Women frequently experience stress, pains, and cramps throughout pregnancy. Yoga and meditation are two holistic practices that can be useful for resolving these problems. Unfortunately, unless a doctor recommends it, most painkillers and stress relievers are not a solution since they could harm the developing embryo. However, if you chance to reside in Vanuatu, a few ladies think they have discovered a natural remedy to lessen pregnancy discomfort: kava.

The roots of a sedative and anesthetic-producing plant are used to make kava. The effects of kava are said to relax the muscles and soothe the central nervous system. Traditionally, males drank kava during ceremonial occasions, but nowadays, both men and women, including foreigners and locals, attend the bars found in most communities. It is sold as herbal stress and anxiety reliever in various nations and shipped as powder, pills, and even chocolate. In Vanuatu, the use of kava is becoming more widespread, with some women reportedly claiming it lessens the discomfort of pregnancy.

How safe is kava for a pregnant woman?

Millions of people have utilized noble kava roots safely, frequently daily, for years or possibly millennia. Kava has been used for so long in the Pacific as a treatment for many illnesses.

The information suggests that the South Pacific Islands have a long history of safe consumption of traditional kava beverages made from the root. Compared to kava products made using organic solvent extraction, it differs in content. There is no proof to indicate that occasional use of kava beverages has any long-term negative consequences, including impacts on the liver. However, excessive drinking of the traditional kava drink may have adverse health effects such as kava dermopathy.

According to a report written by the Food Standards Australia New Zealand, the use of kava during pregnancy or nursing has been advised against because kavalactones could be present in quantities that could harm the foetus or newborn.

As always, we strongly advise speaking with a certified medical practitioner about the potential adverse effects of kava if you have any health concerns.

The word “herbal” does not necessarily indicate “harmless.”

The general public believes that herbal medications and treatments are safe because they come from naturally occurring components. This fallacy also applies to the use of kava. There is currently little data in favor of kava use during pregnancy, and it is unclear how it will affect both the expectant mother and the growing fetus.

The incidental relationship between kava usage and hepatotoxicity, or liver damage, found in existing research, must be taken into account because pregnancy’s hormonal and physical changes make women particularly vulnerable to liver toxicity. Furthermore, it is crucial to remember that, unlike prescription drugs, natural and herbal medicines do not subject to the same stringent safety testing, research, or manufacturing regulations. As a result, unlike alcohol or prescription drugs, kava’s strength varies over time.

You may visit the same nakamal every day and find that the kava potency varies greatly. It is exceedingly challenging for women to track how much kava their unborn baby is exposed to while pregnant. It is also challenging for medical specialists to propose any “safe levels” of kava.

There is a lack of research

Since kava is a relatively new product on the global market, there aren’t any conclusive studies about its safety for humans, let alone any that address whether it’s safe to use during pregnancy or labor. Research on kava’s ability to treat anxiety is largely restricted. However, the most recent results from the University of Melbourne show that kava is a powerful natural alternative to alleviate stress. The long-term kava side effects are still under research.

But consider that the plant is strictly controlled or even prohibited in many nations, with Europe only recently removing its sanctions last year. Due to the risky way the Aboriginal people consume it, neighboring countries like Australia continue to control kava use, which is outlawed legally in the Northern Territory.

In the summary

The interest in kava’s potential medical advantages grows as it gains popularity. However, Vanuatu is the only place where the consumption of kava during pregnancy or labor happens. Therefore research would be helpful. It would enhance their ability to control a healthy and satisfying childbirth process. If we know the precise risks associated with kava use during delivery, we can provide correct information to help the women make the best birth decisions.