Wednesday, January 27, 2010

One In 10 Women Expose Their Unborn to Herbs

I get a variety of newsfeeds in my office every day - hundreds of them so I can update our In The News section of The news items are fact based, I try to avoid blogs or opinion pieces - if I do include them, then I note them as such.

I do have to pick on Reuters. They have a way of phraseology that spins a study or report. The spin does not always spin correctly. I guess that is the reason why they call it "spin".

In an article released yesterday by Michelle Rizzo, Herbal Use Common Among Pregnant Women in US, Rizzo opens her article with "This finding is potentially concerning, researchers say, given that data on the safety of herbal use during pregnancy is lacking."

"The products used most often throughout pregnancy were herbal teas and chamomile, which has also been shown to ease morning sickness. The most commonly reported products used early in pregnancy were ginger, which has been shown to help ease morning sickness, without side effects to the unborn child..."

Rizzo goes on to say:

"If we assume that our study sample was representative of the 4.2 million births each year in the United States, our findings project that 9.4 percent, or potentially 395,000 U.S. births annually, will involve exposure to at least one herbal product during pregnancy," lead author Dr. Cheryl S. Broussard, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, told Reuters Health by email.

The findings, reported in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, are based on data from 4,239 mothers in the National Birth Defects Prevention Study who delivered liveborn infants with no major birth defects from 1998 to 2004. The 10 study centers were located across the U.S.

Overall, 462 (10.9 percent) of the 4,239 mothers reported using herbal products in the 3 months before or at some point during pregnancy. The prevalence of herbal use anytime during pregnancy was 9.4 percent. The prevalence during pregnancy was highest (6.9 percent) during the first trimester.

We don't have much scientific data on herbs for pregnancy and birth. We do have centuries of anecdotal information.

We do have scientific data that medications giving during pregnancy and birth cause a medley of complications.

We should use caution when entering into unexplored and undocumented areas. We should also use caution when explored and documentation exists about the risks of anything used during critical months of pregnancy.

Educate yourself.

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