Is Taking Turmeric Safe During Pregnancy?

When you are pregnant, the most important aspect to remember is to lead a healthy lifestyle. Eat a balanced diet, get plenty of exercise and avoid alcohol, smoking, drugs etc. A good pregnancy diet must consist of the right portions of fruits and vegetables, proteins, carbohydrates, dairy products and healthy snacks.

A special diet is not required. Rather, the right diet that includes a variety of foods is essential. This will ensure you get a range of nutrients important for you and your baby’s health.

Vitamins and supplements are indispensable during pregnancy. In the same way, there are certain foods that need to be avoided – especially raw seafood (opt for cooked ones), un-pasteurized milk (boil if this is the only type available), certain fish (shark, swordfish or marlin), undercooked or raw meat, peanuts (if you are allergic), high doses of supplements with vitamin A (this can cause too much of Vitamin A) etc.

Turmeric and Pregnancy

Most pregnant women are advised not to take herbal supplements for their effect on pregnancy has not been examined. A pregnant woman must be especially careful since eating some foods may harm the fetus.  There are many turmeric supplements available in the market. Always check with your gynecologist if these are safe for you to consume.

In fact, it has been suggested that taking oral turmeric supplements during pregnancy maybe unsafe since it could stimulate the uterus and cause a menstrual period. If the uterus gets stimulated before the pregnancy reaches full term, there are chances that a woman may experience a miscarriage. It is also possible that certain abnormalities may develop in the fetus. This could cause an early miscarriage, putting your pregnancy at risk.

However, usage of turmeric as a spice in food is generally considered safe even for pregnant women.   Pregnant women in countries like India never remove turmeric from their diet as a spice irrespective of the pregnancy stage. This speaks volumes about its safety. But remember, no supplements!

Turmeric helps to make the skin supple and smooth. During pregnancy, you just need to look in your kitchen shelves rather than spending a lot on expensive beauty treatments that may not work. Mix turmeric and curd or malai (cream) into a paste and apply it on your stomach 15 minutes before a bath. A regular routine of this will prevent those ugly stretch marks – the bane of all pregnant women. You can even use this malai and turmeric mixture on your stomach after a bath, leave for a few minutes and wipe off with a warm, moist towel.

Extra melanin causes pigmentation to form on the skin. Hyper-pigmentation is a medical condition that causes can you take turmeric in pregnancy1
abnormal black patches and spots to form on the skin due to high levels of melanin production. One cause of hyper-pigmentation is pregnancy. There are many treatments to avoid this pigmentation such as turmeric, OTC products, laser treatment etc. During a pregnancy you need to be careful as to what treatment to use for some of them could prove dangerous for your pregnancy. Herbal products like turmeric are safe to use externally.

Now you can try a cucumber and turmeric mask that could reduce this pigmentation during pregnancy. Blend a cucumber in a food processor, take the pulp and squeeze out the juice. Combine 3 tablespoons of this extracted juice along with 3 tablespoons of lime juice and add enough turmeric powder to make a paste. Apply this on the dark patches and leave it for about 20 minutes before washing it off. Turmeric can inhibit melanin production and lighten the skin.

Hormonal changes during pregnancy often cause outbreaks of acne which makes the skin unsightly rather than the often expected ‘glow of pregnancy’. Even women who have never suffered from acne during their teen years can develop pregnancy acne. Most doctors do not prescribe oral medications for pregnancy acne. Certain OTC creams and ointments do help. However, herbal remedies using turmeric, chickpea, oatmeal powders, etc are considered safer options. Turmeric has powerful antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat acne. Apply a paste of turmeric and water on your acne. Leave this for at least 20 minutes and wash off. Turmeric often leaves a yellow tinge that can be removed by rubbing fresh lemon juice.

If you can, try to leave the turmeric paste on overnight for better effect on the pimples. Drinking turmeric with warm milk and honey can also cleanse the system of impurities and give a clear complexion.

Further, what if you get cold and cough during your pregnancy, will you rather take a medecine or go for turmeric milk? I think the choice is very obvious here! 

In the end – the most important thing is using a good quality turmeric powder and taking it as a spice and not a supplement. 

Precautions

Since there have not been studies about the efficacy of turmeric supplements on a pregnancy, doctors usually advise their patients to avoid it for this period. I also advice the same – stay away from supplements during pregnancy. Turmeric used in food as spice and externally could provide some benefits during a pregnancy.

