Moringa for Pregnant And Breastfeeding Mothers

Pregnant Mother

Every woman’s journey to motherhood is different, but one of the first decisions a new mom makes is how to feed her child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American Medical Association (AMA), the American Dietetic Association (ADA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) all recommend breastfeeding as the best for babies.

 

Newborns have very immature digestive systems, and the colostrum in breast milk delivers its nutrients in a very concentrated low-volume form. Breastfed babies have a greater immune system, less allergies, better digestion, and greater intelligence.

Infection-fighting antibodies passed from a nursing mother to her baby can help lower the occurrence of many conditions, including:

                • ear infections
                • diarrhea
                • respiratory infections
                • meningitis

Breastfeeding is particularly beneficial for premature babies and also may protect children against

                • allergies
                • asthma
                • diabetes
                • obesity
                • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

The importance and superior results of breastfeeding versus bottle feeding formula is well documented, unfortunately not all women are able to easily breastfeed their newborn, due to a variety of factors that limit breast milk production including diet and genetics.

In the Philippines, moringa leaves (or Malunggay as its known locally) have been eaten as a galactogogue (a substance that increases milk supply) for centuries [1]. Several medical studies have shown its effectiveness in increasing breast milk volume in nursing mothers. In one double blind study [2], women taking moringa oleifera leaves (250mg) increased milk production by 180% compared to the control group. While moringa has been used in traditional medicine by milking mothers for ages, only one small scientific study has been performed on the effects in nursing mothers who ingested moringa leaves and found no adverse side effects.[2] There are no studies available on the safety of moringa in nursing infants at this time. While moringa may help stimulate breast milk production in mothers, as with all other galactogogues such as Milk Thistle and Fenugreek, they should never replace counseling from your doctor before taking them and on other modifiable factors that affect milk production.[4]

 

Mother with Baby  

 
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), pregnant and nursing women should have a diet that consists of a variety foods including proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fats.[3] Moringa oleifera leaves contain many vitamins, minerals, protein, and all essential amino acids (the building blocks for muscle).

Essential Vitamins/Minerals:

Vitamin A & Beta Carotene (770 mcg)
A fat-soluble vitamin stored in the liver that is important for your baby's embryonic growth, including the development of the heart, lungs, kidneys, eyes, and bones, and the circulatory, respiratory, and central nervous systems. It also helps with infection resistance and fat metabolism. Moringa Oleifera powder is very Vitamin A rich. Just 2 tsp of Moringa powder twice daily gives you over 100% of the RDV for Vitamin A.

Vitamin D (5 mcg)
Necessary for development, growth, and maintenance of a healthy body for both you and your baby. It is also necessary for your baby’s bone development. It helps body use calcium and phosphorus.

Vitamin E (15 mg)
Helps the body form and use red blood cells and muscles. Natural forms of vitamin E are preferred to man-made forms, but should be used cautiously in preterm babies and high doses should be avoided when pregnant, due to the risk of heart problems in the baby.

Vitamin C (80 – 85 mg)
An antioxidant that protects tissues from damage and helps body absorb iron; builds healthy immune system. It also helps your body to make collagen, a structural protein that's a component of cartilage, tendons, bones, and skin.

Thiamin/B1 (1.4 mg)
Necessary for the effective energy metabolism of carbohydrate foods. Supplies energy to the tissues and organs and facilitates normal nervous system functioning. It is especially important due to the increased energy needs and metabolism of pregnant women.

Riboflavin/B2 (1.4 mg)
Helps maintain high energy levels, good eyesight and healthy skin, hair, and nails.

Niacin/B3 (18 mg)
Helps the body release energy from carbohydrates and use protein and fats effectively. It’s essential for a healthy circulation and digestive system and producing sex and stress hormones.

Pyridoxine/B6 (1.9 mg)
Helps form red blood cells; When taken in much higher doses (25 mg up to 3 times a day), it helps with morning sickness (primarily nausea, but not vomitting) for many pregnant women.

Folic Acid/Folate (600 mcg)
Helps support the placenta, and prevents spina bifida and other neural tube defects

Calcium (1,000 – 1,300 mg)
During pregnancy, the baby growing in its mother’s womb needs plenty of calcium to develop its skeleton. This need is especially great during the last 3 months of pregnancy. It creates strong bones and teeth, helps prevent blood clots, helps muscles and nerves function.

Iron (27 mg)
Helps in the production of hemoglobin; prevents anemia, low birth weight, and premature delivery.

Protein (71 mg)
Helps in the production of amino acids; repairs cells
Most animal foods, meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, veggie burgers, beans, legumes, nuts

Zinc (11-12 mg)
Helps produce insulin and enzymes. Zinc is a trace element essential for cells of the immune system, and zinc deficiency affects the ability of T cells and other immune cells to function as they should.

1. Mollik AH. Plants from Sundarbans to the diet of lactating mothers during puerperium of Barguna district of Bangladesh. Pediatr Nephrol. 2010;25:1904. Abstract #298. DOI: doi:10.1007/s00467-010-1577-z

2. Estrella MC, Mantaring JB, David GZ, Taup MA. A double-blind, randomized controlled trial on the use of malunggay (Moringa oleifera) for augmentation of the volume of breastmilk among non-nursing mothers of preterm infants. Philipp J Pediatr. 2000;49:3-6.

3. Your Pregnancy and Birth, Month to Month, Fifth Ed. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Ch. 13. Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, http://www.iom.edu/


4. The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol Committee. ABM clinical protocol #9: use of galactogogues in initiating or augmenting the rate of maternal milk secretion (First revision January 2011). Breastfeed Med. 2011;6:41-9. PMID: