Herbs and Pregnancy

Herbs can support an easier pregnancy by helping alleviate morning sickness, mood swings, leg cramps, hemorrhoids, constipation, and anemia. They can also be used for nourishing and strengthening the body to support a growing, healthy fetus. Some herbs are best used to prepare your body before pregnancy.

Then there are herbs you can use to support your body and the future health of your child during gestation; many of these herbs will help enrich your breast milk during the nursing period. Finally, thank goodness, other herbs can help your body get back into the shape again. And some herbs, of course, should be completely avoided during pregnancy.

You can again remember you ABCs to herbs before, during, and after pregnancy. Before pregnancy you will be cleansing. During pregnancy you will be building and after pregnancy, and when nursing you will be activating your body to get it back into shape again. The three steps to herbally plan for a smoother and healthy pregnancy are:

  1. Cleansing with the use of herbs.
  2. Nourishing (building) the body with herbal nutrients.
  3. Activating and toning the body and reproductive organs.

It wise to begin preparing your body up to a year before conception. First, do some cleansing. An overload liver is usually the culprit that causes morning sickness, so a cleansing and building program for the liver and bowel can help prevent illness during those first few months of pregnancy.

You can use a wonderful general cleansing remedy designed by herbalist Ivy Bridge. This cleanse can be used and should be used well before conception and then again after you deliver and have stopped nursing. Here's the recipe, genereously donated by Ivy for your health:

½ glass of apple juice (organic and no sugar is best, but use your favorite brand otherwise)
2 tablespoons aloe vera juice (if using whole-leaf aloe vera you'll only need 1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons liquid chlorophyll
8 capsules psyllium hulls (or 1 teaspoons loose powder)
2 capsules cascara segrada

Blend aloe vera juice and chlorophyll into apple juice. If you are using powdered psyllium instead of capsules, stirr in the psyllium and drink down quickly; psyllium will expand in water. Swallow your cascara sagrada capsules with a full (at least 8 ounces) glass of pure water.

Use this formula mixture first thing in the morning every day for 60 days. Make sure to drink at least 8 to 10 glass of water each day.

Ivy's formula has been used by many to cleanse the lower bowel of poisoning, strengthen the digestive and intestinal track, lower cholesterol, build blood, soothe acid conditions, air fat loss, and stimulate bile flow from the liver. In addition to this cleanse, one to three capsules/tabletsof milk thistle (or ½ to 1 teaspoons of tincture) may be taken daily.

Milk thistle helps the liver break down and excrete poisons, promotes bile flow, acts as a mild laxative, decongests blood circulation to the liver, and protects the liver cells from damage. As with any cleansing, you may experience new sensations you didn't know you could feel!

Intestinal rumblings, stomach growls, initial intestinal gas, and many trips to the bathroom can all be part of the cleansing process. Use caution if you get diarrhea and cut back on your cascara capsules if you are too uncomfortable. The initial grumblings and mumblings of your intestines should settle down in a few days.

Think of it as a power car wash blasting out years of built-up dirt. The cleaner you get, the less "mud splattering," until finally you are balanced and internally clean. The more possitive effects you may feel include a lighter feeling, clearer skin, weight loss, loss of cravings for junk food, clean breath, and less body odor.

The psyllium hulls, swell in water, which makes you feel satisfied and less hungry. This is one of the reasons why many lose excess weight on the program. After cleansing, you will want to begin a nutritious herbal building program that can be continued from up to a year or any time before conception, through pregnancy, and all during nursing.

Let's talk next about what herbs and nutrients are critical for a healthy pregnancy. So, now you've done your cleanse and broken those bad habits and are feeling clean, trim, and clear. Next you need to begin to build up your body with nutrients. Building your nutritional reserves with herbs rich in calcium, iron, and B vitamins will all work to ensure a healthy pregnancy for you and the little one.

All these nutrients will be good not only prepare your body for pregnancy, but will carry you through your nine months and will even help nourish you and baby during nursing time. If you are already pregnant and haven't had time to build up your reserves, don't fret! You can begin right now taking your nutrients.