Those with gallbladder problems or diabetes must avoid turmeric supplements. Stop turmeric supplements 2 weeks before a surgery for it can slow down blood clotting. Large doses of turmeric cause indigestion, nausea or diarrhea.

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74 Comments

  1. what if you trying to get pregnant is it advisable to put fresh turmeric in your drinkable water as your consumption everday…please let me know…thanks.

    1. Hi. Fresh turmeric roots or turmeric spice in diet is unlikely to cause any adverse effects when trying to conceive. Turmeric is poorly soluble in water and better absorbed in the body with fats and black pepper. You can consume turmeric in dietary amounts (1/2-1 tsp) daily.

  2. I have a question.
    Avoid using turmeric during pregnancy. So should breastfeeding period use turmeric? Beacause I read your article, in the cautious section read “Turmeric supplements should be avoided in pregnancy and lactation”
    In my country turmeric is considered as a medicinal herb for women after birth, because it has the capacity to heal after birth, blurring the stretch marks.
    Thanks

    1. Hi. Yes absolutely, even in India, turmeric milk is recommended even during pregnancy and after pregnancy as a natural antibiotic and immune booster. However some anecdotal evidences indicate that turmeric is a uterine stimulant. Therefore we suggest avoiding ‘turmeric supplements’ in pregnancy and lactation.
      This is not applicable to dietary turmeric.
      In Asian countries, turmeric is consumed regularly even during pregnancy. But if turmeric is not a part of your daily diet, then we recommend limiting dietary turmeric intake to 1/2-1 tsp daily or occasionally. Or we even suggest avoiding dietary turmeric in such cases if one is not sure about it.
      But yes we are aware that in Asian countries, turmeric is recommend for women after giving birth. Thank you for pointing this out.

  3. I had an embryo transfer last week and drank turmeric tea in the 3-4 days that followed (Numi brand Turmeric Tonic and Three Roots) – about one cup per day. I found it relaxing and thought it would help with blood flow and circulation. Now reading this information, I have stopped drinking the tea but am concerned that I could have prevented implantation. Did I cause more harm than good? Thank you for this information, as I am relieved that I am aware now and hope to still get pregnant from this embryo transfer but if I do not, I might blame myself for not doing more research prior to drinking the tea.

    1. Additional information: I called the tea manufacturer (Numi) and they said there are approximately 1.5-2 tsps of granulated organic turmeric root in each tea bag. I inquired further about the term “granulated” and they said that the turmeric root is broken down to a size of slightly bigger granules than powder (like the seasoning) form so that it doesn’t escape the tea bag.

      I truly hope I didn’t do any damage to the embryo and/or hurt my changes for implantation and pregnancy.

      1. Hi. Dietary turmeric does not (error revised) affect fertility or pregnancy adversely. There has been no report suggesting any such occurrence. Asian women continue to consume dietary turmeric even during pregnancy. Occasional consumption of turmeric at fairly low dose is unlikely to cause any adverse effect on fertility and pregnancy.

        1. Thank you – so, dietary turmeric does *not* affect fertility or pregnancy adversely? I am assuming you forgot the *not*, correct?

          1. Hi. We are extremely sorry about this typing error. Yes, Dietary turmeric ( which means anything upto 1 tsp in dived doses in a day and included in meals) does NOT affect fertility or pregnancy adversely. We would suggest limiting intake of turmeric to diet and 1/2 tsp in case you are skeptic about this. You can avoid turmeric altogether as well. And one single occasion of consuming low dose turmeric will not have any adverse effect on fertility.

  4. hi i am 3 month of pregnant . i am suffering from cough and cold so.i had taken 1 glass of milk with 1 teaspoon for first time. and use turmeric power in our balance diet ,does turmeric doses is high? do it effect to my child? i am too much worried plz help me by advising.

    1. Hi. Turmeric in diet is absolutely safe even during pregnancy. In fact turmeric milk is recommended during pregnancy in India. Since this as an occasional it definitely would not affect your child’s health since it is a fairly low concentration to have any adverse effects. If you are skeptic, then avoid turmeric completely during pregnancy, though generally our advice is one can consume up to 1/2 tsp turmeric powder daily or occasionally during pregnancy to strengthen immunity and keep away infections.
      Don’t worry about one time consumption of turmeric, Asian women continue consuming turmeric throughout pregnancy. Hope this helps.

