Is it safe to detox while pregnant or breastfeeding?

To detox or not when pregnant?

This is a question I get asked over and over by new and expecting mothers who are concerned with high-boosting their mineral reserve, detoxifying for a healthy baby and losing weight and getting in shape after giving birth. They think that if they do a detox while pregnant, they may start to feel better and gain energy during their pregnancy and maybe even increase the chance of having a healthier baby. While breastfeeding, many new mothers feel tired and toxic after having gained weight and given birth and hope that a detox will give them a reboot. This an important issue to discuss especially with all the over-the-counter at-home detox programs that people have access to do on their own with no guidance or support. My answer to this question is unequivocally without exception: NO.

It is not safe to detox while pregnant or breastfeeding under any circumstances in any country at any age for any woman.

When a woman is pregnant, her body needs to focus on doing one thing: making a new life. It does not need the distraction of splitting energy between detox (internal housekeeping) and creating new life. Pregnancy is a time for abundance in healthy, clean, vibrant foods and plenty of relaxation and rest. Most detoxes require cleansing supplements, something that should never be done during pregnancy because #1) some supplements are not safe to take while pregnant and #2) detox supplements split the body’s energy between detox and making baby. Additionally, during the process of detox, toxins are temporarily stirred up into the blood before they are broken down and carried out through the kidneys, colon, lungs and skin. Having toxins in the blood is the last thing a pregnant mother would want or need. Some detoxes include taking high amounts of Vitamin C. Vitamin C, when consumed in high doses, can stop the body from making progesterone, a vital hormone in pregnancy. (This is why doctors advise against eating too much pineapple while pregnant. Pineapple is particularly high in Vitamin C.) Please do not consider doing any type of detox while pregnant.

The same goes for breastfeeding for all the reasons listed above. Furthermore, if a woman does a detox while breastfeeding, she can actually still up toxins (including heavy metals) into her breast milk, and unknowingly feed those toxins directly to her newborn. While breastfeeding, the focus should not be on losing weight.

Eat foods rich in nutrients and high in vegan plant-based protein so your body has the power to make the healthiest milk ever for your baby.

When you are finished breastfeeding, you may consider doing a detox. Actually, the best time to do a detox is one year before you get pregnant. Yes – one year! That way, you have plenty of time to do multiple cleanses including kidney, colon, gallstone/liver and heavy metal detoxification and then have ample time to rebuild with a nutrient dense diet to best prepare your body for a safe, clean and healthy pregnancy. If you are thinking of having another baby, the time to start your detox is after you are finished breastfeeding and before you start trying to get pregnant again. Even if you only have 1-3 months, it’s worth it.

If you’re suffering from constipation during your pregnancy, please do not consider doing an enema. The main reasons why I do not recommend enemas during pregnancy are because #1) you can temporarily stir up toxins into the blood while disrupting the fecal matter before it is released, and #2) the inflow of water into the colon can put pressure on the uterus and fetus.

Rather, I suggest you increase high-fiber foods and reduce wheat and white breads as much as possible to relieve constipation due to pregnancy. Think of wheat as concrete in the colon and avoid it especially if you are feeling backed up. Try adding 2 Tbsp of ground flax seed to every meal (either a smoothie, fruit salad, veggie salad or even mix in with cooked veggies). This will significantly increase your fiber intake and should get things moving. If it is ‘too much’ movement, reduce to 2 Tbsp. of ground flax seed at 2 meals daily or even 2 Tbsp. at 1 meal per day (Note that the flax seed must be ground and not whole).

I’ve advised many female clients on preparing their body for pregnancy and also eating the right foods while pregnant and breastfeeding, all with great success. I’ve even seen cases of infertility and IVF with no success until they followed my specialized preparing for pregnancy detox plan. After 3 months, I had one client get pregnant after being on IVF for 8 years. I’ve also helped women to start menstruation again, even after years of not having any cycle. All of these things are possible with the right detox and follow-up diet, but timing is key to make sure it’s safe for baby, mother or mother-to-be.

More on Pregnancy:

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Jennifer Thompson has been working with raw food, juices, smoothies and detox for over two decades to help people heal. Today, she shares her expertise worldwide, offering lectures, workshops, training and one-on-one consultations at various health and detox retreat centers. She provides Iridology Readings & Health Coaching via Skype and Phone to clients and continues to educate, motivate and inspire others on their journey of healing. When she’s not working, you’ll find her hiking in the mountains, power-walking along the sea or globe-trotting to a new and exotic health destination.
20 replies
  1. Marisa
    Marisa says:

    Hello Jennifer,
    Is it safe to do an underarm detox while breastfeeding with a topical application of apple cider vinegar and clay?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Thompson
      Jennifer Thompson says:

      Dear Marisa,

      Personally I wouldn’t call a topical application of acv or clay a “detox” per se…it’s a bit of a (big) stretch to call it that, but I understand your concern. Applying clay or vinegar to the skin would be considered safe while breastfeeding, and certainly safer than using an over-the-counter skin cream containing nasty chemicals! Of course, it is always best to consult with your medical doctor.

