Butterbur and Breastfeeding

No research has been performed on butterbur and breastfeeding, so it is not known whether such products are safe or unsafe for nursing women and their infants. However, butterbur may contain potentially toxic substances that could cause liver damage, lung damage, cancer, or birth defects. Before using the supplement, breastfeeding women should talk to their healthcare provider about any potential risks.

Is Butterbur Safe While Breastfeeding?

In general, butterbur is not considered safe for use while breastfeeding. Therefore, do not take this supplement while nursing without first checking with your healthcare provider.
 
No research has been done to see if butterbur is safe for women who are breastfeeding or their infants. However, there is a theoretical risk due to toxic substances called alkaloids found naturally in butterbur. These alkaloids may increase the risk of liver damage, lung damage, cancer, and even birth defects.
 
Some butterbur supplements have been purified to remove the toxic alkaloids, thus eliminating the risks they present to a breastfeeding woman or her child. However, other components of the herb could still cause problems. Until more information is known, even these purified supplements should not be considered safe for use during breastfeeding.
 
Breastfeeding often limits the prescription and non-prescription drugs that a woman can take. As a result, women often seek safe alternatives, sometimes assuming that herbal supplements are always safe. This is simply not the case. Herbal supplements can be marketed in the United States without any evidence that they are safe (or even effective) for anyone, including breastfeeding women. It should never be assumed that natural products are automatically safe for women who are nursing.
 

Talking With Your Healthcare Provider

You should talk with your healthcare provider about butterbur and breastfeeding. Each woman's situation is different, and you and your healthcare provider understand your situation best. After considering what you want and expect, as well as your current health situation, the two of you can make a shared decision that is right for you.
 
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