The Thyroid Gland plays a very important part of our body. The Thyroid Gland secretes hormones that regulate our metabolism. In fact, the disruption of the thyroid throws other parts of the body off. Hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid, while Hyperthyroidism is an overactive thyroid. Women who are on medication for their thyroid problem, have a normal milk supply while breastfeeding. However, some women want to increase their breast milk. Foods or medications that help increase milk supply while breastfeeding, are called Galactagogues. Fenugreek is promoted as increasing your milk production while breastfeeding.
Fenugreek is the number one herb recommended to help increase your milk while breastfeeding. There haven’t been enough studies done to support or show evidence that Fenugreek is effective for milk production. Furthermore, just because it is a herb, doesn’t mean it is safe. If you have a thyroid problem, Fenugreek can influence the active thyroid hormone your body uses. This will make hypothyroidism worse and reduce milk production. Furthermore, Fenugreek reduces blood glucose levels, which can be a problem for women with diabetes or hypoglycemia, low blood sugar level. Therefore, women who have these problems should consult their doctor before taking Fenugreek to help increase their milk supply.
Some women have reported side effects of Fenugreek which have included: diarrhea, gas, indigestion, heartburn and unusual swelling of the skin and urine, like maple syrup. Some have even experienced even greater side effects such as internal bleeding, severe headaches, vomiting blood, numbness in the arms and legs and even have had a stroke. Your baby’s digestive system can also be affected by Fenugreek. Additionally, if you have asthma, Fenugreek can make your symptoms worse. Fenugreek is a legume and those who have peanut allergies may experience a cross reaction. Therefore, stay away from Fenugreek. Do not take Fenugreek if you have a bleeding or blood clotting disorder. As always, check with your doctor before you decide to take Fenugreek. Dr. Thomas Hale, who is world renowned in the breastfeeding world, classifies Fenugreek as moderately safe, a Lactation Risk Category 3.
In conclusion, it is not known whether Fenugreek can harm a breastfeeding baby or prove to have any positive effect on milk supply or breastfeeding. Proceed with caution when using Fenugreek. Check with your doctor before using Fenugreek.