As a city parent, it’s not unusal for a little self-doubt to creep in when half of your mommy group starts fleeing to the ‘burbs. “Will my child be well-adjusted if we stay in this glorious but mad city?” “Will he or she reach her full potential?” The answer: absolutely. Which is reassured every time you meet that native New Yorker that’s totally well-adjusted and has reached her full potential...and more. Especially when she’s geeked out about raising her own babies here. We recently spent some time with not just one but two native New Yorkers, who are now expecting their own native New Yorker: husband and wife power couple Deirdre Maloney, co-founder of international tradeshow Capsule Show and top PR firm BPMW Agency, and Noah Callahan-Bever, chief content officer for Complex Media. After bumping into each other at various work and friend functions for almost a decade without much more than a nod, they finally connected over a friend’s Christmas dinner in December 2013. Their first little girl is due this spring. We dropped by their gorgeous Chelsea apartment to chat with Deirdre about her career, pregnancy and raising her babe in the city. Check out her top 5 registry picks, and once you’re done reading, hop on over to Instagram where Deirdre’s taken over our feed! In what part of NYC did you guys grow up? I was born in Chelsea but grew up mostly in Brooklyn Heights. Noah was born in The Netherlands, but moved to NYC at age 5 and grew up in the Wall Street area. We went to rival high schools in Brooklyn. How did you tell your husband that you were pregnant? I just blurted it out! We had just decided that month to throw caution to the wind and not use birth control, so when my period was a day late (which is not uncommon for me), I picked up 10 pregnancy tests on my way home, figuring every month I would think I was pregnant (and likely not be). When the double blue line appeared, my eyes nearly popped out of my head. Noah came home shortly thereafter, and in my complete state of disbelief, it did register with me that I hadn’t considered how I would tell him. So, nothing cute--an hour into recapping our day, I finally just said, “I took a pregnancy test and it says I’m pregnant, and I think we should take more because maybe it’s wrong, but I wanted to wait for you," or something crazy like that. Since you both grew up here, how does that make you feel about raising a child here? We are really pro raising kids in NYC. The city is such a mecca of art, culture, entertainment, history, landmarks, sports, etc. Kids in the city receive a cultural education every time they walk out the door. Whether we want our kids to learn French, Spanish, Mandarin or Arabic, it’s all easily accessible here. If our kid is studying ancient Egypt in grade school, some NYC museum will have an Egypt exhibit. There is no limit to the availability of various extracurricular activities (for kids or adults!). You can’t put a price on being exposed to the diversity that New York City offers, from birth. So much narrow-mindedness and hatred in the world stems from the unknown. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I don’t know what I wanted to be when I was a little kid, but by high school I was convinced I would be the first woman President of the Unites States. Clearly, my parents instilled a lot of confidence in me. I graduated from Georgetown with a BA in Political Science, and also interned for my Congressman for two summers, but I was quickly disenchanted by, well, the “the politics” of government, so intern is as far as I got. How did you end being the co-founder of Capsule and BPMW? The summer before my senior year in college I interned at Bloomingdale’s in their buying office, and I really liked it. Having tried multiple internships besides the Congressman’s office (a law firm, a Top 5 financial institution, etc.), this was the first job that I actually looked forward to. I realized for the first time how important it was for me to have a blend of business/numbers and creativity in whatever I was going to do. Bloomingdale’s was great in that it got me into the business of fashion, put me in a position where I got a really good overview of the market, made really good contacts, and learned the basics of running a business. However I quickly learned that working for someone else was not really for me, and started plotting my foray into entrepreneurship. I came up with a bunch of bad ideas…but ultimately, along with my two business partners, came up with BPMW, and haven’t looked back since! Who are some of your biggest influences in your career? First and foremost, hands down, my dad. He has an amazing business mind and has been a great sounding board throughout my career despite having very