      The more important question that I might ask, if I may, is why are you applying these under your arms? Do you have a rash or some type of problem and if so, what’s the issue? If you do have a rash, then we want to dig a little deeper and get to the cause so you can correct things from the inside-out.

      To your health,

      Jennifer

      Reply
      • Marisa
        Marisa says:

        Hi Jennifer,

        Thank you for the info! By underarm, I meant my armpits. I would like to switch to a natural deodorant and have heard it is good to do an armpit detox before making the switch from a regular deodorant to a natural one. I have been hesitant because I wasn’t sure if it was safe to do while nursing.

        Reply
        • Jennifer Thompson
          Jennifer Thompson says:

          Dear Marissa,

          You can allow your body to sweat out toxins naturally through your skin through exercise or using a far infrared sauna or steam. No need to apply acv to the skin – it won’t pull anything out anyway. Bentonite clay will pull toxins out through the skin but most likely anything from old deodorant is in the lymph glands and not near the surface under the skin.

          In short, I would say don’t worry about doing an “armpit detox” and just switch to an aluminum-free deodorant. After you finish breastfeeding, you can do more lymphatic cleansing by having a lymphatic drainage massage, practicing dry skin brushing daily or doing more steams or saunas. For now, focus on having enough calcium and protein and a high mineral diet to produce a healthy milk for your baby. You’re doing great!

          My best,

          Jennifer

          Reply
  2. Rebecca Hayes
    Rebecca Hayes says:

    Hello Jen, I am almost 39 and have decided to try for a baby. Considering my age, what is your opinion about waiting to detox or just getting stuck into trying? And are there ANY types of liver healthy practices that you recommend whilst trying and during pregnancy? (e.g. drinking lemon juice with water in the morning comes to mind). Do you recommend avoiding curcumin capsules while trying and while pregnant? I currently take it because it helps with my headaches/migraines. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jennifer Thompson
      Jennifer Thompson says:

      Dear Rebecca,

      Thanks for stopping by! I’m not exactly sure what you mean about “getting stuck into trying”…are you stating that you are having a difficult time getting pregnant so far? And you are thinking that doing a liver detox will help, but you also want to continue the cleanse during pregnancy?

      I’ve worked with many women during pre- during- and post-pregnancy…each phase is important and what your body (and your baby needs) will change throughout the process. In particular, calcium and protein are extremely important, but many other minerals are necessary as well. Without knowing anything about your current diet or state of health, it’s really impossible for me to say what your body needs right now. The best way to get the right answers is to book a consultation with me; that way we can go over all the necessary details.

      Outside of that, I can also help you with your headaches and migraines. Diet and nutrition are key….it’s really wonderful to get everything right and see those chronic problems become a thing of the past! And you definitely won’t want to have any headaches during pregnancy or with a new healthy baby!

      To your health,

      Jennifer

      Reply
      • Rebecca Hayes
        Rebecca Hayes says:

        Hi Jen, thank a lot for your reply! I know you said NOT to detox whilst pregnant, so I was asking whether I should wait before I try and get pregnant to do a detox first, OR not detox at all and instead keep trying to get pregnant. This is considering that I’m 39 so time is kind of of the essence. Also noting that I have kind of tried 4 times (not consistently)..and no luck yet. I will consider getting a consult with you, can you point me in the direction of some good info about the benefits and evidence of iridology? Thank you so much!

        Reply
  3. Katie
    Katie says:

    Hi im due in a month and need a detox method that works fast and safe for my unborn baby could someone please help me find something

    Reply
  4. ayesha
    ayesha says:

    hello, please help me losing weight i have pcos and m new mum of 6 months old baby. i puton 15 kgs ib my pregnancy and its stuck now. we u suggest me something thanks

    Reply
  5. M.Ahmer
    M.Ahmer says:

    Hi
    I want to know that deatox tea with all natural herbs
    is safe for me as i am trying to conceive a baby.. so wether i have to use it or leave it?

    Reply
    • Jennifer Thompson
      Jennifer Thompson says:

      Dear M,

      Red raspberry tea can help to alkalize the uterus and is a good one to drink while preparing for conception. Choose organic of course! Good luck and healthy blessings!

