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Have you used St. John's Wort while pregnant?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 



I'm trying to find anecdotal reports from people who have used St. John's Wort while pregnant. 


I am 24 weeks and have been getting more and more depressed over the past month or maybe even two, to the point where I'm pretty desperate. I don't sleep, I have trouble getting anything done, I cry all the time and feel completely trapped, and it's becoming a real effort to eat properly or to exercise at all. 


I'd rather not take anything, but it's getting to the point where something has to be done. When I was younger, I spent 4 years trying various pharmaceuticals for depression which not only didn't work, but the side effects and combinations of drugs made me feel completely disconnected from myself; it was so much worse than just the depression. It took me a long time to put my life and my sense of self back together after that experience and I won't be going down that road again. I know there are prescription meds that have been studied in pregnancy, but I've tried them in the past and had no luck then, so I am not going to take them now, for any reason. 


I do meditate regularly and eat good whole foods, and I exercise about an hour a day, but none of those things are working to help me stop this downward slide. 


That brings me to St. John's Wort. 


There are studies that suggest that St. John's Wort does not cause birth defects, so while it's still inconclusive that's not really my worry. 


What I am curious about is also a study which showed that the herb caused increased uterine tone, so many online sources say something like "theoretically this could cause pre-term labour" or something along those lines, but I have not been able to find reports of anyone who actually experienced pre-term labour while taking St. John's Wort. I haven't even found evidence of that happening in animal studies. 


I'd love it if I had a medical practitioner to ask about this, but there are no midwives available in my area and I can't afford to visit a naturopath as it's not covered by my health plan. I know my doctor would not approve of my taking St. John's Wort for the reason that there are no extensive studies showing that it is safe, and I don't want to ask him about it because I don't want to feel pressured into taking a prescription antidepressant. 


Anyway, has anyone here used St John's Wort? Does anyone have any additional information about whether it can actually cause pre-term labour?


Thanks very much. 


post #2 of 6

sorry, I don't have what you are looking fo. My midwife told me to get off of it as soon as I found out I was pregnant, and herbalist at pharmica told me the same thing so I did.

I hope you can find the information that you need but did want to suggest you look into placentophogy (the consuption of the placenta) for after the baby is born as it can be very very helpful in warding off depression.

post #3 of 6

I used it while pregnant, even though a friend told me not to. I went slightly past my due date, had an uncomplicated speedy labor, and there were no birth defects in the baby.


Pharmaceutical antidepressants never helped me either, and I am certainly more worried about birth defects from those, than herbs. But that's just me. Also, it is my experience that, in general, MD's will tell you not to take herbs.


For any emotional issues during pregnancy, I swear by omega 3s. Fish oil, flax, whatever.  I felt a tremendous difference taking them while pregnant - they evened out my emotional state.


Have you had your iron levels checked?  I experienced depression, fatigue, weight loss, and appetite loss with low iron levels. I like yellow dock syrup for that.


St. John's Wort is recommended in Aviva Romm's pregnancy book, in a tea formula, for anxiety, as well as a host of other symptoms during pregnancy. So, judging by that, and I value her wisdom greatly, I'd say it's generally OK. 


Also on lists of herbs NOT to take during pregnancy, I do not see St. John's Wort listed, so that says something.




I'm so sorry you're having such a rough time. You're in my thoughts, I hope you find relief soon.

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies and suggestions. 


I do take Omega-3s but I haven't had my iron levels checked, so that's a thought. Also the thing about eating the placenta. Weird, but the idea has crossed my radar a couple of times so I'll take a closer look at that for after the birth. 


Thanks also for the reference to Aviva Romm's book. I'll have a look!

post #5 of 6

Going on st. john's wort when my first child was small tanked my milk supply completely. It can inhibit prolactin. So if you do use it while pregnant (not something I'd recommend), be aware of the postpartum effects if you plan on nursing. 

post #6 of 6

Taking iron supplements was really helpful for me when I was pregnant...I took the floradix liquid, and it totally helped me feel less negative and overwhelmed.  I wasn't officially anemic, but my iron levels were low.  Also I took fish oil and evening primrose oil (although you shouldn't take that until you are very near your due date, of course).  And make sure you have enough iodine in your diet...


But anyway, floradix is great!  In orange juice!  I wish I had some right now.

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