Cinnamon is a popular spice known for its delectable flavor and a pleasant aroma. The spice is also known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, and anti-diabetic properties (1). Many women may consider having cinnamon during pregnancy. But is the spice safe to consume in pregnancy?
Read on as we tell you about the safety, side effects, and benefits of having cinnamon during pregnancy.
Is Cinnamon Safe During Pregnancy?
Cinnamon is safe during pregnancy when taken in controlled amounts. For instance, you can use cinnamon as a flavoring agent to your beverage or dessert. But if you are adding it too much to your recipes or taking a high amount of cinnamon bark or cinnamon oil, it could lead to some adverse effects (2).
How Much Cinnamon Is Considered Safe When Pregnant?
One to six grams of cinnamon a day is considered safe for adults. However, there is no such daily recommended quantity given for pregnant women. Hence, it is suggested to take less than the normal permissible limits (3).
What Are The Health Benefits Of Cinnamon For Pregnant Women?
Here we can see what cinnamon in less quantity can do in pregnancy:
- Gestational diabetes: Certain studies have shown that cinnamon could potentially reduce the insulin requirements for women with gestational diabetes (3). However, this subject is still under clinical trials and need further research to validate the claim.
- Blood pressure: High blood pressure or hypertension during pregnancy is not uncommon. Unless there is a medical condition causing fluctuation in blood pressure, it is fairly manageable. Cinnamon has some favorable effects on lowering the blood pressure, provided it is taken in a limited amount (4).
- Nausea: Nausea and vomiting are the most common symptoms of pregnancy. Cinnamon used in certain formulations may have some relieving effects on these issues (5). As cinnamon is an unproven treatment, there isn’t a set dose. Some experts suggest two to four grams of powder a day. Some studies have used between one and six grams of cinnamon. Very high doses might be toxic.
Although cinnamon is known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, a few studies do not recommend it for expecting mothers.
What Are The Various Ways To Use Cinnamon?
High amount of cinnamon is not advised for pregnant women but you may have it in small quantities in the following ways (6):
- Drink cinnamon tea (however, not daily) where the cinnamon stick can be used as a flavoring agent.
- Use a pinch of cinnamon powder for seasoning desserts and baked goodies.
- Cinnamon is also an aromatic spice good for tempering recipes.
Do not miss out on the precautions before you head to relish the flavor of this spice.
What Are The Precautions To Follow While Taking Cinnamon?
Some aspects that you need to be careful about are:
- Avoid cinnamon oil in pregnancy because the safe dosage is not known. High doses may cause burning sensation. Also there are concerns of passing the toxicity to the baby (7).
- If you are at a high risk of miscarriage, then avoid cinnamon.
- Do not consume if you have cinnamon allergies.
- Pregnant women with obstetric disorders need to avoid cinnamon.
- Buy the best quality cinnamon sticks or powder to prevent any harmful additives.
However, every pregnancy is different and so is the recommendation for use. Consult a dietician if you are in doubt about using cinnamon.
What Are The Side Effects Of Cinnamon During Pregnancy?
When cinnamon is taken in exceeding limits, the following side-effects can be experienced.
- Cinnamon when taken in high doses works as an emmenagogue and can potentially increase the risk of uterine contractions and premature labor. (8).
- If you are taking antibiotics or any medications for medical conditions such as diabetes or heart ailments, then avoid cinnamon as it is known to have a blood thinning effect. This might result in excessive bleeding (9).
- Avoid taking cinnamon in supplement form. It could possibly lead to certain risks such as excessive perspiration, stomach disorders, increased heart rate, and fallen blood sugar levels (10).
Cinnamon during pregnancy should be consumed in a measured manner. It is best to take a nutritionist’s advice to understand the right quantity that can be taken. However, you must ensure to limit the use of cinnamon to flavoring or seasoning overall to cut down its consumption gradually. But if you figure out that even less quantity of cinnamon is not working for you or causing you concern, then it is better to avoid it completely until delivery.
- Cinnamon in moderate amounts is safe during pregnancy. However, excess intake may trigger some adverse effects.
- Pregnant women can benefit from cinnamon since it may reduce nausea, blood pressure, and gestational diabetes provided it is taken in limited amounts.
- You may use cinnamon to temper recipes, season desserts, and add flavor to other food items.
2. G. Bruno; Cinnamon: A Supplement for Diabetes, Body Composition, Cardiovascular Health & Antioxidant Protection; Huntington College of Health Sciences (2009)
3. G. Graham, E. B. Johnson, A. Johnson, R. Anderson, and P. Devine; Cinnamon for glycemic control in gestational diabetes: A randomized double-blind placebo controlled pilot study; American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (2005)
4. Akilen R et al., Effect of short=term administration of cinnamon on blood pressure in patients with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes (2013)
5. E. Yarnell; The medicinal uses of cinnamon; Integrative Medicine (2010)
6. J. Liu; Is Cinnamon Good For You?; The Whole U University of Washington (2016)
7. Cinnamon; Health Library: Winchester Hospital
8. Inducing a Menstrual Period Naturally with Emmenagogue Foods & Herbs; Health with Food
9. Cassia Cinnamon; The University of Iowa
10. Jeanna Morshead-Metelica; THE IMPACT OF CINNAMON ON GLUCOSE LEVELS AND ALCOHOL CRAVINGS IN EARLY RECOVERY; University of Wisconsin (2012)