Why Ginger for Healthy Smoothies for Pregnancy and Postpartum
A Little Bit of Background on Ginger
Do you use ginger in your cooking? Do you keep a bottle of ginger powder in your spice cabinet? If so, you are probably familiar with, and perhaps really like, the warming taste of ginger. This warming and pungent flavor comes from the compound gingerol, which is responsible for the many beneficial effects of ginger. Yes, you heard that right – more than a flavorful spice, ginger has also been widely researched for its antioxidant, antimicrobial and antiemetic effect, to name a few. It also has long been used in traditional medicine systems in Turkey and many parts of Asia such as China and Thailand.
Information on Prenatal Smoothies and Ginger
While ginger has many wonderful health benefits, we’re going to focus on the clinical research surrounding the effects of ginger during pregnancy and postpartum. If you’re looking to make a healthy pregnancy smoothie that may support nausea, one option to try is the addition of ginger. Many studies support the beneficial effect of ginger on morning sickness:
- One Cochrane review looked at various interventions to nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Regarding ginger specifically, 7 studies with 578 women were reviewed. The review concluded that “the use of ginger product may be helpful to women”, with three recent studies all showing favorable outcomes of ginger over a placebo. However, because the seven studies didn’t evaluate the nausea and vomiting outcomes in a consistent manner, the authors concluded that effectiveness of ginger might be still limited and inconsistent.
- We view Cochrane Review as a trustworthy scientific source - Cochrane is a non-profit, independent research organization. We love how it critically assesses the quality of clinical trials to facilitate evidence-based choices.
- Another review published on JAMA, a highly impactful medical journal, also suggested that supplementing with ginger was associated with symptom relief for people with mild nausea and vomiting.
- This conclusion was reached from 35 randomized controlled trials at low risk of bias.
- An American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists review on nausea and vomiting of pregnancy concluded that treating nausea and vomiting with ginger is safe and effective.
Interested in learning more? Check out our blog on morning sickness to learn more about ginger and other potential remedies!
Postpartum Shakes and Ginger
Ginger smoothies are also a great option for a postpartum shake! Ginger is considered a natural galactagogue, something that may be a milk stimulant, in some traditional medicine systems.
Although multiple studies have looked at ginger’s effect on breast milk, according to Cochrane, only one of them is high-quality: A randomized controlled trial done in Thailand tested the effect of 500mg dried ginger capsules twice a day on 63 lactating people. The study design, data collection and analysis of this study have low risk of bias. The Finding: The group that received ginger produced significantly higher milk volume than the placebo group. However, despite the promising result, this study is the only high-quality randomized controlled trial on ginger and lactation.
Although commonly used in traditional medicine systems, more studies are needed before we can be confident that ginger can increase milk production. That said, ginger is “generally recognized as safe” by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, including during lactation.
Clinical studies generally supplemented ginger to lactating people in small amounts. As always, consult with your doctor before supplementing with ginger.
Takeaways from the nutrition experts at Lēto Foods, a frozen smoothie delivery company
Ginger is generally recognized as safe during pregnancy and lactation; however, you should always talk to your doctor. There is considerable clinical research supporting that ginger may alleviate nausea/vomiting during pregnancy. However, the research around lactation is limited.
If you are looking for foods with ginger – we offer two smoothies containing real ginger root! Check out our Ginger smoothie that tastes like banana bread, or our Greens healthy smoothie for pregnancy and postpartum to learn more!
Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is for educational purposes only, and does not substitute for medical advice. Always consult a medical professional or health care provider related to medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.
Yuchen He is a current student working towards her MS degree in nutrition at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and dietetic certificate at Simmons University. She graduated from Brandeis with a BS in biology and public health.