An Herbal pregnancy can make what is already a beautiful experience, even better. Some women experience intolerable effects from the rapid physical and emotional changes occurring in their bodies, but alternative treatments, such as herbal remedies, can provide extra nourishment as well as assuage and ease potential discomforts.
The most important factor in deciding whether to take a supplement during pregnancy is safety for both mother and fetus. The FDA does not regulate many alternative products; calibration of components may show varying degrees of potency between batches and/or different manufacturers. Although many variations are slight, even minor discernments of certain vitamins and herbs can mean the difference between safe and unsafe for pregnant women.
The safest way to determine proper supplements is to consult an OB/GYN and a certified natural specialist such as a homeopath, naturopath or herbalist. In addition, many midwives are trained in alternative medicines such as herbs.
Why Some Women Need Help
Even the most diligent woman, who exercises regularly, sleeps well and eats a healthy diet, can suffer unwanted effects while she is pregnant. An alternative practitioner will recommend solutions based on probable causes of symptoms:
- Low blood sugar
- Mood swings
- Morning sickness
- Insufficient Calcium
- Severe Labor Pains
For the health of herself and her child, a pregnant woman must obtain adequate levels of vitamins, minerals and protein. When these cannot be obtained via diet or a woman suffers intolerable symptoms such as nausea, poor appetite or tiredness, a viable solution is natural supplements.
Pregnancy Tonic Herbs
Tonic herbs act gradually, often taken for several months, and have a gentle, cumulative effect on the body. They benefit pregnant women with a supply of nourishment, increased energy and tone the uterus. Two popular tonic herbs used in an herbal pregnancy are Raspberry Leaf and Nettle Leaves.
Raspberry Leaf is the most commonly utilized tonic herb and considered one of the safest for pregnant women. Fragrine, an alkaloid and prime compound of Raspberry Leaf, helps tone muscles of the uterus and pelvic floor. It is rich inVitamins C and E and an optimal source of iron and calcium. If lacking, the latter two minerals can be responsible for many unwanted issues.
In addition, regular use of Raspberry Leaf can prevent miscarriage, diminish morning sickness, promote as easier labor with less risks of complications and aid in lactation after birth.
Nettle leaves are packed with nutrients, including all vitaminsand minerals known to promote human growth. The leaves of the Nettle plant have more chlorophyll than any other herb.
Nettle leaves are infused and provide a steady supply of nutrients that help during an herbal pregnancy:
- Reduce Hemorrhoids
- Prevent post-partum hemorrhaging
- Alleviate leg cramps
- Lessen muscle spasms
- Ensure kidney health
In addition, some women continue to take Nettle after birth as it aids lactation. Other postpartum uses include nourishing the nervous system and stabilizing hormones.
Other Common Herbs
In addition to tonic herbs, herbs considered safe during an herbal pregnancy are:
- Peppermint – relieves nausea and indigestion
- Ginger Root – allays nausea and vomiting
- Slippery Elm – the inner bark can help reduce nausea, heartburn, indigestion and vaginal irritations
- Oats and Oat Straw – ideal source of Calcium and Magnesium; eases anxiety and restlessness; treats irritate skin
Additional herbs believe to be safe include Blond Psylium, Black Psylium, Garlic and Capsicum, Dandelion root and leaf and German Chamomile.
Herbs to Avoid during Pregnancy
During an herbal pregnancy you should avoid internal use of the following herbs:
Alkanet, Aloe, Angelica, Anise, Anise Star, Arnica, Ashwaganda, Barley Grass, Barberry, Basil, Bitter Melon, Black Cohosh, Bladderwrack, Blessed Thistle, Blood Root, Blue Cohosh, Blue Flag, Blue Vervain, Borage, Buckthorn, California Poppy, Cascara Sagrada, Catnip, Celandine, Celery, Chervil, Cinnamon, Club Moss, Comfrey, Coltsfoot, Cubeb, Dong Quai, Elecampane, Ephedra, Evening Primrose, False Unicorn, Fenugreek, Feverfew, Ginger, Golden Seal, Gravel, Guarana, Gymnema, Horehound, Horsetail, Hyssop, Juniper, Kava Kava, Lemongrass, Licorice, Lobelia, Lovage, Lungwort, Mace, Motherwort, Mugwort, Muira Puama, Myrrh, Neem, Oregon Grape,Osha, Parsley, Pennyroyal, Pleurisy, Prickly Ash, Red Clover, Rhodiola, Roman Chamomile, Rosemary, Rue, Sage, Sassafras, Sarsaparilla, Senna, Shepherds Purse, Spikenard, Turkey Rhubarb, Turmeric, Uva Ursi, Vitex, Watercress, White Sage, Wormwood, Yarrow.
Note that some of these herbs have medicinal and culinary purposes; internal use for medicinal properties is unsafe, but adding small amounts of spices such as cinnamon or garlic to add flavor to a meal is fine.
A qualified herbalist may recommend the use of a contraindicated herb to treat pregnant related symptoms in a safe manner; without the supervision and guidance of an expert, this is a general list of herbs that most pregnant women should avoid.
Pregnant women need to take great care regarding the foods, supplements and herbs she puts into her body. Many safe herbs exist to treat unwanted issues such as nausea, vomiting, tiredness and other discomforts associated with pregnancy. Women should consult a certified alternative practitioner before taking any herbal remedies to ensure the supplement will safely ease symptoms for an herbal pregnancy.