borage oil in pregnancy

Truth About Borage Oil In Pregnancy: Is It Safe for You and Your Baby?

The Safety Of Borage Oil In Pregnancy: What You Need To Know

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Embarking on the journey to motherhood brings with it a tidal wave of decisions, especially concerning health and nutrition. Amongst the myriad of supplements vying for attention, borage oil often surfaces as a contender, purportedly offering many benefits.

However, there’s an important conversation to be had about its safety during pregnancy—a topic rife with both interest and concern.

Borage oil teems with gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid believed to combat inflammation and support overall skin health yet, when it comes to expectant mothers, borage oil steps into more controversial territory.

While beneficial effects like easing arthritis symptoms are noted among general users, pregnant women must navigate a different landscape where potential risks loom.

In this article, we’ll delve deep into what borage oil is, evaluate its medical uses versus the associated cautions in pregnancy, and consider safer alternatives for those carrying new life.

Together, we’ll sift through evidence-based insights designed to guide your choices—because knowing can make all the difference. Read on; your peace of mind might just grow stronger.

Key Takeaways

  • Borage oil might have health benefits, but it’s not safe for pregnant women or those breastfeeding because it can harm the baby and mother.
  • This oil has substances, like pyrrolizidine alkaloids, that could hurt the liver and cause other serious problems.
  • Women who are pregnant should avoid borage oil to stop birth defects and early labor. Breastfeeding moms should also avoid it since it might affect their milk.
  • Safer options for getting similar benefits as borage oil include evening primrose oil or black currant oil. But talk to a doctor before using them when pregnant or nursing.
  • If you are thinking about taking supplements during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, always ask a healthcare provider first.

What is Borage Oil?

borage oil in pregnancy

Borage oil, also known as starflower oil, is derived from the seeds of the borage plant (Borago officinalis). It is rich in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an essential fatty acid that has been studied for its potential health benefits.

Borage oil is commonly used as a dietary supplement and may have anti-inflammatory effects. However, it’s important to understand its safety and potential risks, especially during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Common Names

People call borage by different names. You might hear it as Bee fodder, Bee-bread, Burrage, or Cool tankard. These are just a few of the ways folks know this plant. It’s not just a name; each one tells a part of its story.

For example, “Bee fodder” shows how bees love their flowers for food. And “Cool tankard” hints at old-timey drinks made with borage to refresh on hot days.

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Many names don’t just know this plant—it’s used in various ways, too. Some use the oil from seeds for skin problems or swelling because it has a special fat called gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).

But when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, what’s safe can change, so that’s something to keep in mind with borage seed oil.

General Description

Borage oil comes from the seeds of the borage plant. Its flowers are pretty and star-shaped, often a beautiful blue color. People use this oil because it contains gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).

GLA is a special fat that helps your body in many ways. It can calm inflammation and help skin conditions like eczema.

But even though borage oil has benefits, it also has risks, especially for pregnant women or those breastfeeding. Some parts of the borage plant contain substances that might hurt your liver or cause other problems.

If you’re considering using borage oil, talk to a healthcare provider first to stay safe.

Medically Valid Uses

Doctors have looked into how borage oil might help health. It has a special fat called gamma-linolenic acid or GLA. This can make swelling in the body go down. Some folks think it might help their skin problems like eczema, and others use it for joint pain from rheumatoid arthritis.

These ideas come from the thought that GLA affects inflammation.

Yet, scientists haven’t found strong proof that borage oil is a sure bet for medicine. They need to study more to be sure of its benefits and safety. So even if some people find it helps, we don’t have all the answers yet.

People wanting to try borage oil should talk with their doctor first, especially if they’re pregnant or nursing.

Safety of Borage Oil in Pregnancy

borage oil in pregnancy

While borage oil is generally considered safe for non-pregnant individuals, there are several concerns regarding its safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Potential risks include the presence of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can be harmful to both the mother and fetus.

Pregnant women need to understand these risks and consider alternative options before using borage oil as a supplement.


Borage seed oil is not safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding due to potential harm to the baby. It can cause birth defects and may induce labor. Long-term or high-dose use of borage oil can lead to liver problems, posing a risk for both the mother and the baby.

