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Licorice Can Cause Premature Birth

Pregnant women who ate the sweet twice as likely to deliver early, Finnish study finds

Lots of licorice could mean an early delivery for pregnant women, some experts say.

According to a story from the BBC, women who eat plenty of licorice are at greater risk for premature babies. The story is based on a study in Finland, where researchers say women who ate at least 2.5 packets of black licorice candies, containing 100 grams each, were twice as likely to deliver before 38 weeks than those who didn't. The researchers also found that licorice eaters were likely to deliver about 2.5 days earlier than those who ate little or none of the sweets.

Licorice happens to be popular among pregnant women in Finland, probably because they already know what the researchers just reported, experts say. "Many pregnant women love licorice candies, mainly the black ones," says Dr. Timo Strandberg of the University of Helsinki, the lead author of the study.

Experts say they think licorice stimulates the production of prostaglandin, a hormone that can induce labor. More than 1,000 women took part in the Finnish study.

To find out what you should eat while pregnant, you can read this information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or this from HealthCanada.

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