Cinnamon and Pregnancy: Safety, Benefits, and Precautions

Cinnamon is a sweet and savory spice that can enhance the flavor of many drinks…

Cinnamon is a sweet and savory spice that can enhance the flavor of many drinks and dishes. You might sprinkle some over cookies and cake, or add a little to your coffee.

However, cinnamon doesn’t only complement the foods you enjoy. It also has health benefits due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Because cinnamon is a powerful spice, you may wonder whether it’s safe during pregnancy. Here’s the good news: It is, as long as you keep a couple of things in mind.

You know that some foods are off-limits when you’re pregnant. These include high mercury fish, raw eggs, and undercooked meats. Fortunately, cinnamon isn’t on the list.

This is good news if you use cinnamon as a flavoring ingredient. Still, while it’s safe to consume in moderation, too much cinnamon can cause adverse side effects, including gastrointestinal problems, liver damage, and mouth sores.

Regarding how much cinnamon is safe to consume per day, there aren’t any official guidelines for those who are pregnant or lactating — nor does there appear to be an established safe recommendation for non-pregnant people.

One study in 60 people with diabetes observed that those who consumed 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon daily for 40 days had significantly lower fasting blood sugar levels.

Nevertheless, no long-term studies have proven a safe daily dosage, and it’s best to use cinnamon sparingly as a spice.

Although cinnamon is safe, moderation is key.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, cinnamon may not be safe if you’re pregnant and you eat more than the amount typically found in foods.

Therefore, it’s likely fine to eat meals, cookies, and pastries prepared with cinnamon.

However, as a precaution, avoid taking cinnamon supplements. Given that there’s no definitive safe intake level during pregnancy, supplementation could result in overconsumption.

Consuming cinnamon while pregnant may offer various potential health benefits, including:

May help lower the risk of infection

Pregnancy can weaken your immune system, putting you at an increased risk of catching a cold, the flu, and other infections. Interestingly, cinnamon can help strengthen your immune system and promote good health.

Cinnamon contains antioxidants like polyphenols that help your body fight free radicals, which are molecules that can damage your body’s cells and cause illness. Antioxidants can boost immune function and help protect your body against bacterial and fungal infections.

May help with inflammation

Pregnancy can take a physical toll on your body and put extra stress on your joints. This can lead to pain and swelling.

Cinnamon acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, potentially reducing inflammation throughout your body to help relieve joint pain and muscle aches.

May contribute to lower blood pressure

Limited evidence also suggests that cinnamon can improve your systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels.

In one study researchers found that cinnamon caused a noticeable reduction in blood pressure in adults with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Blood sugar control is important during pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gestational diabetes affects as many as 10 percent of pregnancies in the United States each year.

It occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin during pregnancy, causing blood sugar levels to become unstable. The polyphenols in cinnamon may help regulate blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity, allowing the body to use glucose more effectively.

Maybe you’ve heard that cinnamon tea can induce labor, but is this true?

If you’re past your due date, you might welcome any trick to naturally stimulate labor contractions. This includes eating spicy foods, taking walks, and perhaps drinking cinnamon tea.

But unfortunately, no evidence supports the notion that cinnamon tea induces labor. This tea is safe to drink during pregnancy in moderation, so go ahead and enjoy a cup. But as far as the tea jump-starting labor — don’t get your hopes up.

It’s possible to have an adverse reaction to cinnamon. In some people it may even cause an allergic reaction, which is characterized by an itchy mouth or tongue, skin rash, or difficulty breathing.

Consuming too much cinnamon may also induce heartburn or indigestion.

Furthermore, keep in mind that cinnamon can lower your platelet count. As such, don’t consume the spice if you take blood-thinning medication. Doing so can increase the risk of bleeding during delivery — even more so if you have a cesarean section.

Since there’s little research on the safety and risks of cinnamon during pregnancy, the important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t consume too much.

Whether you sprinkle a little over cookies, pastries, or your morning coffee, the sweet, savory flavor of cinnamon is a treat to the taste buds.

The potential health benefits of cinnamon can promote a healthy pregnancy. Yet, too much of a good thing may be harmful, so moderating your intake is important.