little connection to the fashion world. He always seems to know the right answer, and if he doesn’t know, he knows someone who does, and can get them on the phone very quickly. My sister and I both call him for work-related advice all the time, and so do some of our friends. Also, being the men’s buyer for emerging designers at Bloomingdale’s was really pivotal for me because I was surrounded by entrepreneurs--the designers who were selling me their clothes. I was very inspired by their courage to believe in themselves and just go for it. How does NYC influence your work/life flow? NYC is extremely fast-paced. Since I grew up here, that seems really normal to me, and I thrive in high-paced, high-pressure environments. It’s important that my apartment serve as a haven where I can rest and recharge but…I can’t sit still for too long; NYC offers a million reasons not to and I appreciate that immensely. What helps you decompress after a long day? A good intense workout or the exact opposite; a glass or three of wine (pre-pregnancy, obviously) and a delicious meal. What life lessons as a woman have you learned that you hope to pass on to your daughter? There are so many, but one that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately (for obvious reasons) is to try to fully experience life before parenthood so that you feel ready to be more selfless. Travel the world, try new things, fail at some, succeed at others, change and evolve, take up new hobbies, really know yourself and be selfish for long enough so that after a while, being selfish gets kind of boring. What has surprised you about your pregnancy? It really is such a rollercoaster. And such different rollercoaster for everyone who goes through it! I think I’ve had a relatively easy pregnancy compared to some of my friends, and for that I’m grateful. But still, the first 15 weeks or so I was pretty miserable; nauseous, exhausted, worried about the baby's health and about balancing work and family, feeling super emotional and needy (both somewhat foreign feelings to me) and feeling kind of isolated because we weren’t telling many people yet. Little by little, I started to feel better, and by around week 21 had relaxed into and embraced it wholeheartedly. The process is just so damn amazing; feeling her kick and watching my belly grow as Noah and I plan for our very different joint future is awesome. I feel so fortunate that it came relatively easily, and so lucky to be on the brink of being a mother. At around the 5-month point, I stopped obsessing about pregnancy and started obsessing about childbirth, which is scary and exciting. The thought of delivering this rapidly growing person makes a part of me want to stay pregnant forever, but now it’s getting tougher to sleep, and I can see that as I get closer to my due date, I’ll probably be less comfortable and ready to get the show on the road. How has your style changed since becoming pregnant? Not too much. Just longer shirts to cover the stretch panels in my maternity jeans, which I might just wear forever. Stretchy waistbands = never having to unbutton your pants after a delicious dinner. I still dress up a lot, and dress down depending on my mood. Leggings, turtleneck and Timberlands one day, dress and heels the next. Any brands maternity or non that you feel are working for you? I bought a bunch of Splendid long sleeve extra long t-shirts early on and wear those all the time under sweaters, blazers or just solo. For maternity jeans, I’ve really liked Paige and J Brand. But pretty much anything stretchy and cotton is my friend. What are you most nervous about? It changes all the time, but beyond the normal fear of anything health-related, I want to make sure we don’t raise a little jerk. The instinct is to give your kid everything you can because you love them so much. But you don’t want to end up raising spoiled brats with no ambition or sense of value. Finding the middle ground that I think Noah and my parents did, where you shower your kid with love but also teach them that they have to work for things, and appreciate things, and value things, is really important to me. Photography by Jonica Moore Studio
As the saying goes, "failing to prepare is preparing to fail," and that seriously applies to parenting. With no fewer than one dozen items to wrangle before walking out the door on an ordinary errand, mamas have plenty on their mind. That is why one of the very best gifts you can give the mamas in your life this year is to reduce her mental load with some gear she can depend on when she's out and about.
Although it may be impossible to guarantee completely smooth outings with kids in tow, here are the items we rely on for making getting out of the house less of a chore.
