The recent discovery that you are pregnant may bring equal parts excitement and worry. One of the most common worries among pregnant women is miscarriage, or the loss of the baby. Your obstetrician is a useful resource in learning more about what to avoid to reduce your risk of miscarriage. Peppermint oil is one substance that you may need to avoid while expecting. Educating yourself and talking to your doctor about this product will help you make the best decisions for you and your unborn baby.
The spontaneous loss of a baby before 20 weeks gestation is referred to as a miscarriage. MayoClinic.com reports that between 15 and 20 percent of all pregnancies end with a miscarriage. Your day-to-day activities are likely not the cause of a miscarriage; it can occur as a result of genetic abnormalities or because your unborn baby is not developing normally. Less often, the health of the mother may contribute to a miscarriage. Symptoms of a miscarriage include vaginal spotting or bleeding, lower back and abdominal cramping and the passage of tissue from the vagina. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately.
Peppermint Oil Information
Peppermint is used to flavor foods and beverages, but the oil is also used as a treatment for irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions that effect the gastrointestinal tract. The menthol in peppermint oil is also used as a treatment for respiratory tract infections and as a topical treatment for pain. Jean Carper, author of "Miracle Cures," notes that the menthol in peppermint oil is what increases your risk of a miscarriage. Drugs.com reports that peppermint oil has emmenagogue capabilities, which means that it may stimulate blood flow to your uterus, which is often used to stimulate menstruation, but can also lead to a miscarriage.
Products with Peppermint
Peppermint oil is available in pure form and is often applied to the skin to help relieve the pain associated with headaches and toothaches. It is also used to treat muscle and nerve pain and may help repel mosquitoes. Peppermint oil is often added to foods and beverages, such as candy canes and tea, as well. Certain health and beauty products, such as soap, may also contain peppermint oil.
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The National Institutes of Health reports that the amount of peppermint found in foods is likely safe for pregnant women. Peppermint candy and peppermint tea contain small amounts of peppermint oil, but likely not enough to become a problem. The use of pure peppermint oil is not recommended during pregnancy because of the link between the oil and the risk of miscarriage. Speak with your doctor if you have concerns about anything in your diet, or avoid anything containing peppermint until you deliver if it helps ease your miscarriage worries.
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.