In addition to being a popular condiment around the world, garlic has also provided many medicinal benefits for thousands of years. It can help treat certain health problems that usually occur during pregnancy, such as poor blood circulation and high blood pressure. Before beginning to consume garlic during pregnancy or breastfeeding, however, consult your doctor to discuss the amounts you can take and the potential hazards.
Garlic contains allicin, an amino acid derived from sulfur that is converted to allicin, explains the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Allicin appears to have antibiotic effect, lower cholesterol, fluidize blood and have antioxidant effect – Garlic also appears to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of gastric and colorectal cancer. It also relaxes muscles, dilates blood vessels, stimulates immunity while inhibiting antibody reactions, enhances selenium absorption and reduces oxidative stress.
In pregnant women, garlic can help improve blood circulation, lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels, reports Sloan-Kettering. It can also reduce fatigue and destroy harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses, reports the University Of Maryland Medical Center. The antimicrobial properties of garlic are seen both in topical remedies applied to the skin or in oral forms. Garlic may help treat vaginal infections, including Candida hypersensitivity syndrome, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. As with any natural remedy or supplement, talk to your doctor before using garlic with medicinal motives during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Garlic can also help prevent colds and coronary heart disease, explains the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Garlic can help treat mild ear infections, athlete’s foot, diabetes and high blood pressure. People with arteriosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, circulatory disorders and skin infections can benefit from the use of garlic, adds Sloan-Kattering. Garlic has also been used medicinally to get rid of parasites, treat ulcers and prevent or treat cancer, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. However, there is no widely accepted scientific research to support the use of garlic to prevent or treat any health problem.
In addition to chopped or whole raw garlic cloves, it is also available in the form of extract, powder and essential oil, reports Sloan-Kettering. Each form of garlic contains varying amounts of its active constituents. For example, essential oil and garlic powder do not contain allicin, but the powder contains small amounts of allicin. To get potential health effects during pregnancy, consume two to four fresh cloves of garlic a day, or ingest between 600 and 1,200 milligrams of garlic extract per day, advises the University of Maryland Medical Center. Alternatively, you can take between 0.03 and 0.12 milliliters of garlic essential oil three times per day, 5 milliliters of fluid extract or 20 milliliters of tincture. Garlic supplements usually come in the form of frozen dry tablets, which can be taken in doses of 400 milligrams, three times per day. Ask your doctor about the right amount for you during pregnancy, because these doses may be unsuitable for your specific health.
As widely used food and seasoning, garlic is considered very safe, even during pregnancy. But potential fluidizing effects can cause uncontrolled bleeding during an operation or during labor, warns the University of Maryland Medical Center. You should not consume garlic before, during or after childbirth or a cesarean section. Garlic may also interact negatively with certain medications, such as anticoagulants, insulin, cyclosporine and saquinavir, reports the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Garlic can increase insulin release and lower blood sugar levels, as well as reduce iodine uptake, which can cause hypothyroidism, warns Mayo Clinic. During pregnancy, you should not consume large quantities of garlic that exceed the normal amount you can consume in your daily diet.