During pregnancy, even if you were fit as a fiddle before getting pregnant, some drastic changes can happen in your health condition. This is because pregnancy hormones lead to specific health conditions that are new to you and your body owing to the decrease in the immunity levels. While some expecting mothers develop gestational diabetes, some pregnant women tend to catch a cold and flu often. On the other hand, some others used to develop allergies that they previously did not have. Again, pregnancy is not a time to take medicines which are otherwise having no harmful effect. Over the counter medicine is a big ‘no’ during pregnancy.
Also, during pregnancy, your body will go through lots of physical changes. Due to these normal physical changes, joint pain is another common issue most of the pregnant women experience. In such an instance, you may come across the word ‘Glucosamine.’ If you are not aware of what that is, then you have come to the right place to learn about it. Here, we explain to you what Glucosamine is and its benefits, safety, and side effects caused during pregnancy. Read on to know more.
What Is Glucosamine?
Glucosamine is nothing but a crystalline compound substance that appears in connective tissues (joints) in our body. This provides our joints with the required fluid consistency for free movements. Usually, for people suffering from joint pain and arthritis, this component is very less or missing in the joints, which is what restricts their movements and gives pain. Such people are provided with the synthesized form of glucosamine as a pain reliever and to ease the movement of the joints.
Glucosamine helps greatly in building the cartilages, and hence, it is a popular supplement for people suffering from joint aches. Especially in the US, glucosamine is one of the most predominantly used non-vitamin and non-mineral supplements that are considered safe to be consumed by adults. This supplement helps in reliving and overcoming joint pains and any difficulty in joint movement. In the colder regions, this supplement is taken by most people as our joints and muscles tend to stiffen up during the winter season. The natural form of glucosamine (especially glucosamine sulfate) can be found in the shells of the shellfish. The supplement manufacturers usually harvest the component from the shells and add them to these supplements, which are then sold in pharmacies. But more often than not, this component is synthetically made in the medical labs, and it is not harvested from the shells of the shellfishes. Some of the forms in which glucosamine is available in the market are:
- Glucosamine Hydrochloride
- Glucosamine Sulphate
All of the above three forms contain glucosamine component. But the concentration of it varies in each form whose effect on our body can also impact the recovery of joint pain and arthritis.
Is It Safe to Take Glucosamine While Pregnant?
There has been no concrete research about the safety of consuming glucosamine during pregnancy. Hence it’s best to avoid any supplements that may contain the glucosamine component during your pregnancy period or even after delivery and nursing your newborn baby.
Some of the instances where consuming a glucosamine supplement may adversely react to your health conditions are;
Although it is not medically proven, if you have already had asthma, then consuming the glucosamine supplement increases the risk of having an attack. Even though it is still under research whether the supplement is triggering the attack, it is always better to avoid it if you have asthma.
2. High Cholesterol Levels:
Some studies show that consuming supplements containing glucosamine may tend to increase cholesterol. The risks increase if one has a medical history of high cholesterol levels.
3. High Blood Pressure:
Consumption of glucosamine supplements can result in the increase of insulin levels in our body, which will further lead to an increase in the blood pressure as well.
If you have a history of diabetes, then glucosamine gets in the way of your blood sugar level. Intake of glucosamine can result in increasing your blood sugar level.
5. Shellfish Allergy:
If the expecting mother is allergic to shellfish, taking glucosamine can potentially aggravate allergic reactions.
On account of the above facts, during pregnancy, ensure you speak to your doctor about taking glucosamine supplements as she will know better about your health conditions.
What Are The Benefits of Glucosamine While Pregnant?
There are many benefits of consuming glucosamine if you are suffering from joint pains. Most women tend to develop joint and body aches during pregnancy for various reasons, and this supplement helps in relieving them of the pain and aches. It also helps any inflammatory conditions that you may face in your bowel movements. The supplements also help in glaucoma and rheumatoid arthritis, but apart from this, there has been not much evidence of glucosamine being beneficial otherwise.
What Are the Side Effects of Using Glucosamine?
There is not much research available regarding the side effects of consuming glucosamine. At the same time, in association with the glucosamine intake, no birth defects, miscarriage, preterm labor is reported. However, you can expect some harmless side effects, which include heartburn, nausea, gas, mild abdominal pain, and upset stomach. On the other hand, if you have medical conditions such as asthma, high BP, high cholesterol levels, you should consult with your doctor before taking glucosamine. So far, there have not been any known cases of side effects caused by glucosamine in the medical journals.
Evaluation Of The Risk Of Glucosamine With Other Drugs
Glucosamine is recommended when other drug-free methods fail to relieve joint pain during pregnancy. This is because NSAID drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen, which can alleviate the joint pain, is not at all safe during pregnancy.