A non-synthetic pre-natal vitamin is excelent to cover your bases, and may be prescribed by your doctor. Your herbalist may have a quality source for you also. Compare your options and decide which best for you. Make sure your prenatal vitamin contain extra folic acid and calcium.

Once a fetus begins to grow, the body will take what it needs from the mother. If you (as the mom) are not getting the right nutrients, your body can rob your body's reserves to support the growing fetus. This can lead to uncomfortable symptoms and ailments.

Anemia is a common problem during pregnancy. To avoid anemia, you will want to build a good red blood count. Herbs that can help are rich in iron and include dark green drinks, such as liquid chlorophyll or wheat grass juice. Others are not necessarily green but also are rich in organic iron; these include yellow dock, dandelion, and nettle leaves.

We all know that calcium helps build stron bones and teeth, and calcium is a mineral that helps in bone growth during fetal development. Many believe that we need to drink milk to receive calcium. If this is so, then how do you think the cows produce all that excess calcium-rich milk and maintain those strong bones and hoofs without drinking cow's milk throughout their life?

That's right−the grass! The green plants provide much usable calcium for the body. Calcium-rich herbs are safe pregnancy include alfalfa, liquid chlorophyll, fennel, parsley, horsetail, and oatstraw.

After you have constructed an nutritional herbal program to ensure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals to support a growing getus, there are some extra herbs you can use to strengthen your body for the actual birthing process and to aid some symptoms that frequently accompany pregnancy.

Let's take a look at some common symptoms and their herbal solutions. Red raspberry is an herb that strengthens the uterus and reproductive organs and can even enhance fertility. Red raspberry tea can be sipped during pregnancy and has helped many moms to overcome nausea.

Some moms get constipated during pregnancy, because the same hormone that maintains the pregnancy also decreases the movement of the bowel. One of the safest herbs you can use for constipation during pregnancy is psyllium hulls, or psyllium husks (pronounced silly-um).

Psyllium is a fiber that swells in water and that acts as a intestinal broom, picking up and sweeping away debris from the colon. The colon is a muscle that needs fiber foods that strengthen it by giving it something to resist againts during peristaltic action.

Peristaltic actions is the wavelike movement the bowel makes to move thins along. Most foods we eat offer no fibrous content, so our colon winds up getting flaccid and lazzy, making constipation and hemorrhoids (because of pressure on the lower organs of the body) more common. Psyllium helps keep you going (so to speak) and is safe for the baby as well.

One of the best herbal remedies for nausea or morning sickness during pregnancy is ginger root. Used as a spice in many Indian dishes, ginger also can be taken in a tea or capsules, and some people even like the taste enough to purchase candied ginger for nibbing. Ginger is a restorative herb, which means that it activates the body to bring it into balance.

The proper use of herbs will assists you through the entire birthing process, for before, during, and after pregnancy. A combination used by many moms in daily small doses, five weeks before the due date is a mixture of black cohosh, squawvine, dong quia, butcher's broom, and red raspberry.

Moms who have tried it attest that the combination supported the uterus to carry to full term, prevented premature births, helped with the pain of childbirth, and decreased blood loss during and after delivery. Search out this combination or have an herbalist mix you up a batch. Every mom I know who has used it has reported excelent results. Consult your doctor or midwife before beginning to take this combination.

Congratulations! Now that you used herbs to cleanse, build, and prepare your body for conception, nourished your body and growing fetus for nine months, and used herbs to combat pregnancy discomforts and aid in your delivery, you can consider your baby an herbal baby!

Don't be suprised if you earned the "Earth Mother" reputation with your OB/GYN, especially if you decide to name your baby Herb! With all the efforts you put into your health up to this point, you will still need to continue this regimen during the nursing time for yourself and your child. Let's take a look at why breastfeeding is such a fantastic and natural part of life, and how to enhance the process with herbs.