Although no studies have been conducted on the safety of black cohosh and breastfeeding, most healthcare providers recommend that women avoid this herb while nursing a child. It is thought that black cohosh may affect hormones, which may affect the quantity and quality of breast milk or cause problems in a nursing infant. Before taking black cohosh and breastfeeding, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider.
Black Cohosh and Breastfeeding: Is It Safe?
Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa, Cimicifuga racemosa) is an herbal supplement usually used for natural menopause relief (although sometimes it is used to induce labor in pregnant women). It is not known if black cohosh is safe for use in breastfeeding women. Until more information is available, it is probably a good idea to avoid black cohosh if you are breastfeeding a child.
Black cohosh may affect hormones, and this may affect the quantity and quality of breast milk or cause problems in an infant. However, almost nothing is known about the safety of black cohosh during breastfeeding. Because the risks are entirely unknown, it is usually recommended that women avoid black cohosh while breastfeeding.
Talking With Your Healthcare Provider About Black Cohosh and Breastfeeding
You should talk with your healthcare provider about black cohosh and breastfeeding. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, you and your healthcare provider can make a shared decision about black cohosh and breastfeeding in your particular situation. However, most healthcare providers recommend against taking black cohosh while breastfeeding.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Jellin JM, editor. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Available at: http://naturaldatabase.com/. Accessed January 8, 2008.
National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Herbs at a glance: black cohosh (July 2005). NCCAM Web site. http://nccam.nih.gov/health/blackcohosh/. Accessed January 8, 2008.
Office of Dietary Supplements. National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. National Institutes of Health. Questions and answers about black cohosh and the symptoms of menopause (June 2006). NCCAM Web site. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/BlackCohosh.asp/. Accessed January 8, 2008.
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