It is important for pregnant women to get proper care. Pregnancy can cause many discomforts, such as nausea and vomiting, hemorrhoids, and problems sleeping.
Healthy habits can ease some symptoms of pregnancy. Natural therapies have also been used to do this. Tell your doctor about any herbs or supplements that you want to take. Some may not be safe during pregnancy.
These herbs and supplements are likely to have benefit:
- Ginger is a spice that can also be made into a tea. It is likely to ease morning sickness.A2
- Iron is likely to lower the risk of anemia and iron deficiency in pregnancy.A17
- Multiple-micronutrient supplementation of iron and folic acid is likely to improve birth weight.C1
- Omega-3 fatty acid is likely to lower the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight.A9
Mindfulness practices like tai chi or yoga are also likely to ease anxiety.B1, B2
May Be Effective
- Acupuncture may ease pelvic pain.C6
- Craniosacral therapy may ease pelvic pain.C6
- Lipid-based nutrient supplements may improve birth outcomes, such as weight and length.A10
- Manipulative therapy may ease pelvic pain.C6
- Massage may ease labor.C2, C4, C11
- Nutritional interventions may improve cognitive health in children.C3
- Probiotics are likely to benefit metabolic health.A11
- Relaxation therapy may ease stress and anxiety.C11
- Vitamin B 6 is found in meat, dairy, and chickpeas. It may ease morning sickness when taken with folate. ( Note : It mat interact poorly with other morning sickness medicine. Do not take vitamin B6 if you are taking medicine for anxiety or narcolepsy.)A4, A5, A18, A22
Unlikely to Be Effective
These therapies are unlikely to be effective:
- Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits, such as carrots.A23
- Vitamin A is found in some foods and can be taken as a supplement.A13, A15
- Vitamin C is found in some foods and can be taken as a supplement.A16, A22, A23
- Vitamin E is found in some food products and can be taken as a supplement.A3
Not Enough Data to Assess
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution
Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:
- Iron should not be taken by people with heart problems. It may worsen symptoms.
- Vitamin B6 should not be taken with other anti-nausea medications. It should also not be taken with medications for anxiety, narcolepsy, or cancer.
Herbs and Supplements
A1. Makrides M, Crosby DD, et al. Magnesium supplementation in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(4):CD000937.
A2. Thomson M, Corbin R, et al. Effects of ginger for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy: a meta-analysis. J Am Board Fam Med. 2014;27(1):115-122.
A3. Rambold A, Ota E, et al. Vitamin E supplementation in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015;(9):CD004069.
A4. Koren G, Clark S, et al. Maternal safety of the delayed-release doxylamine and pyridoxine combination for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy; a randomized placebo controlled trial. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2015;15:59.
A5. Koren G, Clark S, et al. Demonstration of early efficacy results of the delayed-release combination of doxylamine-pyridoxine for the treatment of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016;16(1):371.
A6. Chen B, Ji X, et al. Fish oil supplementation improves pregnancy outcomes and size of the newborn: a meta-analysis of 21 randomized controlled trials. J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2016;29(12):2017-2027.
A7. Saccone G, Saccone I, et al. Omega-3-long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and fish oil supplementation during pregnancy: which evidence? J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med. 2016;29(15):2389-2397.
A8. Harding KB, Peña-Rosas JP, et al. Iodine supplementation for women during the preconception pregnancy and postpartum period. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;3:CD011761.
A9. Middleton P, Gomersall JC, et al. Omega-3 fatty acid addition during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Nov 15;11:CD003402.
A10. Das JK, Hoodbhoy Z, et al. Lipid-based nutrient supplements for maternal, birth, and infant developmental outcomes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Aug 31;8:CD012610.
A11. Zheng J, Feng Q, et al. The effects of probiotics supplementation on metabolic health in pregnant women: An evidence based meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2018 May 21;13(5):e0197771.
A12. Roth DE, Leung M, et al. Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy: state of the evidence from a systematic review of randomised trials. BMJ. 2017 Nov 29;359:j5237.