1. Bugaboo Bee 5 stroller
This stroller is a dream come true for any mama on the go. (Meaning: All of us!) Lightweight, compact and easy to maneuver with just one hand, this is made for navigating busy sidewalks with ease—or just fitting in the trunk without a major wrestling match. It's designed for little passengers to love just as much, too, with a bassinet option for newborn riders that can be easily swapped with a comfy, reclining seat that can face forward or backward for bigger kids.
2. Bugaboo wheel board
This wheel board will let big brother or sister easily hitch a ride on the stroller if their little legs aren't quite up for a full walk. We love the smart details that went into the design, including a slightly offset position so Mom or Dad can walk without bumping their legs. And because toddlers have strong opinions of their own, it's brilliant that the wheel board allows them to sit or stand.
3. Nuby Keepeez cup strap
If you know a little one gearing up for the major leagues with a killer throwing arm, this is a must-have so parents aren't buying new sippy cups on a weekly basis. Perfect for tethering to high chairs, strollers, car seats and shopping carts, it allows Mama to feel confident she'll return home with everything she left with in the first place.
4. Bugaboo footmuff
For those mamas who live anywhere where the temps regularly dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter, this ultra-soft, comfortable footmuff is a lifesaver. Made with water-repellant microfleece, it keeps little ones dry and cozy—whether there is melting snow, a good drizzle or simply a spilled sippy cup.
5. Bugaboo stroller organizer
Because we know #mombrain is no joke, we are all for products that will help us stay organized—especially when out and about. With multiple zipper pockets, a sleek design and velcro straps that help it easily convert to a handbag when stepping away from the stroller, it helps keep essentials from spare diapers to the car keys within reach.
6. Bugaboo Turtle car seat
It may be called a car seat, but we love that this one is specifically designed to securely click into a stroller frame, too. (Meaning there is no need to wake up a sleeping baby for a car-to-stroller transfer!) More reasons to love it are the lightweight design, UPF 50+ sun protection shade and Merino wool inlay, meaning it's baby and mama friendly.
7. Chicco QuickSeat hook-on chair
This hook-on baby chair will almost certainly earn a spot on your most-used list. Perfect for dining out or simply giving your baby a space to sit, it's portable and beyond easy to install. (Plus, it's a great alternative to those questionably clean high chairs at many restaurants!)
8. Bugaboo stroller cup holder
Chasing after kids when out and about can work up a thirst, just like neighborhood strolls in the chillier months can get, well, chilly. So we love that this cup holder will help mama keep something for herself to drink close at hand. Designed to accommodate bottles of all sizes and easy to click onto any compatible stroller, it's a perfect stocking stuffer.
9. Bugaboo soft wool blanket
Fair warning with this luxe stroller blanket: It's so cozy that you might want to buy another one for yourself! Made with Merino wool that helps it stand up to any elements parents might encounter during an outing, it will help baby stay warm during the winter and cool enough as the temps start to pick up.
10. Munchkin silicone placemats
Made to roll and stow in a diaper bag, these silicone placemats will make dining out a (relatively) less messy experience. With raised edges that will help contain spills and a grippy bottom, they will stay in place on tables so that parents might be able to enjoy their own meals, too.
11. Bugaboo Breezy seat liner
Designed to keep baby warm when it's cool and cool when it's warm, this seat liner will minimize fusses during all seasons—which is one of the very best gifts you can give a mama. Because accidents of all types can happen on the go, we also love that this seat liner is reversible! With a number of colors, it's also a fun way to help a stroller to stand out at the playground.
12. OXO Tot Handy stroller hook
If you ever catch yourself thinking it would be nice to have another hand, these stroller clips are the next-best solution for when you are out and about. Perfect for lugging a bag or anchoring a cup, you'll want a set for every stroller you own.
This article was sponsored by Bugaboo. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.
"Where do babies come from?" is a question that can strike dread in the minds of parents everywhere. No matter how you slice it, telling your kids the story of their conceptions can be tricky...and when you conceived via assisted reproductive technology? Well, that can add a whole new layer of complexity.