  5. Hi, I am 27 weeks pregnant, I stopped taking turmeric supplements when I found out at 4 weeks pregnant, but I started taking a little less than 1 teaspoon a day of organic ground turmeric as a tea drink with almond milk and honey. I have had no side effects and baby is healthy so far, is 1 teaspoon too much to be considered dietary turmeric? I thought curries had far more but I could be wrong.

    1. Hi. 1 teaspoon of turmeric in diet is absolutely fine. Curries have close to 1-2 tsp depending on the quantity prepared. Turmeric in diet up to 1 tsp during pregnancy is fine but for those who do not take turmeric on a regular basis we suggest taking up to 1/2 tsp. Since it is suiting you and you are observing no side effects you can continue with 1 tsp preferably split throughout the day.

    1. Hi. It depends on the amount you consume. Ginger benefits in pregnancy to attenuate nausea like symptoms. Turmeric is traditionally said to cause uterine bleeding but that has not been proven. Asian women continue consuming turmeric in diet even during pregnancy, but yes it is in limited quantities say 1/2 tsp turmeric powder spread throughout the day.

  6. Hi. I know there has been a lot of pregnancy questions asked and answered but I haven’t seen one yet regarding whether or not it would impede or assist IVF? I have played sport for 20yrs and have been fighting an ankle injury over the last year. I hate using anti inflammatories like Voltaren tablets and pain killers but have found myself relying on them for relief! Now that I am ready to embark on an IVF journey again I know I need to get off Voltaren because it has terrible health effects to me as well as a baby. Just started using 1/2 tsp Tumeric with green tea milk and honey once a day and it surprisingly worked just as well as a Voltaren 25. Haven’t raised it with my gyno yet, just wanted to do some research first.
    I’m pretty big on alternative remedies, I always stretch, rest, ice, compress, elevate when possible, use roller, do physio, eat healthy and exercise. Your professional knowledge of the product would be appreciated.

    1. Turmeric in diet is absolutely safe in pregnancy and even during conceiving. Women in India and Asian countries continue consuming turmeric in diet during both these phases without experiencing any health risks. The dose you are taking is great for health benefits without causing any health risks.There has been no report on whether turmeric could assist or impede IVF. However it can still lower inflammation and pain and improve general health.

    1. Yes turmeric steam inhalation is good for relieving nasal congestion and would not have any adverse effect in pregnancy.

    1. Dietary turmeric is safe in pregnancy. Turmeric traditionally is said to work as a uterine stimulant. However we definitely do not advise it for inducing labor. Please discuss this with your doctor.

  7. Help .. i drank tumeric root last month twice a day because i had history of ptb or pulmonary tuberculosis .. And now i am six weeks pergnant .. the last time i drank it was 2 weeks ago .. please reply ..

  8. I am 9 weeks pregnant and struggling with depressing. Five years ago, I lost my 11.5 month old son to sids and am having a very hard time with depression surrounding this. Having lost one child, I am trying to be very cautious and am looking for a natural but effective alternative to antidepressants during pregnancy and breastfeeding. I found a recipe for a tea that is 3tbsp powdered turmeric to 8oz water. Is this safe to drink during pregnancy and if not, are there safe and effective alternatives? Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Maggi. Turmeric is one of the best natural antidepressants because of its multiple actions in depression. But during pregnancy turmeric supplements are not advised as traditionally turmeric is said to work as a uterine stimulant.
      However Asian women continue consuming turmeric in diet during pregnancy. But for safety reasons we recommend not more than 1/4-1/2 tsp of turmeric per day if you are not used to consuming turmeric. This dose of turmeric will in fact do a little bit of good such as help fight infections and strengthen immunity in pregnancy.
      Turmeric Milk is advised in India to pregnant women for baby’s health. You can use less than 1/2 tsp of turmeric and prepare it.
      https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-recipes/benefits-of-turmeric-milk
      https://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-benefits/brew-a-cup-of-turmeric-tea
      It is beyond our scope to comment on alternatives but You could consult your doctor about fish oil supplements (Omega 3s in it would be good for you and your baby’s brain health). Saffron and green tea extracts are also beneficial in depression, you could include them in diet; but please consult your doctor before using any supplements in pregnancy.

    1. Hi. What exactly does 6 times mean? During pregnancy you can consume less than 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder a day in divided doses.

  9. Hi I’m 6 weeks pregnant.I had half inches of turmeric root in empty stomach for two days. I did not know that it is bad during pregnancy. Now i am worried. Pliz help

    1. Hi Alice. Consuming turmeric in diet during pregnancy is absolutely fine. It is the supplements that should be avoided. We suggest not to consume on empty stomach to avoid acid reflux. Asian women continue consuming turmeric during pregnancy. However you can limit your intake to 1/2 tsp turmeric powder or 1/2 tsp shredded raw turmeric.

