According to a Canadian study, using ginger to quell morning sickness does not appear to raise the risk of birth defects.
The study’s findings, published in a recent issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, suggest ginger is safe for pregnant women, but whether the botanical is actually effective against morning sickness is unknown.
Unlikely to be harmful
The study looked at 187 pregnant women who used some form of ginger in the first trimester. It found that these mothers were no more likely than average to have a baby with a congenital malformation.
Overall, three babies were born with birth defects affecting the heart, lungs or kidneys. There were two cases of birth defects in a comparison group of 187 women who had used no morning sickness remedies. According to researchers, the results indicate ginger is unlikely to be harmful to the fetus.
However, according to the doctors, it is less clear whether ginger helps with morning sickness. In the study, there was evidence that taken in capsule form it was mildly helpful for some women's nausea, but about half the women in the study said ginger was ineffective for them. In addition, the wide range of ginger products the women took—from teas to candy to capsules—made it hard to draw conclusions on the herb's effectiveness.
Ginger has long been thought to ease nausea, and research has found it may aid motion sickness and other forms of queasiness.