Herbal Remedies During Pregnancy

Pregnant women have a wide variety of symptoms that are uncomfortable prior to and during childbirth, including nausea, fatigue, vomiting, constipation, etc. Are there natural treatments, life-style changes, exercises, and herbal remedies that can alleviate these symptom? Which treatments are safest for the unborn child? Are there herbs that are unsafe and should be avoided? What does the latest research tell us about herbal remedies and diet during pregnancy?

WHAT ARE THE COMMON SYMPTOMS OF PREGNANCY?
The human body goes through a metamorphosis during the nine months of pregnancy. Women’s bodies are constantly changing and adapting to the symptoms that arise with the growing fetus inside the uterus. Mayo Clinic (2015) provides a list of the common symptoms associated with pregnancy. Pregnancy symptoms include, but are limited, to the following:

  • Tender swollen breasts
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Increased urination
  • Fatigue
  • Food aversions or cravings
  • Slight vaginal bleeding
  • Cramping
  • Mood swings
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation

Pregnant Couple BeachHOW CAN HERBAL REMEDIES HELP?
Pregnancy symptoms can be difficult to handle for some women. In those instances, over-the-counter or prescribed medicine from a health professional may be utilized. Woman may also seek herbal remedies to aid with their harsh pregnancy symptoms. Herbal remedies can provide additional nutrients for the pregnant woman and her growing baby.

IT’S WISE TO BE CAUTIOUS
Since everything women eat is also being consumed by the fetus growing inside of the uterus, it’s important to seek the advice from a medical professional before trying any herbal remedies during pregnancy. It’s not recommended to take any kind of herbal supplements or medicine during the first trimester of pregnancy.

According to the American Pregnancy Association (2013),
“unlike prescription drugs, natural herbs and vitamin supplements do not go through the same scrutiny and evaluation process by the FDA”.

herbs and spicesIt’s wise to be cautious when it comes to herbal remedies in general, especially during pregnancy. Not all herbs are safe to consume. Some may cause miscarriage, premature labor, and/or abdominal pain. Injury to the fetus is possible. The US Food and Drug Administration has a rating system for herbs during pregnancy. The rating system consists of these categories: likely safe, possibly safe, and likely unsafe during pregnancy.The American Pregnancy Association (2015) lists the herbs that are likely safe or possibly safe during pregnancy.

SAFE HERBS FOR USE DURING PREGNANCY

Red Raspberry LeafRed Raspberry Leaf– Rich in iron, this herb has helped tone the uterus, increase milk production, decrease nausea, and ease labor pains

Peppermint LeavesPeppermint Leaf – Helpful in relieving nausea/morning sickness and flatulence

gingerGinger root – Helps relieve nausea and vomiting

Slippery Elm BarkSlippery Elm Bark – (when the inner bark is used orally in amounts used in foods) Used to help relieve nausea, heartburn, and vaginal irritations

Oat FieldOats & Oat Straw – Rich in calcium and magnesium; helps relieve anxiety, restlessness, and irritated skin

dandelionDandelion – Rich in Vitamin A, calcium, and iron; dandelion root and leaf can also help relieve mild edema and nourish the liver

chamomileChamomile (German) – High in calcium and magnesium; also helps with sleeplessness and inflammation of joints

stinging nettleNettles (Stinging Nettles) – High in vitamins A, C, K calcium, potassium, and iron. Used in many pregnancy teas because it is a great all around pregnancy tonic.

 

cup of hot tea
DRINKING HERBAL TEAS

Herbal teas such as raspberry, peach, lemon or peppermint are safe to drink during pregnancy. Not only is drinking herbal tea soothing for the mind and body, but the teas offer a good source of vitamin and minerals for the mother-to-be and baby.

Pregnant Mother Baby ClothesWHICH HERBS SHOULD BE AVOIDED?
Some herbal remedies to avoid during pregnancy include ginger, jasmine, aloe vera, caraway, celery seed, chamomile, oregano, nutmeg, and passion flower. If taken in large amounts, these herbs can cause early contractions, miscarriage, or premature labor. This is not a complete list of herbal remedies of which to be cautious. For more information, individual research can be  reviewed to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy, and always consult with a trusted family doctor or health practitioner.

 

REFERENCES

American Pregnancy Association. (2013). Herbs and Pregnancy: What are the risks?. Herbs and Pregnancy. Retrieved March 19, 2015

Deep Roots at Home. (2015). Red Raspberry Leaf/Pregnancy Herb-Collect Now, Pt. 1. Retrieved March 19, 2015

Food Safety Information Council. (2015). What is listeria?  Listeria and Pregnancy, the Elderly and People with Weakened Immune Systems. Retrieved March 19, 2015

Mayo Clinic. (2015). Classic Symptoms of Pregnancy. Symptoms of Pregnancy: What happens right away. Retrieved March 19, 2015

Simpson et al., “Raspberry Leaf in Pregnancy: Its Safety and Efficacy in Labor,” Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health 46, no. 2 (March–April 2001): 51–59

 

 

_________________________________________________

This articleHang Pham, MBHA Health Educator is written by Hang Pham. Hang Pham is a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance Health and Wellness Educator. Hang Pham was born in Hoc Mon, Vietnam. She came to America in 1994, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2011. Hang graduated from Seaside High School with diploma and received her AA in General Studies from Monterey Peninsula College in 2011. She received her BA in Collaborative Health and Human Services from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in 2012. In addition to working as a volunteer staff with the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, she currently works as a Clerical Aid in the Human Resources Department of Salinas City Hall. The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3 nonprofit health and wellness education organization. For more information about the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.   All images are copyright free, from www.pixabay.com unless otherwise noted.

Disclaimer:  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s