There are also concerns about its potential toxicity, making it important for pregnant and breastfeeding women to avoid using borage oil.

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Another essential point is that borage oil should be used with caution by people with liver disease because it may increase the risk of liver problems. So, it’s crucial for pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding to stay away from borage oil supplements due to these serious health risks.

Potential Risks for Pregnant Women

Pregnant women should be cautious when it comes to borage oil. The potential risks for pregnant women include the possibility of birth defects, premature labor, and a blood disorder in infants known as blue baby syndrome.

These risks are associated with the use of borage oil during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

The volatile oil in borage has been reported to cause abortion if taken in high doses, and there have even been cases of death documented. Due to these potential dangers, pregnant women should avoid taking borage seed oil and possibly other sources of GLA to prevent harm to the fetus and induction of early labor.

Risks for Breastfeeding Women

Borage oil may pass into breast milk and pose risks to the nursing infant, including potential toxicity and adverse effects. Breastfeeding women should avoid using borage oil due to its association with increased risk of bleeding, bruising, and other harmful effects on the baby’s health.

Breastfeeding mothers need to be cautious about using any supplements that could potentially impact their infant’s well-being, which includes avoiding the use of borage oil.

While some sources may suggest the benefits of borage oil for certain conditions in non-pregnant or non-breastfeeding individuals, it’s crucial for breastfeeding women to prioritize safety for themselves and their babies by refraining from using borage oil during this critical period.

Alternative Options for Pregnant Women

In addition to borage oil, pregnant women may consider alternative options such as evening primrose oil or other sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA). These alternatives can provide similar benefits while minimizing potential risks.

To learn more about the safety of borage oil in pregnancy and explore alternative options, read on for a comprehensive understanding.

Evening Primrose Oil

Evening primrose oil is considered safe during pregnancy, with a recommended dosage of up to 4 grams daily for up to 10 weeks. However, there’s controversy about its effect on cervical ripening and its potential to induce labor.

While some claim it strengthens the uterus for childbirth, solid evidence is lacking. Oral use during pregnancy may be associated with prolonged labor and an increased risk of premature birth.

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It’s essential to cautiously approach evening primrose oil in pregnancy due to conflicting opinions and potential risks. Always consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Other Sources of GLA

Apart from borage oil, other gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) sources include black currant oil and evening primrose oil. These oils contain healthful polyunsaturated fats like GLA. Black currant oil is also known to be a good source of GLA.

Evening primrose oil is another alternative source of GLA that has been extensively studied for its potential health benefits.

People interested in improving their health can consider these alternative options that offer benefits similar to borage oil. It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplementation during pregnancy or while breastfeeding to ensure the safety and appropriateness of these alternatives.


Avoid using borage oil during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Individuals with liver disease or taking medications for seizures should also avoid borage oil. Consider evening primrose oil as a safer alternative source of GLA for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Pregnant or breastfeeding women and those with liver issues should steer clear of using borage oil. Borage oil is not recommended in pregnancy due to potential teratogenic and labor-inducing effects.


1. What is borage oil, and what does it contain?

Borage oil comes from the seeds of the borage plant and has fatty acids like GLA, linoleic acid, and sometimes pyrrolizidine alkaloids.

2. Can pregnant women use borage oil safely?

No, taking borage seed oil is likely unsafe for pregnant women because it may harm the baby or cause complications.

3. Does borage oil help with skin conditions like atopic dermatitis?

Some research suggests that applying borage oil to the skin or taking capsules can help patients with atopic eczema by reducing inflammation.

4. Is mixing borage oil with other oils safe for health benefits?

Be careful mixing oils; early studies say combining fish or evening primrose oil with borage might affect things like rheumatoid arthritis, but always check with a doctor first.

5. What are some concerns about taking borage seed oil capsules daily?

If you take them every day, there’s a risk of bruising and bleeding more easily because they can make your blood thinner.

6. Should I worry about toxins in borage products when using them topically or internally?

Yes, you need to be cautious since some parts of the plant may contain toxic substances that could have harmful effects if used wrongly.