Herbs that can help ease pregnancy woes
A pregnancy can be an exciting time. But it can also bring morning sickness, urinary tract infections, or other uncomfortable symptoms. A handful of herbal remedies can ease common complaints. These three stand-outs can make getting through those nine months easier for you and your baby.
Ginger is widely recognized as the leading herbal remedy for nausea (morning sickness). Little is known about the safety of anti-nausea drugs during pregnancy, so ginger is a fantastic alternative. Taking four 250 mg capsules containing ginger root powder daily for four days was shown to reduce nausea by 50 percent in one study, with no adverse effects. A 2014 study published in Nursing and Midwifery Studies found similar results in a seven-day study. A 2015 paper reports that ginger has no negative effects on the developing fetus. More than two dozen published randomized controlled trials confirm the effectiveness of ginger for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Try ginger capsules at a dose of 1,000 mg to 1,500 mg per day.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common during pregnancy. Medical doctors will commonly prescribe antibiotics for a first infection, and for a second infection, pregnant women are generally advised to continue taking antibiotics for the entire pregnancy to prevent further infections. The problem: A developing consensus is that exposure to antibiotics during pregnancy has long-term consequences for babies, including asthma and inflammatory bowel disease later in life. Cranberry is an alternative worth trying to help prevent UTIs or treat a UTI in its early stages. A 2013 paper found no harmful effects on the baby after cranberry use in pregnancy. Use cranberry capsules or unsweetened cranberry juice as needed.
Raspberry Leaf Tea
Raspberry leaf is one of the most recommended herbs worldwide for use in pregnancy. Rich in minerals, raspberry leaf tea helps support the developing fetus. Herbalists recommend it to help support uterine muscle, facilitate retention of the fetus during gestation, and assist with contractions during the birth. Drink one cup of raspberry leaf tea per day.
Herbs to avoid
There are a few herbs that may be unsafe during pregnancy and should be avoided. These include:
- Uterine stimulants, such as pennyroyal. They can cause uterine contractions at high doses.
- Potent detoxifiers, such as chaparral. They can expose the baby to potentially high doses of waste substances.
- Laxatives that contract smooth muscle, such as cascara sagrada. Since the uterus is made of smooth muscle, they may unintentionally stimulate uterine contractions.
- Strong stimulants, such as yohimbe. They are not ideal for the baby’s developing endocrine system.