But author Tess Kossow has found a way to tell the story behind her son's in vitro fertilization conception—and the best part? She's letting other parents who turned to this technology use her words.
Kossow knows all too well how intricate the IVF process really is. The mother sought out fertility treatments after a year of trying to conceive. She and her husband began the process with two viable embryos—and while the first embryo implanted she later suffered a miscarriage. The second embryo became Kossow's son, Ferris, who was born in April of 2018.
It's so important to normalize the IVF process, and Kossow is doing just that—she's showing parents who have opted for IVF treatments and their children that their stories are worth telling. Kossow has written the IVF story in the form of a children's book called I'm Very Ferris.
"I wanted to go with something that would resonate [with little children] and get across the point of IVF," Kossow tells People. "It's a rhyming book. The pictures speak a thousand words. I thought I would do this through a child telling the story, instead of having the mom or dad tell the story."
But giving children a better understanding of the IVF process isn't the only goal that motivates Kossow's work. She's also committed to sending an important message about miscarriages to the women who have suffered them.
"It's not your fault. There's nothing you could have done," she says, according to People. "I've come to realize from firsthand experience just how in depth pregnancy is. And how much it truly can be a miracle to carry a baby and to deliver a baby, and have a healthy baby."
This is so important—because families come together in a variety of ways, and all of those ways are viable and worth understanding. Giving families who have come together thanks to IVF this kind of representation is so necessary. And we applaud this mama for taking this step. You can buy I'm Very Ferris here.
Car seat safety is understandably an obsession for many parents. We want our children to be as safe as possible so we pay close attention to the recommendations of car seat manufacturers, pediatricians and experts. We make sure our child is in the safest seat and position for their size and when our car seats expire we dutifully dispose of them instead of passing them down to our younger children, friends or charities.
Every parent knows that car seats have expiration dates—but why do they? What studies and tests prompted manufacturers and safety advocates to make this rule?
Could we be throwing away tons of perfectly good car seats?
Those are the questions that journalist Adam Minter set out to uncover while writing his book, Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale. The answers he got didn't satisfy him, and suggest that car seat expiration dates are more about increasing consumption than increasing protection.
A father himself, Minter was well aware of the fact that car seats have expiration dates when, in the course of reporting for Secondhand, he found himself at a used goods outlet in Tucson where secondhand car seats were being sent over the border to Mexico. Concerned that unsafe car seats may be putting children in other countries in danger, Minter decided to dig into the story—but what he uncovered was the opposite of what he thought he was chasing.
"There is no law prohibiting the sale of secondhand car seats post expiration or before," Minter tells Motherly.
There is no law, Minter learned, because there is nothing proving that age alone makes a car seat unsafe.
Minter reached out to numerous car seat manufacturers and retailers expecting that they would be able to point him to a specific study or testing protocol used to determine when and why car seats expire. But he didn't get a clear answer. Most companies did not reply or declined to comment.
He tells Motherly he was stunned that companies that use expiration dates on their products and marketing were unable to substantiate the claim that car seats degrade to the point of being unsafe after six years of existence.
Neither Minter or Motherly could uncover a specific study that is the basis of this rationale. The United States Highway Transportation Safety Administration says there is no regulation prohibiting parents from using an expired car seat, but on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's website, parents are advised "The seat has labels stating date of manufacture and model number. You need this information to find out if there is a recall on the car seat or if the seat is too old."
It states that:
"Manufacturers give an expiry or useful life date because over time:
- Frequent use and exposure to sunlight can damage and weaken plastic;
- Safe-use labels on the products fade or become hard to read;
- Instruction manuals have likely been lost;
- Food, cleaners, drinks and other materials that have been spilled or used on webbing, buckles, adjusters and other parts may prevent them from working safely;
- The history or condition of the car seat or booster seat becomes hard to check (was it in a crash, was it stored in a place or in a way that caused damage to parts, etc.?);
- Safety regulations and standards may have changed, so safer products may now be on the market; and
- Second or subsequent owners may not get product safety recall notices if problems arise."
