Can Activated Charcoal Help With Morning Sickness? Science Explains


It is the best of times, and it is the worst of times. I'm not talking about a Dickens' novel, but rather one of the most bittersweet times in a woman's life — pregnancy. It's wonderful, but also frustrating with the dizzying effects of morning sickness. Any mom who's experienced morning sickness will tell you how miserable it feels, and how hard it is to treat. So when you hear about the effects of supplements, especially activated charcoal, in helping with nausea and vomiting, you want to know — can activated charcoal help with morning sickness?

What is activated charcoal anyway? According to WebMd, activated charcoal is made when common substances, like coconut shells or wood, are heated with a gas, causing it to develop internal pores which help trap toxins and chemicals.

Romper reached out to Bineesh Moyeed, Pharm.D who says that there is no clinical evidence that activated charcoal works in curing morning sickness. She says that it can cause severe diarrhea, and even turn stools black. While these aren't life threatening side effects, they can make you more uncomfortable. "You might be treating one discomfort by causing another one," says Moyeed, "so I wouldn't recommend it as a treatment or cure."

Is activated charcoal even safe to use during pregnancy? Cara Dolin, MD, OB-GYN and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellow at NYU Langone Medical Center told Well Rounded NY that the Federal Drug and Safety Administration (FDA) has not classified activated charcoal on its list of safe products to use during pregnancy. She explained that there aren't enough studies to determine its safety, but because it is not absorbed into your system, it shouldn't cause much harm to you or your baby, as long as it is sourced from organic natural substances like coconut shells.

Mom Junction noted that there can be drug interactions if you take activated charcoal with other medicines, so it's important to discuss taking any kind of supplement with your doctor first. While many moms provide anecdotal evidence of the benefits of activated charcoal for nausea and morning sickness, there is no definitive scientific evidence supporting these claims. Although, if your doctor approves it, and you feel like it does help, then by all means try it. Any break from that queasy, yucky feeling of morning sickness would be a relief.