A13. Cruz S, da Cruz SP, et al. Impact of Vitamin A Supplementation on Pregnant Women and on Women Who Have Just Given Birth: A Systematic Review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2018 Mar-Apr;37(3):243-250.
A14. Evans K, Morrell CJ, et al. Systematic review and meta-analysis of non-pharmacological interventions to reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate anxiety in pregnant women. J Adv Nurs. 2018 Feb;74(2):289-309.
A15. McCauley ME, van den Broek N, et al. Vitamin A supplementation during pregnancy for maternal and newborn outcomes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Oct 27;(10):CD008666.
A16. Rumbold A, Ota E, et al. Vitamin C supplementation in pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Sep 29;(9):CD004072.
A17. Peña-Rosas JP, De-Regil LM, et al. Daily oral iron supplementation during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Jul 22;(7):CD004736.
A18. Salam RA, Zuberi NF, et al. Pyridoxine (vitamin B6) supplementation during pregnancy or labour for maternal and neonatal outcomes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Jun 3;(6):CD000179.
A19. Ota E, Mori R, et al. Zinc supplementation for improving pregnancy and infant outcome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Feb 2;(2):CD000230.
A20. Buppasiri P, Lumbiganon P, et al. Calcium supplementation (other than for preventing or treating hypertension) for improving pregnancy and infant outcomes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Feb 25;(2):CD007079.
A21. Lassi ZS, Salam RA, et al. Folic acid supplementation during pregnancy for maternal health and pregnancy outcomes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Mar 28;(3):CD006896.
A22. Dror DK, Allen LH. Interventions with vitamins B6, B12 and C in pregnancy. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2012 Jul;26 Suppl 1:55-74.
A23. Thorne-Lyman AL, Fawzi WW. Vitamin A and carotenoids during pregnancy and maternal, neonatal and infant health outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2012 Jul;26 Suppl 1:36-54.
Mind Body Interventions
B1. Marc I, Tourechce N, et al. Mind-body interventions during pregnancy for preventing or treating women’s anxiety. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;(7):CD007559.
B2. Gong H, Ni C, et al. Yoga for prenatal depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Psychiatry. 2015 Feb 5;15:14.
C1. Keats EC, Haider BA, et al. Multiple-micronutrient supplementation for women during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019 Mar 14;3:CD004905.
C2. Smith CA, Levett KM, et al. Massage, reflexology and other manual methods for pain management in labour. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Mar 28;3:CD009290.
C3. Taylor RM, Fealy SM, et al. Effects of Nutritional Interventions during Pregnancy on Infant and Child Cognitive Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2017 Nov 20;9(11). pii: E1265.
C4. Hall H, Cramer H, et al. The effectiveness of complementary manual therapies for pregnancy-related back and pelvic pain: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). 2016 Sep;95(38):e4723.
C5. Madden K, Middleton P, et al. Hypnosis for pain management during labour and childbirth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 May 19;(5):CD009356.
C6. Liddle SD, Pennick V. Interventions for preventing and treating low-back and pelvic pain during pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Sep 30;(9):CD001139.
C7. Matthews A, Haas DM, et al. Interventions for nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Sep 8;(9):CD007575.
C8. Chaillet N, Belaid L, et al. Nonpharmacologic approaches for pain management during labor compared with usual care: a meta-analysis. Birth. 2014 Jun;41(2):122-137.
C9. Dennis CL, Dowswell T. Interventions (other than pharmacological, psychosocial or psychological) for treating antenatal depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Jul 31;(7):CD006795.
C10. Khianman B, Pattanittum P, et al. Relaxation therapy for preventing and treating preterm labour. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Aug 15;(8):CD007426.
C11. Smith CA, Levett KM, et al. Massage, reflexology and other manual methods for pain management in labour. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Feb 15;(2):CD009290.
Last reviewed October 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC Last Updated: 5/13/2020