    1. Hi Andrea. If you are suffering from gallstones or gall bladder obstructions then you should avoid turmeric as curcumin in turmeric causes gall bladder contraction and this can be very painful when you have a gallstone. Else you can safely take dietary turmeric.

  10. I was 7 weeks pregnant when I had indigestion and slight stomach pain and read online how golden tea (with Tumeric) could help. Recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon (~ 1g) of Tumeric among others per serving. Obviously I should have done more research into its effects on an early pregnancy. After 2 days (2 servings) I started to bleed. Standard and coagulated blood, and I assumed the worst. I had developed a subchorionic hematoma right above my yolk sack. By the grace of God and my Gynae, my baby is safe, and knock-on-wood will fight its way to a full and healthy term. After a week of complete bed rest (8 weeks pregnant now), the hematoma is starting to show signs of healing but I’ve been told I still require plenty of rest over the next 2 weeks. At 154 BPM, my fighter is right there with me. And now to my concern; since the scare above, I’ve been devouring articles online on Tumeric and its effects on pregnancies, and came across some conflicting statements on its side effects on the fetus. This article says it is possible for certain abnormalities to develop in the fetus while others like livestrong.com state the following:
    “According to Medline Plus, no animal studies have found turmeric to cause abnormal development in a fetus, so it is not likely that a pregnant woman’s baby could have birth defects from the mother’s turmeric consumption. However, Medline Plus states that turmeric can cause stimulation of the uterus, which can lead to contracting and menstrual flow.”

    Naturally, after my experience above, I am genuinely concerned about possible abnormalities and all the conflicting articles have left me confused. So I sincerely someone from TumericforHealthTeam could be kind enough to elaborate on this further (abnormality cases related or possibly related to Tumeric consumption, what kind of abnormalities, is it more fact or myth, etc.). Thank you!

    1. Hi. We are happy to hear that your baby and you are safe. Coming to turmeric, 1/2 tsp is a very small dose and due to its bioavailability issues it is highly unlikely that turmeric would reach a concentration in your body to cause any birth defect or any other problem. Asian women have 1/2-1 tsp turmeric powder in their diet even during pregnancy. Turmeric or any other substance in excess can cause any form of health hazards; however in your case the dose was too small and for a relatively short period to have deleterious effects.
      Traditional medicine does state that turmeric can stimulate uterine bleeding but no study till date proves it. But yes women with menstrual problems do experience relief on taking turmeric. Again this would be in reference to supplemental doses of turmeric and not for a low dose as in your case.
      Coming to animal studies that show turmeric can cause birth defects here are 2 links:
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2996731/
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3344238/
      However both these studies focus on curcumin (not turmeric) and exceptionally high doses of curcumin and also direct exposure of embryonic cells to curcumin. This is not what actually happens in the body but there is no other way to study it so animal models are used. Thats exactly why curcumin supplements should be avoided in pregnancy and lactation. For 1/2 tsp of turmeric say 1gm you would get 0.03g-0.05g curcumin and part of it may not be absorbed so its highly unlikely that the dose you took would cause any problems.
      Contrary to the common perception that turmeric is unsafe for pregnancy it is important to note a few studies which actually prove its efficacy in gestational disorders and these should be given due importance on clinical grounds:
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25961579
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23475986
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27580989
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17666914
      Also there are reports on how turmeric/curcumin could protect foetus from infections, heavy metal poisoning and alcohol induced brain deficits. So clinically there has not been any report of turmeric consumption leading to birth defects in humans. Thank you for raising this query for the benefit of others as well.

      1. Thank you so very much for the reply and clarification. Very reassuring especially knowing the difference between the sub-effects of curcumin vs turmeric in general. Week 10 scan, hematoma is healing well and baby is doing great. Praying for a smooth and safe pregnancy going forward.

          1. Turmeric milk is consumed by pregnant women in India for better health, to fight infections as well as to benefit the baby.
            Traditionally turmeric is known to cause uterine stimulation but no study proves this. Hence it is advised to limit intake of turmeric and to avoid turmeric capsules during pregnancy. However Asian and Indian women continue to consume turmeric in diet regularly even during pregnancy.

