Pregnancy is not all sunshine and glowing skin as the media portrays it. That “glow” usually comes from sweat beads forming around abounding waves of nausea. As miraculous as the process is, the experience itself is, at times, utterly disagreeable for many women. Not a lot of medications are safe to take during pregnancy to ease common complaints. Yet, herbal medications, when taken safely, can give you the ability to focus on the magic of pregnancy, rather than the discomforts.
There are safe ways to treat your pregnancy-related, and even general health, issues safely and effectively while you’re growing a human. Many plants are nature’s medicine. When used properly, they can provide their healing benefits more safely than chemical medications, and often with far fewer alarming side effects. Here are some guidelines you should follow before ingesting anything to maintain a healthy pregnancy journey.
Consult a Physician and a Trained Herbalist
Before starting or stopping anything, particularly while pregnant, you should consult your healthcare professional, particularly your OB/GYN. Once you have the go-ahead to pursue natural remedies, find yourself someone trained in herbalism. A quick Internet search will help you locate a trained herbalist in your area. Please do not skip this step. Your naturopathic or traditional doctor can help guide you in the right direction.
These professionals can assist you in putting together a plan with fewer contra-indications, which can result in miscarriage or birth defects. A trained herbalist will help you make a plan of attack, so to speak. They can help you with many issues in every stage of your pregnancy. Don’t be tempted to conduct Internet research by yourself try treating yourself without guidance.
During pregnancy, the body has to cope with the stress of forming two extra pounds of uterine muscle, amniotic fluid, a placenta, and increased blood volume, not to mention the fetus’s body. Therefore, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are essential.
Check Safety Ratings of Herbs
After you’ve been cleared by your doctor to use herbal medicines, the next important step is to check the safety ratings of the herbs in which you are interested. Constipation is a very common pregnancy problem. When asking “What is the best natural laxative?” you actually are looking for a quick solution for your problem that won’t hurt your baby. For example, dandelion is a good digestive aide. As noted earlier, constipation is a big problem during gestation. Dandelion has a gentle laxative and diuretic effect. To find out if a particular herb is safe during pregnancy, be sure to do an conduct thorough research, consult your OB/GYN or other healthcare professional and find a reputable company that sells it.
Many herbs that are safe during pregnancy are only safe after a certain point. Red raspberry leaf tea is one of these herbs. It can can ripen the uterus for delivery, as well as aid in milk production. The benefits it brings, such as preventing miscarriage and hemorrhaging, easing of morning sickness, and reducing pain during and after birth, all are due to the vitamins A and B, and minerals such as phosphorus and potassium. However, if ingested before 32 weeks, you run the risk of preterm labor.
Ginger, a powerful antiviral and antibacterial herb, can be mashed into tea to ease morning sickness during pregnancy. It does this because of zingibain, a cysteine protease enzyme. However, it should not be abused.
Peppermint leaf also can be helpful in relieving nausea and flatulence.
Used in foods, slippery elm bark works to help with nausea, heartburn, and vaginal irritations.
Similarly, calcium- and magnesium-rich oats and oat straws ease anxiety, restlessness, and irritated skin.
Other herbal teas, when taken in large amounts (which pregnant women often do as a substitute for caffeine) can increase the odds of miscarriage, preterm labor, or low birth weight. Some of these are comfrey, European mistletoe, hibiscus, passion flower, Roman chamomile, sage, and nettle leaf.
Rosemary, usually safe for consumption, is considered by the FDA to be unsafe during pregnancy because it may cause uterine and menstrual flow stimulant effects.
Other dangerous herbs are garlic, ginseng, evening primrose, feverfew, Kava Kava and turmeric.
Even aloe, usually praised for breaking down fats and starches due to its lipase and amylase, is not recommended during pregnancy.
Know Your Ingestion Methods and Time Frames
There are many ways to ingest herbs: tinctures, tonics, decoctions. It’s all pretty overwhelming for the novice herb user. Various types of preparations have differing results and potencies. Many herb preparations are only safe when taken in certain ways. Otherwise, you could absorb too much of the medicine, or not enough to be helpful.
Check that you’re using the herbs during the correct trimester of your pregnancy. Many herbal remedies have the ability to induce labor, so it is important to know the properties of the medicines you’re taking. Herbs are also a safe alternative while breastfeeding, with many herbs aiding in milk production. If a particular herb claims to increases milk production, it shouldn’t be used earlier than the third trimester, which is 28 weeks. However, it is advisable to wait until 32 weeks, to err on the side of caution.
There are many things to consider before taking anything if you aren’t completely completely sure about its safety. Due to the nature of pregnancy and how fragile it can be, not a lot of studies can prove the efficacy and safety of most herbs. Being informed will help you find what works for you. Thanks to Mother Nature, a happier, healthier, and more comfortable pregnancy is within your reach.