I've been trying to read up on what's good and what's bad for pregnancy. I'm very interested in your opinions, tips and advice, and also to let me know anywhere the internet has lead me astray. I want to what's best for us both! Hopefully this thread will be helpful to other preggos too.
Preventing miscarriage starts pre-conception with techniques such as detoxification, diet, exercise and tonic herbs to strengthen the reproductive organs. Suitable herbs to be drunk as tonifying teas include Partridge Berry, False Unicorn, Black Cohosh, Black Haw, Motherwort and Red Raspberry. These herbs may be drunk for several months to prepare the uterus and other organs for pregnancy. Note that all of these herbs except the Raspberry should be halted as soon as pregnancy occurs.
Valerian should be avoided.
To Be Avoided During Pregnancy
"Herbs that have a stimulating effect on the womb and thus could accidentally cause a miscarriage should be avoided."
Sage - Pennyroyal - Tansy - Wormwood - Southernwood - Thuja - Black Cohosh - Blue Cohosh - Golden Seal - Autumn Crocus - Barberry - Juniper - Rue Cruta - Mandrake - Male Fern - Pokroot - Valerian
Herbs to avoid during pregnancy
Licorice Ephedra (Ma Huang)
Myrrh Dong Quai
Oregon grape Comfrey
Parsley Male fern
Scotch broom Celandine
Sweet Annie Tansy
Thuja (Arbor vitae) Sage
Essential oils to avoid during pregnancy
Myrrh Clary sage
Preparing for Childbirth
Raspberry leaf is an excellent tonic to take during pregnancy and for a month or two after the birth. Raspbery leaves will strengthen and tone the tissue of the uterus, assist contractions during labour, reduce any haemorrhage, alleviate labour pains, and will also help minimise morning sickness. This can be substituted with Salmonberry or Thimbleberry leaves if preferred.
It is helpful to massage the perineum daily during pregnancy with organic olive oil, to ensure supple tissue for the birth. During the second stage of labour the perineum may be bathed with hot calendula lotion made up from one teaspoon of calendula tincture and one pint of hot water. This enables the perineal tissues to better withstand stretching during birth. This may be combined with perineal massage by the attendant.
Calendula lotion may also be used to asssist with excessive stretching or tearing for the first week after the birth.
In the 3rd Trimester Herbs to strengthen and tone the uterus can be introduced. Some of these are the ones used pre-conception to ready the uterus. They include: Partridge Berry, Black Cohosh, Black Haw and Skullcap.
ChildbirthIn the last month of the pregnancy you can introduce stronger more stimulating herbs which will help to promote an easy labour. These include: Motherwort, Blue Cohosh, False Unicorn and Fenugreek.
Do not use herbs yourself to influence a delivery. This should only be done at the hands of an experienced herbalist, midwife or other primary health care practitioner.
Blue Cohosh, Tansy, Southernwood, Goldenseal, Wormwood, Beth Root, Nutmeg, Myrrh, Pennyroyal, Hyssop, Rue, Fenugreek and Scotch Broom.
Wild yam, Cramp Bark, Black haw, valerian, Lobelia, Black Cohosh, Skullcap, Lady's Slipper, Jamaican Dogwood, Chamomile, Linden.
Essential oils may also be useful here. These should be gently massaged into the abdomen, diluted in almond oil. Suitable oils include: Rose, Rosemary, Lavender, Chamomile, Ylang ylang, Geranium and Verbena.
Jamaican Dogwood, Lavender, Lobelia, Black Haw, Valerian, Blue Cohosh, Lady's Slipper. The essential oils mentioned above may also be useful.
Nettle, Cayenne, Shepard's Purse and Agrimony.
Beth Root, Dong Quai, Shepard's Purse, Wild Yam, False Unicorn root, Milk vetch, Goldenseal and Motherwort.
Post partum pain
Lady's Slipper, Ginger, Yarrow, Valerian, Pasque Flower, Jamaican Dogwood, Wild Yam and Black Cohosh. For extreme pain, under professional guidance, herbs such as Aconite or Belladonna may be used, provided the mother is not breast feeding.
There are some herbal formulas which can safely be used by all new mothers, and which do not require professional guidance.
A useful treatment for any tearing during delivery and after episiotomy. It is used in the form of a sitz (hip) bath used daily. Suitable herbs could include Calendula, Arnica flowers, Comfrey leaves, Plantain leaves, Goldenseal, St. John's Wort and Witch Hazel. Essential oils of Cypress and Lavender may be added to the water. Sea salt is also useful in the water as an antiseptic and to promote healing.