  11. I had took a Tumeric supplement because I thought it would make me use the bathroom because I was constipated while pregnant and that same night/early morning I Misscarried. I was so devastated. Please if you are pregnant do not take any supplements and only use ground Tumeric in your food. Smh

  12. I use tumeric root in my black soap to bath…..i am 6months pregnant….can I still drink tumeric wt milk once a week or twice

  13. I lost a baby early in pregnancy and I know it had to be because I started taking Turmeric. I was suppose to be 8 weeks, went in for an ultrasound and baby had only made it to 5 weeks and started bleeding the next day. 🙁 I have 8 healthy babies, so my body does fine with pregnancy. I would avoid this stuff like the plague if you are pregnant or want to become pregnant. It also makes me start my period! I just refuse to take anymore. BUT its been really good for my husband and his bad disk in his back 🙂

    1. Hi! I was taking Tumric supplements for almost 2 months while I was pregnant ( unaware of my pregnancy) I’m 37 weeks and baby girl seems to be happy and healthy!.. I was very scared when I read it could be dangerous and gave my supplements to my hubby;)

      1. Hi. Glad to hear about your health and your daughter’s good health and well being. Traditionally turmeric is known as a uterine stimulant and hence it is advised to limit its intake especially as a supplement, in pregnancy. No study proves this point yet. Turmeric in diet is great during pregnancy and Asian women continue consuming dietary turmeric throughout pregnancy.

  14. Hi! Im just wondering where on earth you get your information from? Why are pregnant women to avoid peanuts? For starters? And supplements with it A, we are allowed some vit A! Another blogger turning pregnancy into an illness…

  15. Hi! I have been having migraines during my pregnancy and a person I know told me to use a turmeric supplement. I was taking a small amount of liquid turmeric less than an eye dropper with OJ at night and my migraines stopped. After reading this article I guess I will just toughen up and deal with the migraines rather than risk something abnormal with my baby. I didn’t think a spice would be unsafe during pregnancy. But it’s not worth the chance.

    1. Turmeric in diet is absolutely safe even during pregnancy. Asian women do not discontinue use of turmeric in pregnancy. However turmeric supplements should definitely be avoided in pregnancy.

  16. Would using it as a food spice lets say taking 1/16 of a teaspoon of actual ground tumeric in food or beverages be enough for the benefits? Is it even worth it to use for the immune support if pregnant?

    1. 1/16 of a tsp would be far to less. 1/4 tsp would be beneficial. If using it for immune support during pregnancy make sure you use organic turmeric powder of good quality.

  17. I never understand this. The amount of turmeric I would use in food, such as a curry dish, is SO MUCH MORE than the amount found in supplements. Again, how much is too much?

    1. Dietary turmeric is usually 1 tsp a day which contains about 3 % curcumin. On the other hand supplements contain 95% curcumin and have higher concentrations. High dose in terms of supplements would be 1000mg or above. Dietary turmeric is generally restricted to 1 tsp of turmeric powder but people report taking 1-2 tablespoon of Golden Paste depending on how it suits them. Hope this helps.

  18. Hi! Thank you for such an informing article. I was told rubbing a finger in lemon and then dipping in turmeric and licking off with my tongue would be a great thing for me to do with my body type and constitution. Would that be considered “too much” if I am trying to get pregnant?

    Thank you for you advice!

  19. Hi i have endometriosis and i have been trying to conceive for a while but unsuccessfull as it sometimes leads to fertility issues. I have found out turmeric is a good detox and anti inflammatory which i thought would help my endometriosis. But have now just read that it also acts as a contraception?? I am now confused?? Please advise me

  20. My mom says turmeric with warm milk is good for baby and I’m taking it two times a day in the morning and at night before sleep. Is it OK or should I stop ?

    1. In India turmeric milk is recommended during pregnancy as an antibiotic and to benefit baby’s health and brain development. Its absolutely fine to consume turmeric in diet.

  21. iam pragnant 6 weeks and was eating raw tumeric root like crazy in the last one month , few slices with my meal and always in my hot drinks , now not sure if this is safe for baby:(((?shall i stop ? can this can make any harm to baby?i thought that will make my immune system stronger:(

    1. While the chances interaction of turmeric with a moisturizer are remote. But still it is best not to try two things at once. Also always do a patch test before trying on full face.

      1. I like Andalou Naturals’ Turmeric Plus C Enlightening Serum. I have not researched the individual ingredients for safety during pregnancy. I don’t think it contains any retinyl palmitate. It may be best for after-pregnancy and a DIY formula during