Only to be used on medical advice and supervision. During the first trimester it is preferable to avoid the use of herbs unless medically indicated.
By the second trimester, however, herbs can be utilized for their nutritive purposes should the pregnant woman so desire, or should the practitioner deem it likely to have benefit for the individual client. Used thus, herbs are commonly referred to as “tonics.”
Herbal tonics can prove especially helpful for pregnant women as they derive nutrients from the soil that many of our more common foods may be lacking, and because of their unique compositions, herbs don’t usually leave women feeling nauseated or constipated, as do many vitamin and mineral supplements, and the nutrients are more easily assimilated.
Herbs are also inexpensive, and the daily practice of drinking nourishing herbal infusions can be a positive and comforting practice for a woman to adopt during her pregnancy.
Optimal nutrition is the cornerstone of a healthy pregnancy and improving nutrition is often the most valuable remedial action for many pregnancy concerns.
Baths of chamomile infusion may also be taken to promote peace and relaxation – combine chamomile and lavender in an infusion and add this to the tub.
Dandelion root and leaves
Not only is dandelion a highly nutritious herb rich in potassium, iron, vitamin A, and calcium among other minerals and vitamins, but when eating the leaves as greens or drinking the root in infusion, it is a digestive tonic, supports normal bowel flora due to its inulin content, and provides liver support.
Dandelion tincture can help to alleviate nausea and relieve a sour feeling in the stomach, and throughout the rest of pregnancy dandelion root relieves itching of the skin and constipation.
Pregnant women may wish to add fresh dandelion greens to salads or sauté them with garlic and add a dash of lemon and tamari. Tincture can also be taken for the medicinal benefits, though the nutritional value will not be very great this way.
The main use of lavender during pregnancy is as a relaxing tea and soothing addition to baths. It will promote sleep, reduce anxiety, lift depression, and calm heart palpitations. It can also help to relieve gas, indigestion and stimulate the appetite.
Add a pinch of lavender to chamomile tea, or add a few drops of lavender oil to the bath, especially before bed. Lavender also makes a calming addition to massage oil. The essential oil should not be used internally.
Lemon balm calms the spirit, reduces tension, is uplifting and promotes digestion. It can be added to chamomile and lavender teas, or prepared alone. Lemon balm can be added to other infusions and teas to improve their flavor.
One of the best herbs for pregnancy, supplying trace quantities of usable vitamins and minerals, promoting healthy urinary tract function, and strengthening the blood vessels reducing the likelihood of hemorrhaging at the time of birth.
Nettles should be a regular addition to the diets of pregnant women, as it is very effective in nourishing the blood and preventing anemia.
For optimal health take nettles infusion daily, up to one quart. To prepare steep one handful of dried nettles in a quart of boiling water for one hour.
This herb is considered one of the best uterine tonics for pregnancy. It is also a mild nervous system tonic and an excellent strengthening herb for the urinary bladder, particularly useful for women prone to bladder infection or prolapse. It is generally given in tincture form.
Red raspberry leaves
Rich in minerals (calcium, potassium, and magnesium), this herb is said to nourish the muscles, tonify the uterus, and prevent hemorrhage due to highly astringent qualities.
May be tempered with a small amount of spearmint leaf for taste. It is typically taken as a daily tonic tea, from 1 cup to 1 quart per day, for the last two trimesters. It may also be taken as a postnatal tonic. Not for use in first trimester.
High in vitamin C, a nutrient essential to the health of both the circulatory and immune systems, rose hips make both a nutritious and delicious addition to teas and may be used regularly throughout pregnancy as a beverage and as a flavoring herb for other tea.
Yellow dock is a gentle laxative, and an herb typically used in formulae to improve anemia. It makes dietary iron more available to the body. It prevents and gently remedies constipation, making it an overall reliable and beneficial herb for pregnant women to use throughout the second and third trimester. It can be taken in infusion or syrup for its beneficial properties as well as mineral content, or as a tincture, which will not provide many of the nutrients but will still reduce constipation.