There is research to backup the first point. Exposure to sunlight can indeed damage plastic, but neither Minter nor Motherly were able to find any research that specifically looked at car seats, and how the plastic used in them might degrade when subjected to standard use in vehicles.
"We should actually have data available on the relative safety or unsafety of a secondhand car seat that, say sat in a car for 5 years in sunlight and one that's totally new. And yet, if [manufacturers have] done those tests, for whatever reason, they're not willing to disclose them," Minter tells Motherly.
As for the rest of the Canadian list, the reasons listed do not apply to every car seat or situation. A family that is considering reusing their own car seat for a second or third child would know if it has ever been in a collision and how it was stored. The parents would know how often the car seat was cleaned and would either have the instruction manual or access to an online version.
As we've noted, government agencies in the United States and Canada do discourage parents from using expired car seats, and in these countries it is common for used car seats to be shredded or sent to the landfill, expired or not. But in some other countries, the use of used car seats is viewed as perfectly acceptable and is actually encouraged.
Sweden has a remarkably low rate of child fatalities related to vehicles. The country is very seriously trying to reduce the rate to zero, and yet the director of traffic safety and sustainability at the Swedish Transport Administration, Maria Krafft, has publicly stated that used car seats are fine to use.
Krafft put Minter in contact with Professor Anders Kullgren of the Karolinska Institutet and the Chalmers University of Technology, who replied: "We have the same experience in Sweden. Manufacturers of child restraints (and other safety equipment such as bicycle and motorcycle helmets) tell their customers to buy a new product after a certain period of time, often relatively short. We can't see any evidence to justify that from what we have seen in real-world crashes."
Kullgren went on to say that he has access to car seats that are over 20 years old and has not seen any degradation in the plastic.
In an era when parents are extremely concerned about reducing consumption and carbon footprints, should so many car seats be thrown away, especially when there are parents struggling to afford car seats in the first place?
Perhaps it is time for parents to consider not throwing away or recycling their car seats, but passing them on to another parent. Minter was initially worried about the safety of children when he saw used American seats headed to Mexico, but now he is worried about the saftey of children who would be safer in an inexpensive secondhand seat than none at all.
[Motherly has contacted government agencies, retailers and car seat manufacturers and will update our coverage when more information is available.]
Winter is coming, mama. Okay, sorry for the pun, but winter is really coming considering a good chunk of the country is now feeling polar temperatures this week. But don't worry, we've you got covered (literally).
I did extensive research on cozy boots and coats for the upcoming season that are practical and will keep you looking stylish so you don't have to go into an internet frenzy search once the snow hits the ground. I've also included some maternity styles for those of you who are pregnant this winter (like me) and need to keep their bump covered. Plus there are some for the kids, too!
These are the coziest boots and coats our team is buying this winter:
J.Crew Nordic boots
I got these when I was pregnant with my first because I was really terrified of slipping on ice, but also wanted to look stylish and let me tell you, they were a hit. That was two seasons ago and mine are still in great shape. Each boot comes with two pairs of shoelaces so you can dress them up or down depending on your mood (and outfit!) They are super warm and look cute with pants or dresses.
Sperry saltwater shiny quilted boots
These Sperry boots will have you jumping in puddles with your kids without getting your toes cold. They are fully waterproof, have micro-fleece lining on the inside for extra warmth and a zipper for putting them on and taking them off easily.
Garnet Hill kids wool slippers
These wool slippers will keep the tiniest feet around warm and protected. Plus, they come in a variety of fun animals that will keep any baby entertained.
The North Face ThermoBall™ vest
This vest is ideal for layering on really cold days, as it is super thin but mega warm. It's also great to wear as an outer layer when you go out running since it won't get in your way. Also, it's designed to be packed into one of its pockets, making it great for travel or putting away when the warmer days come our way.
