Revised:Thursday October 09 2014
Important signs to watch for if you are pregnant
- Bad cramps or stomach pains that don't go away.
- Bleeding or a trickle or gush of fluid from your vagina.
- Lower back pain/pressure or change in lower back pain.
- A feeling that the baby is pushing down.
- Contractions or change in the strength or number of them.
- An increase in the amount of vaginal discharge.
- Fever, chills, dizziness, vomiting or a bad headache.
- Blurry vision or spots before your eyes.
- Sudden or severe swelling of your feet, hand or face.
- A significant change in your baby's movements.
Go to a hospital right away and contact your doctor/midwife if you have any of these symptoms.
Adapted with permission from:
Best Start: Ontario's Maternal Newborn and Early Child Development Resource Centre
Listeriosis & pregnancy | Caffeine & pregnancy | Herbal teas & supplements |
Herbal teas & supplements
Herbs have been used for centuries to flavour our foods and to prevent or treat health problems. Most modern drugs originally came from plants. For example, the heart drug Digoxin originally came from Foxglove leaves.
Can herbs and herbal products be harmful?
- Yes! Some herbs can a have strong, drug-like effect on the body. A few can be poisonous and life-threatening. For example, Ma Huang also known as ephedrine, which is claimed to be a diet aid, can cause death.
- Health Canada has found herbal products which have been contaminated with dangerous amounts of arsenic and mercury or containing drugs such as steroids, hormones diuretics and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Another hazard is the risk of an allergic reaction. Herbal products can contain a variety of allergens such as pollen, mould and mould spores.
- Some preparations may interact with other medications, potentially making them less active or less safe.
How do I know if an herbal or natural health product has been approved for use?
- As of January 1, 2004, natural health products that have been approved by Health Canada must undergo and pass a review of its formulation, labeling and instructions for use. The products that have passed these new regulations have a Natural Product Number (NPN) or Drug Identification Number-Homeopathic Medicine (DIN-HM) on the label. They also include useful product information on the label, such as what it should be used for, recommended dosage, the length of time you should take it, the ingredients and any known risks associated with the product.If a product does not have a NPN, DIN-HM or DIN, it has not been approved by Health Canada.
- Since manufacturers of herbal products are not required to list potentially toxic substances on the label, you can be exposed to dangerous substances.
Are herbs safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding?
Just as you are careful about using drugs while you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should be careful about using herbal products. Herbs can have drug-like effects and so can be dangerous for you and your unborn baby. Before taking any herbs you should talk to your doctor/midwife or call Motherisk at 416-813-6780.
The active ingredient in some herbal products can:
- Stimulate the uterus or cause uterine contractions
- Act as a diuretic which can make you urinate more often
- Produce toxic effects on the developing baby
The safety of various herbs and herbal products during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been tested. The risk or harm to your baby is not known.
Are Herbal teas considered safe when taken in moderation?
Presently there is not enough scientific information available on the safety of various herbal teas to recommend their general use during pregnancy. Some can harm your baby or may cause early labour.
Talk to your doctor/midwife about the safe use of herbal teas or call Motherisk at 416-813-6780.
- Some teas contain a mixture of herbs. Read the labels.
- Some herbal teas or flavoured teas contain caffeine. Caffeine passes through the placenta into your baby’s bloodstream. Large amounts of caffeine may be harmful to your baby. Herbal teas should not be offered to your baby.
For more information on herbal products and pregnancy:
Region of Peel-Public Health
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Caledon residents call free of charge at 905-584-2216
To speak to a Public Health Nurse
Safe Use of Natural Health Products
Natural Health Products