If you've always been careful about what you eat, you might be taken aback to discover that some of the healthful seasonings you've added to the many salads you've eaten throughout the years can be deadly when ingested in pregnancy. It's probable that you never suspected that the common herb parsley could bring on miscarriage or birth defects. The seeds are the main culprit, but every part of the parsley plant should be placed on the pregnancy no-no list and can cause terrible harm to the developing fetus.
Parsley also has a powerful stimulating effect on muscles. The uterus is one such muscle. For this reason, parsley can trigger contractions and bring on miscarriage. Some herb practitioners believe that the dangers of parsley in pregnancy are overstated. They believe that only the most concentrated forms of this herb, such as in parsley oil, or as in the ingestion of a great deal of the fresh herb at one time, will cause these serious side effects. But they feel that modest amounts of parsley used in salads and in cooking present no danger whatsoever to pregnant women and their fetuses.
Despite the possible harmful effects on pregnancy, parsley has long been in use as a treatment for women after birth. Because parsley's unique property is to cause muscle contractions, it is helpful in returning the uterus to its pre-pregnancy size. These uterine contractions are linked to the production of the hormone prolactin, which plays a crucial role in lactation as well. Parsley is thought to help build up the maternal milk supply during the postpartum period.
In the case where a pregnancy is unwanted, parsley's strong muscle-stimulating properties can be welcome as an alternative to a medical abortion. The general method is for a woman to drink a parsley infusion four times a day and to place parsley sprigs into her vagina once every 12 hours. It is believed that this will bring on an abortion inside of three days.
Practitioners caution that women should not try to attempt a parsley-induced abortion alone but only in the company of an accomplished herbal practitioner. The main worry is that the pregnancy may be of the ectopic (tubal) variety. Such an induced abortion could, in such a case, prove fatal to the pregnant woman.
Though this article focuses on parsley in pregnancy, this fresh-tasting green herb is not the only one that should be avoided in pregnancy. It's best to consult an herbal practitioner to determine which herbs you should omit from your diet during pregnancy.