use of medicinal herbal preparations. Childbearing women are among those who are asking nurses about herbal use, and therefore nurses need to learn more about this topic. One of the most important points to understand is that in the United States herbs are classified as dietary supplements (not drugs), and manufacturers are therefore not required to provide proof of efficacy or safety before selling these substances. Few studies about effects of herbs have been conducted in the general population, and fewer still have been published about pregnancy use. Because the perinatal nurse has two patients to consider when caring for a pregnant woman, he or she has two equally important mandates: to help the mother without harming the fetus. This article provides an overview of key concepts underlying herbal use in general and also safety in pregnancy. Common herbs that can be safely be used in pregnancy are presented in detail to enable the nurse to better care for the pregnant woman who is considering herbal use.