A common concern among pregnant and breastfeeding women is using any medication to treat medical conditions and illnesses. Some women look for more natural options. But natural does not mean safe.

Some medications come from plants, such as aspirin from white willow bark and digitalis, a heart medication, from the foxglove plant. Not all plants and herbs are safe such as tobacco and marijuana. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate herbal supplements and safety research is not required before they are marketed.

Herbal supplements can vary in the dose and in other filler ingredients. Also, some packages of herbal supplements may not even contain the herb listed on the package. Medications are required to go through safety testing and the packages must list the dose and any ingredients. There are some herbs and plants that have been well-studied in pregnancy and can be used such as using ginger for nausea and vomiting.

Check with your primary care provider or MotherToBaby.org if you have questions about your medications or herbal supplements.