Is It Okay to Use Blue Cohosh?


Dear Midwife,
I am currently pregnant with my second child and have had numerous problems with this one, including preterm labor issues around 26 weeks. I have been on terbutaline since that time, even though I don't agree with it. My baby has dropped and has been head down since that time.

Currently I am experiencing clear fluid leakage and a large decrease in baby's movements. I was monitored today and although the baby's heart rate jumped randomly between 120-180 the two hours I was monitored, I was told that things are fine.

I also have very low iron, 30, and changing my diet to high iron foods has not helped with my energy level. This cannot be good for me or for the baby, but I am constantly ignored by my health care practitioner regarding concerns of this. I cannot take iron supplements as they make me violently ill. I have tried 3 different ones in the past month because my ob/gyn doesn't understand what "violently ill" means.

I also have severe pain in between my legs which I was told is my pelvis spreading. There are many other issues that go along with this pregnancy that make it complicated, but my body cannot handle this any more, nor can my mental state. I have recently quit taking terbutaline and have been taking blue cohosh for approximately one week now. I started to dilate at 28 weeks and have yet to be checked again by my ob. How should I expect the blue cohosh to affect my body and does it assist with inducing labor?

Thank you for your time.


It sounds like you have had a very hard time so far, I'm so sorry. But trust me, having a 28-week sick baby may mean that you have an even harder time for the rest of your life. It is not worth it to go against your provider's advice about preventing labor at this time. If you are not comfortable with this provider, shop for another, but until you find one you like, do follow the advice you've been given.

Blue cohosh is NOT a good idea. You may need some medication to help you complete the pregnancy, but both for your own sake and for your baby's sake, do plan to complete the pregnancy to at least 37 weeks. These few weeks can make all the difference to you both. Good luck! I hope things get better for you.

-- Cynthia, CNM

Follow up Question

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.