Why You Should Avoid Licorice Intake during Pregnancy?

Why Should You Avoid Eating Liquorice Root During Pregnancy?

Medically Reviewed By
Megha Mukhija (Paediatric Nutritionist)
View more Paediatric Nutritionist Our Panel of Experts

When you are pregnant, your grandmother and mother will send a horde of suggestions about what food to eat, exercises, and home remedies to help you with your pregnancy! Out of the many foods, they ask you not to eat, licorice will be one.

For your health, you would need to avoid alcohol, smoking, and even your morning coffee during pregnancy. It’s the same case with liquorice as well. Liquorice, that is commonly found in Twizzlers and other candies, consists of a natural component that is highly dangerous during your pregnancy.

Let’s find out why liquorice root is not safe for you during pregnancy.

What is Liquorice?

Liquorice, a natural ingredient, is the root of a plant known as Glycyrrhiza Glabra. It has a unique, sweet flavour, and is also known to have compounds that can act as an anti-depressant. It can help with calming nervousness by regulating your stress hormones.

When consumed in controlled amounts, it is an excellent natural remedy for several health conditions, including heartburn, asthma, fungal, and viral infections. It also has therapeutic benefits for treating ulcers, cough, arthritis, yeast infections, and more.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Liquorice?

Doctors and scientists have strongly advised expectant and lactating mommies to avoid consuming liquorice. This is done in order to protect your little one from potential health issues. Liquorice tea while pregnant may come under herbal teas that you can have, but you mustn’t consume it for the safety of your baby.

According to many studies, liquorice must be avoided by expecting mothers. While it may offer multiple medicinal benefits, the root contains a compound known as ‘Glycyrrhizin’. High consumption of liquorice can cause many health problems to pregnant women like headaches, high blood pressure, water retention, fatigue, or even a heart attack. When consumed in smaller quantity, the side effects that can be noticed are a pain in the limbs and numbness.

Can Pregnant Women Eat Liquorice?

Negative Effects of Having Liquorice While Pregnant

  • With high consumption of liquorice root, there is a high-risk chance of miscarriage or preterm delivery, which means a shorter gestation period. Premature birth in itself has drawbacks for the baby.
  • Consuming liquorice root during your pregnancy can lead to the impairing of the placenta. The compound found in liquorice, Glycyrrhizin, could increase the chances of your glucocorticoids or stress hormones to reach the baby in the uterus. This leads to an adverse effect on the foetus’s brain development, lowering the intelligence levels, and increasing the behavioural problems in the child as they grow up.
  • Chances of your child’s low cognitive skill development can also be a side effect of high liquorice root consumption. It is likely that your child may be prone to develop conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.
  • Liquorice root has an oestrogen-like effect, which could possibly cause severe foetal development complications if consumed in high quantities during your pregnancy. If a male foetus gets exposed to these high levels of oestrogen, the chances of him developing testicular abnormalities are high. This will eventually lead to infertility later in life. Meanwhile, if a female foetus is exposed to too much oestrogen during the growing period, she may develop reproductive tract issues.

If you love liquorice, just be mindful and alert of the potential threat to you and your baby’s life with the consumption of liquorice root. As with most pregnancy advice, practice moderation. Just remember that when you’re expecting, you should avoid liquorice root as much as possible, despite its many medicinal benefits.

Also Read:

Foods You Should Avoid when Pregnant
Indian Foods You Must Avoid during Pregnancy

Previous article «
Next article »