Herbs for Pregnancy
Severe anxiety during pregnancy can put the tiny thing at risk. Tea made of Chamomile, St.Johnswort and a little bit of Valerian might do the trick.
Essential oil of Rose and Lavender evaporated in an oil-burner will also help.
If a weakened womb or trauma (acute or previous) is at the root of the problem a tea of False Unicorn Root and Cramp Bark may do the trick.
During pregnancy, you need alot of iron. Low blood pressure (caused by a thickening of the veins) and iron defficiancy can make you terrible dizzy and even make you pass out.
The diet should contain calcium, phosphorus and iron rich foods. Nettle soups, spinach and watercress salads and green leafy vegetables are especially nutritious. These plants are very rich in iron and are particularly recommended if there is any sign of anemia. Iron is essential in forming red blood cells, which transport oxygen throughout the body. Lack of red blood cells or the iron necessary to make them, can leave the mother feeling tired, dizzy and easily exhausted. It also affects the child's ability to form its own vital red blood cells. If this is the case Yellow Dock Root (Rumex crispus) is often given as a remedy to increase iron in the blood.
Foods richest in iron include whole wheat, seaweed, tahini, green leafy vegetables (popeye spinach), nuts, dates, figs and beans.
Morning Sickness - Chamomile - Meadowsweet - Raspberry Leaf - Essential oil of Spearmint evaporated in an oil-burner during the night may also be a great help. As an aid to morning sickness and heartburn during pregnancy take ginger as a tea when needed.
Chamomile and peppermint tea is helpful for nausea. Use a teaspoon of either or both herbs per cup of water and drink freely. You can also use Ginger as a tea. It is made with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger per cup of water, simmered for 10 minutes, tightly covered. This can be sweetened with honey to taste. If these are not sufficient use Black Horehound. Swallowing cracked ice or plain yoghurt may alleviate actual vomiting. Slippery elm gruel made with a tablespoon of powdered stirred into a cup of water may be used a nutritive stomach settler. Use just a little water at first to make a paste then slowly add the remaining water.
One of the worst discomforts during pregnancy for many women is the sense of extreme heaviness and the aching back that goes with it. Especially in the later months this can be quite bothersome. Lavender and Rose pure essential oil can help reduce such discomforts. Mixed in a nutrient rich oil base such as Almond and Wheatgerm and massaged into the womb and lower back can have a very soothing effect on the nerves and muscles. Lavender and Wheatgerm oil also both have a reputation for reducing or even eliminating the possibility of getting stretch-marks.
If varicose veins or haemorrhoids are a problem try keeping the legs up as much as possible. Let someone else do the housework and treat yourself to a leg and foot massage. The massage oil should contain a few drops of Geranium and Cypress essential oil, which can be gently massaged into the affected areas. The direction should be from the feet towards the heart.
Calcium is of primary importance for growth, and the development of bones, teeth, and the nervous system. The most easily assimilated form in which to take minerals is the organic form found in plants and animals.
An excellent herb combination to organically supply calcium is horsetail and oatstraw, steep a teaspoonful of each herb to a cup of boiling water for 15 minutes and drink three times daily. Two food sources which have the highest concentration of calcium are sesame seed paste (known in the Middle East as tahini),and all forms of seaweed, including kelp. Other good sources are green leafy vegetables, almonds, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds and figs.
For haemorrhoids use a rectal suppository containing cocoa butter and Horse Chestnut, Agrimony, Witch Hazel or Tormentil. Be sure to drink lots of water and consider using psyllium to soften the stool.
For indigestion and heart burn drink Chamomile, Peppermint, Lemon Balm, Lemon Grass, Ginger, Cinnamon or Cardamom.
In cases of threatened miscarriage the following herbs may be used, perhaps in a tincture form for increased potency: Wild Yam, Lady's Slipper, Ginger, True Unicorn root, Skullcap, and Black Haw.
To stimulate the milk flow, when breastfeeding, drink freely of a tea, 4-6 times daily, of one or more of the following - blessed thistle, marshmallow root, fennel seed and alfalfa.
Just to add - to increase milk supply after birth, Blessed Thistle and Fenugreek work well together.
To enrich and increase the milk supply Borage, Goat's Rue, Fennel, Raspberry, Vervain, Alfalfa, Anise, Blessed Thistle, Melilot and Nettle.
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To rebalance hormones and tone the reproductive organs
Partridge Berry, White Dead Nettle, Yarrow, Chaste Berry, Raspberry, False Unicorn, True Unicorn, Licorice, Sarsaparilla, Blessed Thistle and Dong Quai.
To reduce milk flow during weaning
Sage, Motherwort, Yarrow, Thyme and Raspberry.