Is It Safe To Eat Chicory During Pregnancy?

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Chicory is a woody, herbaceous plant and is used as condimentsiXFood additives that impart flavor and enhance the taste of a dish in different foods. Often used as a caffeine-free option, you may want to consume chicory during pregnancy as a substitute for coffee since it has a similar taste. However, you may need to consider its benefits and possible side effects before adding it to your pregnancy diet. This post will tell you about chicory, including its benefits and harmful effects on pregnant women.

In This Article

What Is Chicory?

Chicory is a herbaceous, woody plant popular as the cousin to the dandelion. The herb is native to Europe, but it is cultivated all over the world. Chicory is also used as a flavoring agent in many food items. It is also used as a coffee substitute in some beverages, including some coffee beverages.

Several different parts of chicory, such as leaves, flowers, roots, and buds, provide many medicinal benefits and are often used in various natural remedies. The herb has a high nutritional value and contains some vitamins and minerals, such as iron and folate. So the right amount of the herb can be good for you (1).

Is It Safe To Eat Chicory During Pregnancy?

Consuming chicory during pregnancy can trigger uterine contractions
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Research and studies reveal that chicory is not safe to consume in large amounts while expecting. However, if there is no substitute, then you can have a word with your doctor and have a small amount of chicory in pregnancy.

Certain animal studies show chicory can control blood sugar levels and slow the progress of diabetes. Hence, if expecting women with gestational diabetes may consider taking this herb after consulting your doctor.

But remember, chicory is a strong uterine stimulant that can trigger uterine contractions, raising the risk of preterm labor. Also, excess intake of chicory can disrupt hormonal balance and potentially trigger menstruation during pregnancy, increasing the risk of miscarriage or abortion. Therefore, even if it offers many health benefits, you should avoid taking roasted chicory or drinking chicory tea during pregnancy.

Health Benefits Of Chicory During Pregnancy

High nutritional content in chicory can provide you many health and medicinal benefits during pregnancy even if you consume the herb in very small quantities.

1. Relieves Digestive Problems:

Chicory contains inulin, a strong probiotic that is beneficial for the digestive system health. So eating the herb helps you combat several digestive and intestinal problems, such as indigestion, constipation, heartburn, acid reflux, and acidity, during pregnancy (2).

2. Prevents Cancer:

Research reveals that chicory extract minimizes the tumor growth and prevents the risk of several kinds of cancers during pregnancy. The herb contains fructans that provide it antioxidantiXSubstances that may prevent or slow down cell damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals and anti-tumor properties. Also, phytochemicals and polyphenolsiXNaturally occurring antioxidant compounds found in plant-based food products in the herb aid in preventing the risk of development of colorectal and breast cancer while expecting (3).

3. Minimizes Arthritis Pain:

Chicory helps you obtain relief from joint soreness and aches
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Anti-inflammatory properties of chicory aid in minimizing pain resulting due to osteoarthritisiXA common degenerative form of arthritis caused when the tissues of the joints gradually break down due to overuse or physical damage during pregnancy. The herb helps you obtain relief from joint soreness, aches, and muscle pains effectively (4).

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Inulin in chicory may help in calcium absorption and improve bone mineral density (8).

4. Promotes Kidney Health:

You can use chicory root extract as an effective diureticiXA substance or medication used to expel excess water and salts through increased urine production during pregnancy. The herb promotes urination and aids in eliminating toxins from your kidney and liver. Thus chicory prevents the risk of water accumulation in your body while expecting (2).

5. Boosts Immunity:

Chicory may help strengthen the immune system and acts as an immunity booster during pregnancy. Antibacterial properties of the herb protect you from bacterial infections while expecting. Phytochemicals act as antioxidants and other nutrients prevent the risk of development of heart problems and other ailments while expecting (7).

In addition, moderate intake of chicory herbal tea as a part of a well-balanced diet can be a source of hydration and may have calming effects on the body. Moreover, chicory seed improves liver health, and alternative medicine uses it to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Furthermore, several folk remedies consider chicory juice beneficial for maintaining uterus health.