J.Crew Chateau parka
If you are looking for a pop of color during the dark days, these parkas from J.Crew come in vibrant colorways. They are super warm, stylish and practical—I still haven't found a coat that has better designed pockets as this one. The price is steep but I've had mine for almost four seasons now and it's still in rotation because the quality is so good.
Dr. Martens fur-lined boots
I've been wearing Dr. Martens since I was in high school (not the same pair, but almost) and I cannot speak highly enough about their quality and resistance. These shoes are made to last you forever and endure all types of weather. These are my fave because they are fur-lined inside to keep your toes warm and require no laces to tie, which is ideal when you are super pregnant.
Bog kids boots
These rubber and neoprene boots will let your kids splash around in all and every puddle without worrying about their feet getting cold and wet. They are also super durable and light so they can be passed on to younger siblings.
Kylie metallic hooded puffer coat
This is a head-turner jacket and I'm obsessed with it. I's water-resistant and comes with thumb holes to make sure the sleeves keep you warm and covered. Plus, it's on sale right now!
J.Crew Chateau puffer jacket
This puffer is everything. The colors are bright and cool, the design is amazing and the hood comes lined so you won't need to carry a hat that will definitely mess up your hair and give you static. It's inspired by the wool coat mentioned above, but what's even better about this one is that it's filled with eco-friendly "PrimaLoft," meaning each coat keeps 15 plastic bottles out of oceans and landfills.
Orolay down jacket (the most-wanted jacket on Amazon)
This puffer is a hit on Amazon with more than 7,000 reviews that say it's a 4-star coat. Literally every influencer has had this coat and there is a reason why it's a bestseller every winter. It comes in six cool colors that are easy to dress up or down.
Orolay children's hooded down coat
Plus you can also match with your little ones since Orolay just launched the kids' version of the Insta-famous jacket.
Lamo kids classic boot
This is one of Lamo's all-time popular boots. It comes in three neutral colors that are easy to match with any outfit and the exterior is suede, while the interior is soft and comfortable for tiny toes to wiggle in and stay warm.
Native shoes lhotse boots
These boots by Native (yes the brand your kids love) are just amazing. They are wind- and water-resistant while also being super duper light and soft. The faux-fur lining keeps toes warm and they don't have laces. Plus, I kind of love how they look like astronaut shoes.
Penfield kirby jacket
If you are looking for a jacket that can be worn every day with any outfit, this one is it since black is the easiest color to dress up or down. It's fully insulated for the cold and wet days. The pockets are also fleece lined so no need for gloves (as long as you keep your hands in there!)
Bird Rock Baby moccasins
These baby moccasins are just the cutest out there. Great for the littlest ones in the family to look stylish with some tights or while hanging out at home playing. There are colors and patterns for everyone's taste and the quality is outstanding.
Elora maxi puffer coat
If you are going for a full coverage look, this long coat is for you. Sure, it looks like a sleeping bag with feet, but there is no denying that you will be warm, cozy and dry while wearing it. Plus, the 5-star rating from 215 other people means that you can't go wrong.
Native shoes johnny treklite
An alternative to the classic Timberlands, these Native Shoes boots come in a super cute light pink to lighten up any outfit you put together. It has a rugged tread to prevent slips and falls while still being comfortable inside.
Canada Goose trillium parka
If you are looking for a major investment this is the jacket for you. It's made for extreme weathers and will keep you warm and dry regardless of what you are wearing underneath it. It's built to last, I've had mine for over six years now and it's still like brand new.
Timberland jayne waterproof teddy fleece boots
These Timberlands are a more feminine version of the classic and iconic boots. It's fully waterproof, although since it's nobuk I would take super good care of them to keep them looking as pristine as day one. Inside is a soft fleece lining to keep your feet cozy. They can be worn folded down to show off the fleece or rolled up for extra warmth.
