Why Should You Avoid Eating Licorice Root during Pregnancy?


When you are pregnant, your grannies and mother will send a horde of suggestions of food to eat, exercises and home remedies to deal 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 licorice as well. Licorice, similar to that found in Twizzlers and other candies, consist of a natural component that is highly dangerous during your pregnancy.


Let’s find out if licorice root is safe during pregnancy.

What is Licorice?

Licorice, 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 Licorice?

Doctors and scientists have strongly advised expectant and lactating mommies to avoid consuming licorice. This is done in order to protect your little one from potential health issues. Licorice 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, licorice must be avoided by expecting mothers at all cost possible. While it may offer multiple medicinal benefits, the root contains a compound known as ‘Glycyrrhizin’. High consumption of the root 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.


Negative Effects of Having Licorice while Pregnant

  • With high consumption of licorice root, there is a high-risk chance of miscarriage or preterm delivery, which means a shorter gestation period. Premature birth in itself has it’s drawbacks to the baby.
  • Consuming licorice root during your pregnancy can lead to the impairing of the placenta. The compound found in licorice, 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 licorice root consumption. It is likely that your child may be prone to develop conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.
  • Licorice root has an oestrogen-like effect, which could possibly cause severe foetal development complications if used in high quantities during your pregnancy. A male foetus when 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, a female foetus when exposed to too much oestrogen during the growing period may develop reproductive tract issues.

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