Can I Take Ashwagandha While Pregnant?

In this article, we will review if ashwagandha is safe to take while pregnant. Table of ContentsOverview:Can I Take Ashwagandha While Pregnant?Other Herbs While PregnantAshwagandha Before & After Pregnancy:Conclusion: Overview: …

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Medical Review by: Daniel Powers, MS
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In this article, we will review if ashwagandha is safe to take while pregnant.

ashwagandha for pregnancy


Ashwagandha (or Withania somnifera) is an adaptogenic herb with many health benefits such as reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep, naturally boosting energy, and reducing pain.

Many women may be interested in taking ashwagandha during pregnancy to help combat common pregnancy complaints. However, before we reach for this herb, it is best to know if ashwagandha is safe to consume while pregnant.

There are conflicting reports and research on the use of ashwagandha during pregnancy. Here we will go through some of the evidence and give a verdict.

Can I Take Ashwagandha While Pregnant?

No, it is advised to avoid the use of ashwagandha while pregnant due to conflicting information.

The Botanical Safety Handbook, the leading resource on herb safety, recommends against taking ashwagandha during pregnancy.

Older references of traditional use indicate that ashwagandha should be used with caution during pregnancy. Moreover, older references such as The Botanical Safety Handbook also refer to ashwagandha as an “abortifacient” and as a “pregnancy tonic”.

Physician, herbalist, and women’s health expert, Dr. Aviva Romm, states that ashwagandha is contraindicated during pregnancy and does not recommend using it if pregnant.

Other Herbs While Pregnant

During pregnancy, many women may experience some unpleasant symptoms including:

  • Pain (i.e. back pain)
  • Insomnia/sleeping difficulties
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue

Ashwagandha may be the herb to think about to help with the above symptoms, however, since it is not recommended to use during pregnancy, there are other herbs to be considered that can help with some of the common pregnancy complaints and are safe to use during pregnancy. These herbs include:

Note that it is typically recommended to avoid herbs during the first trimester of pregnancy, and when herbs are introduced in the second and third trimesters, they should be started at a low dose and you should be under the care of a qualified health care practitioner.

can i take ashwagandha while pregnant?

Ashwagandha Before & After Pregnancy:

Research has shown that ashwagandha can be safely consumed before and after pregnancy.

A number of studies and research support the use of ashwagandha before pregnancy, specifically for enhancing fertility and sexual health, and balancing hormones.

This study showed that ashwagandha can enhance the sexual health in females by improving lubrication, pain, desire, and satisfaction.

It is advised to discontinue using ashwagandha if you become pregnant.

Dr. Aviva Romm supports the use of ashwagandha for Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), low libido, and postpartum depression (PPD).

According to the Botanical Safety Handbook, ashwagandha is used to promote lactation in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.


Due to the conflicting evidence and lack of research on the use of ashwagandha during pregnancy, it is advised to avoid use. Ashwagandha can be safely consumed before becoming pregnant, as well as after pregnancy, including during lactation.

If you are pregnant and experiencing some of the common pregnancy complaints, consider taking one of the herbs mentioned above, instead of ashwagandha.

It is recommended to always consult with a qualified health practitioner before adding any new herbal supplement into your regimen, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking any medications. Seek support from a practitioner who is well-trained in herbal medicine and herbal safety.

Gardner, Z. & McGuffin, M. (2013). Botanical safety handbook (2nd ed.). American Herbal Products Association.

Romm, A. (2018). Botanical medicine for women’s health (2nd ed.). Elsevier, Inc: St. Louis, MO.

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About Tara Bassi, MS, CNS, LDN

Tara is a Licensed Nutritionist and Clinical Herbalist, specializing in women’s health. She has a Master’s of Science in Clinical Nutrition and Herbal Medicine from Maryland University of Integrative Health and is a Board Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS®).