J.Crew leather mid-calf high-heel boots
If you're looking for boots that will dress up any outfit, these leather ones by J.Crew are a total hit. They are comfortable and will pair well with just about anything in your closet.
Patagonia fleece pullover
This fleece pullover is perfect for layering under a coat in really cold days. The colors are super cute and the brand is known for its great quality so you'll have this for years to come.
Stonz kids boots
These boots are awesome for kids all ages because they're easy to put on and take off, keep feet super dry and warm and won't get in the way of playing with the snow. My son loves them!
Universal jacket extender
If you, like me, don't want to buy a maternity winter coat that you will only wear for a couple of months, you can get this jacket extender that allows your belly to fit in any of your favorite coats without issues. Bonus points for turning any jacket into a suitable one to also baby wear once baby is out in the world.
We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.
Herbal remedies have been used for centuries to treat huge variety of ailments and for health promotion purposes. But when you become pregnant, it is essential to know which herbs are safe and which herbs to avoid because whatever we ingest (food-born illness, for example) is shared by the growing baby and that includes herbs.
While most of us think of herbs as remedies for various health concerns, and even to help your fertility, once you become pregnant, if you're still on an herb regimen, it's crucial you consult with your doctor immediately. Studies have found that some herbs may cause miscarriage, premature contractions and birth, and fetal harm.
While you should discuss all herb and supplement usage with your provider. there are a few herbs that are definite no's.
Here are five herbs to avoid during pregnancy.
1. Saw palmetto
Saw palmetto comes from a small palm tree, native to the eastern U.S., has been used for chronic pelvic pain, bladder disorders, decreased sex drive, hair loss, hormone imbalances, and prostate cancer. The ripe fruit of saw palmetto is used in several forms, including ground and dried fruit or whole berries. It is available as liquid extracts, tablets, capsules, and as an infusion or a tea.
When used orally, saw palmetto contributes to hormonal activity and during pregnancy, a disruption of hormonal balance could result in pregnancy complications.
Ephedra is an evergreen shrub-like plant native to central Asia and Mongolia. It also grows in the southwestern U.S. In China, people have used ephedra for centuries to alleviate colds, fever, flu, headaches, asthma, nasal congestion and wheezing.
Outside of short-term weight loss, ephedra's effectiveness is weak, and one known side effect is increased blood sugar levels. During pregnancy, this could lead to gestational diabetes. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
There are nine species of Echinacea, all of which are native to North America. Echinacea is used as a dietary supplement for the common cold and other infections with hopes to boost your immune system to more effectively fight the infection or symptoms associated with the infection. Many studies have been done on echinacea and the common cold. The most common side effects of echinacea are digestive tract symptoms, such as nausea or stomach pain.
In addition, in very small amounts, echinacea purpura was noted to have ill effects on the sperm and egg—primarily a reduced ability of sperm to penetrate egg.
4. Black cohosh
Black cohosh is a plant native to North America. Currently, people use black cohosh as a dietary supplement for hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms. While research and data are extremely limited, black cohosh has also been used to alleviate menstrual cramps and to induce labor. But research suggests that black cohosh may be dangerous for unborn babies. As a result, it is suggested to avoid.
Furthermore, black cohosh should not be confused with blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides), which has different effects and is not generally recognized as safe. Black cohosh has sometimes been used with blue cohosh to stimulate labor, but this use was linked to severe adverse effects in at least one newborn.
5. St. John's Wort
St. John's wort has been used for centuries to treat mental disorders and nerve pain. Most recently, it is used as a remedy for depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. In addition to echinacea purpura, St. John's wort at very fractional doses has also been have ill effects on the sperm and egg, and potential genetic mutations which could compromise the health of a pregnancy.
To be clear, the FDA urges pregnant women not to take any herbal products without talking to their health care provider first. Women are also urged to consult a trained and experienced herbalist (or other professional who is trained to work with herbs) if they want to take herbs during their pregnancy.