Health Professionals Advise Pregnant Women to Steer Clear Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Medical professionals have issued a warning to expectant mothers who are considering taking traditional Chinese medications.
Scientists in Shanghai looked into the well-being of infants born to sixteen thousand mothers all around China.
Women who received traditional treatments throughout pregnancy had children who were twice as likely to be born with birth abnormalities as those whose mothers did not.
Some experts have warned that pregnant women should use these therapies "cautiously" because of the "significant risk of foetal malformations" associated with their use.
Healers from all around the world have relied on the alternative practise for ages to both prevent and treat illness.
Acupuncture and other forms of herbal medicine are part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Some herbal supplements have been found to contain hazardous chemicals, heavy metals, and pesticides, according to health officials.
Some have been proven to be as successful in decreasing blood pressure as Western medications, and others have been shown to be useful in bringing down blood sugar levels.
Researchers from Shanghai's Fudan University have voiced "widespread concerns" that they may increase the likelihood of birth abnormalities.
They looked at the effects of the drugs on over sixteen thousand Chinese women before, during, and after pregnancy.
Women from 23 hospitals participated in the study by having ultrasounds, clinical surveys, and checkups between August 2017 and 2020.
There were a total of 12,334 women, out of which 4,128 received western medicine and 189 relied on traditional Chinese medicine.
Medical professionals considered pregnant women who had filled even one TCM prescription to have been exposed to TCMs.
According to the findings, there were an average of 34.6 'congenital abnormalities' (birth problems) per 1,000 foetuses exposed to TCMs, compared to 14.6 foetuses not exposed.
Doctors reported that "foetuses exposed to TCM had an increased risk of congenital malformations compared to those without exposure" in the journal Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.
'Compared with the women without exposure, those with only TCM exposure had a significant risk of foetal malformations,' doctors said.
The observational nature of the study means that other factors may have affected the findings.
Doctors reported that Pudilan was the most frequently used TCM medication for either pregnancy-related influenza or inflammation.
Jiang-Nan Wu, a researcher at Fudan University and one of the study's authors, said, "To improve traditional Chinese medicine, we should pay more attention to its hazards — especially the identification of teratogenic ingredients."