Herbal laxatives and antiemetics in pregnancy

Reprod Toxicol. 2017 Sep:72:153-158. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2017.06.041. Epub 2017 Jun 10.


Constipation appears in the 2nd and 3rd trimester of pregnancy, while nausea is the strongest in the 1st trimester. This review summarizes the applicability of herbal laxatives and antiemetics in pregnancy. A human study has shown that flax oil as laxative is safe from 2nd trimester. Human data is not available about the rhubarb, but animal studies reveal that its emodin content induces fetal abnormalities. Fenugreek induces teratogenic malformation both in human and animals. Senna seed is proved as a safe laxative in pregnancy. The antiemetic ginger is safe during 1st trimester, but it reduces the gestational period when applied from the 2nd trimester. Cannabis induces fetal neurological disorders while fennel can shorten the gestational age. There is herbal alternative for laxative therapy (senna) for the whole length of pregnancy, but nausea and vomiting might be reduced by herbal medicine (ginger) safely in the 1st trimester, only.

Keywords: Antiemetic; Herbal; Laxatives; Pregnancy; Safety.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiemetics / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laxatives / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Preparations / therapeutic use*
  • Pregnancy*


  • Antiemetics
  • Laxatives
  • Plant Preparations