Ginger Root: Soothing Nausea in Pregnancy

Evidence on Using Ginger Root to Soothe Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy

Are you experiencing nausea and vomiting in pregnancy? You’re not alone. Up to 70% of those who are pregnant experience some degree of nausea. There are an ever-growing number of suggestions out there to help soothe this discomfort. Some of these suggestions are evidence based, and some are not. Ginger root has been extensively studied in pregnancy to soothe nausea and vomiting.

My Experience

Firstly, I have to share that I always struggle with debilitating nausea in the first trimester. I used to keep a “puke cup” in the car for those long drives home after working. It was especially difficult in certain seasons of life while working as a birth doula. I’m not ashamed to admit that! It’s so hard!

Secondly, I rarely found anything that gave me any long term relief. Over the course of my pregnancies, I think I tried it all. I have tried sea bands, acupuncture, sour candy, vitamin B6 & Unisom, smaller meals, and the list goes on. However, I have found that consuming ginger root throughout the day, in tea or chew form, would help me make it through when I really couldn’t be sick.

What is Ginger Root?

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is an herb grown in tropical regions. People consume ginger around the world as food and medicine. The main active component of this root is gingerol. Herbal preparations contain the root or rhizome. It is commonly used in herbal medicine to treat conditions such as nausea, vomiting, colds, fever, inflammatory conditions, headaches, and much more. Also, ginger can soothe chemotherapy-induced nausea and post-operative nausea.

Ginger root can be consumed through making a decoction from the fresh root or a simple tea from dried root in single bags. Tinctures, candy, and juice can also be made from ginger. All of these preparations are very simple to use at home and create yourself.

Evidence on Ginger Root in Pregnancy

Ginger root has been extensively studied for the use of nausea and vomiting. It has been studied for decades for use in pregnancy. However, one drawback of many of these studies is that there is a lack of uniformity in the type, usage, and dose of ginger and duration of use. This is common in herbal medicine, as most herbalists seem to prefer an individualized and holistic approach.

One systematic review studied the use of ginger for at least 4 days during nausea in pregnancy. Across many randomized clinical trials, the use of 1000mg a day for at least 4 days was effective at easing nausea and vomiting in pregnancy.

Secondly, another systematic review involved 1,278 pregnant women and studied the use of ginger root in powdered capsule form. All of the studies included in the review showed that ginger root helped lessen the intensity of nausea in pregnancy. However, only three of these studies (out of seven) showed a reduction in vomiting episodes.

Thirdly, another study showed that ginger root was shown to be as effective as supplementation with vitamin B6 or B6 & Unisom for treatment of nausea and vomiting.

Is Ginger Safe?

Several studies have shown that ginger root causes no adverse effects in the first trimester at a dose of 1000mg/day. There are very few studies on use in the second or third trimesters.

***Please talk to your doctor or midwife about using any herbs. I am a student herbalist and I am sharing information and research that is widely available to families. I am not a medical professional nor am I giving medical advice.***

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