      My best,

      Jennifer

      Reply
  6. Danza
    Danza says:

    Hello. I am reaching out to you because I feel you might be able to help me with something.I recently took a trip to the ER with pain in my lower back and abdominal cramping. The pain I describe was worse for me than that of being in labor. The doctor ran several tests on me including: blood work, a urine sample, x-rays and a CAT scan. In the x-ray he found my colon was backed up with a lot of stool. He also found a little blood in my urine so that’s why he wanted me to perform a CAT scan. In the CAT scan he found a cystic mass on my left ovary that measured 7 cm. 

    They offered me pain medication at the beginning of the visit but I turned it down. Once I learned they wanted me to follow up with a gynecologist I knew I wasn’t going to make it until then so they prescribed me Tylenol 3. I was told to follow up with a gynecologist within two days. I called to schedule an appointment with the gynecologist the doctor referred me to and they couldn’t get me in until over two weeks. I finally kept calling around with hopes of a sooner appointment and found a a place that could see me in five days. About a 40 minute drive but I really needed to see someone.

    The medicine I was prescribed did excellent the first day but after that it started to wear off before the next dose was up. I got extremely bloated and the pain was just too unbearable to take anymore. I could hardly walk or stand up straight.  I finally decided I needed to get myself to the hospital, so my husband took me to the ER once again.
    They did another x-ray and found there was stool backing up my system again. Prescribed me another type of pain medication and was ordered to get a bottle of magnesium citrate. They sent me home with constipation. 

    The pain medication did great getting me by and I was finally pain free. A few days past and I went to my appointment to see a gynecologist and just by her asking me the size of the cyst, she said I needed surgery and there wasn’t any other option but for it to come out.She also told me I needed a transvaginal ultrasound so I got that at another place in my town the next day.

    My son just turned two and I have had several mysterious episodes on and off since he was born. Have you you ever heard of a cyst bigger than 7 cm go away on its own or have used a natural remedy or something else for it to shrink or go away? Everyone I’ve talked to says it’s impossible for a cyst that big to shrink or go away. And there’s no other way but to have the surgery.

    I’m really scared to have the surgery and am trying to stay positive about the whole thing. I appreciate any information of your experiences as I need all the help I can get at this point. Also I ave been nursing my son, he turned two in August. I did talk to someone at a wellness place and he wanted to start me out on a 28 day detox. Do you think it’s safe for me to continue nursing and follow this program? I feel we’re not anywhere ready to give up on nursing.

    Thanks,

    Danza

    Reply
    • Jennifer Thompson
      Jennifer Thompson says:

      Hi Danza,

      I’m really sorry to hear about your suffering! It sounds like you are really committed to your health and the well-being of your son and I’m sure you are taking care of your body by eating the very best foods. As you can imagine, the issues you bring up are medical issues and can only legally be answered by a medical doctor. I am not a medical doctor and I only offer nutritional and detox advice for consulting purposes, not to diagnose or cure anything. The only person who can advise you for or against surgery is your medical doctor. I am very sorry that I cannot help you there but that is the way it is. If you choose to not have the surgery, I can help you nutritionally and with detox for ways to heal. I have seen people dissolve cysts naturally during detox, as large as a softball, but they decided on their own to do fasting and I did not advise them to do that because for legal purposes I would not be permitted to do so. I hope you can understand!!

      To your health,

      Jennifer

      Reply
  7. ArieMargo
    ArieMargo says:

    – This is adorable! I am 28 weeks prangent and due in April totally wishing I had done something like this. Guess it’s not too late to start right?! 😛 Congrats on your new fun size human being I think he’s going to have a lot of fun with you guys!

    Reply
  8. i m plaanning to get pregnant but has sufferefd 3 miscarriages earlier please suggest something
    i m plaanning to get pregnant but has sufferefd 3 miscarriages earlier please suggest something says:

    suggest detox diet or juice recipe to get rid off miscarriage problem . i had a problem of german measles

    Reply
  9. Elizabeth G. Sipple
    Elizabeth G. Sipple says:

    It’s so unfortunate because pregnancy tends to be a trigger to a healthier lifestyle. It certainly was for me. I still added in green juices and smoothies and more salads. My son is now almost 9 months old and I have been struggling to take in enough calories throughout the day. I’m 10 pounds lighter than my pre-pregnancy weight and now really concerned about how much toxins I have passed to him. I wish there was more research on this to show how well little ones are able to process and expel these toxins. I am trying to eat more, but in the meantime, how concerned should I be about possible health effects? 🙁

    Reply

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