Side Effects Of Eating Chicory During Pregnancy

Itching is a common side effect of eating chicory when pregnant
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Even though there are several health benefits of consumption of chicory during pregnancy, its excess consumption can have certain side-effects, which may lead to pregnancy complications. Some of these common side effects include:

  • Sudden uterine contractionsiXPeriodic tightening of the uterus muscles during pregnancy or childbirth during pregnancy
  • Menstruation during pregnancy
  • Abortion or miscarriage
  • Skin inflammation
  • Itching
  • Appetite suppression
  • Substantial weight loss
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Fatigue
  • Bloating and gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Drowsiness
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Some sparse medical research suggests that people with gallstonesiXSmall, hardened deposits that accumulate in the gallbladder should not consume chicory (9).

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who should not consume chicory?

It’s not exactly clear as to what might trigger an adverse reaction. However, research suggests that people who are allergic to birch pollen, lettuce, or susceptible to skin conditions such as atopic dermatitisiXA skin condition characterized by red, dry, itchy, and inflamed skin could be more likely to have an allergic reaction when exposed to large amounts of chicory (6).

2. Is chicory toxic?

Chicory has been in use for a long time and is considered non-toxic. However, a few studies reveal that when consumed in highly concentrated forms, chicory might induce toxic reactions (2).

3. How does chicory affect blood sugar levels, and is it safe for pregnant women with gestational diabetes?

Studies indicate that chicory as a dietary supplement has direct effects in delaying the onset of diabetes and its complications (10).

Chicory is a herbaceous plant with several properties that can help promote digestive and kidney health and reduce arthritis pain. Therefore, consuming chicory is generally considered safe. However, its safety and efficacy during pregnancy is not well established. Also, just like other herbal supplements, its intake in large quantities during pregnancy is unsafe. Hence, consult your prenatal care provider to know if you can consume chicory during pregnancy. They will evaluate your and your unborn baby’s health and recommend a safe amount of the herb you may consume. You can also discuss with your doctor if you can consume chicory extract when pregnant.

Infographic: Benefits And Side Effects Of Chicory During Pregnancy

Chicory is known for its role in managing digestive problems and boosting immunity. However, like most foods and herbs, chicory may have advantages and disadvantages in pregnancy. Learn the benefits and risks of chicory for pregnant women to stay informed.

chicory for pregnant women (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

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Key Pointers

  • Chicory is a herbaceous, woody plant with medicinal benefits in its leaves, flowers, roots, and buds.
  • Consuming chicory in moderation can improve digestion, prevent cancer, reduce arthritis pain, promote kidney health, and boost immunity.
  • Large quantities of chicory can trigger uterine contractions and menstruation, leading to abortion.
  • During pregnancy, chicory may cause skin inflammation, appetite suppression, wheezing, fatigue, abdominal pain, weight loss, and other symptoms.
Chicory During Pregnancy_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

Learn about the benefits of adding chicory to your pregnancy diet with the help of this informational video.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Chicory.
  2. Barbara M. Schmidt et al. (2013); Toxicological evaluation of a chicory root extract.
  3. R Hughes and I R Rowland; (2001); Stimulation of apoptosis by two prebiotic chicory fructans in the rat colon.
  4. Daniel J. Leong et al. (2013); Nutraceuticals: Potential for Chondroprotection and Molecular Targeting of Osteoarthritis.
  5. Rama Sharma et al. (2014); Antimicrobial and anti-adherence activity of various combinations of coffee-chicory solutions on Streptococcus mutans: An in-vitro study.
  6. Rama Sharma et al. (2014); Antimicrobial and anti-adherence activity of various combinations of coffee-chicory solutions on Streptococcus mutans: An in-vitro study.
  7. Marie-Luise Puhlmann and Willem M de Vos; (2020); Back to the Roots: Revisiting the Use of the Fiber-Rich Cichorium intybus L. Taproots.
  8. Review of the Scientific Evidence on the Physiological Effects of Certain Non-Digestible Carbohydrates.
  9. Chicory.
  10. Abdolreza Ghamarian et al; (2012); Effect of chicory seed extract on glucose tolerance test (GTT) and metabolic profile in early and late stage diabetic rats
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