Depending on what type of health care provider you see, he/she may recommend using herbs to help promote the health of your pregnancy. Remember, never try to self dose or diagnose with any medications, including herbs. Because each pregnancy is different, with its own specific details, the best way to use herbs is under the care of a midwife, physician, herbalist, naturopathic or homeopathic doctor.
Choosing to use herbs during pregnancy is a personal choice, but to ensure the best outcome for you and your baby, you should be well educated on the types of herbs, parts of the herb (root, leaf, etc…) and the way that they could be used (caplet, tonic, tea). The herbs that are considered safe to use during pregnancy are often food or tonic herbs. These often will be found in either tablet form, tea, or infusion form.
The following herbs have been rated Likely Safe or Possibly Safe for use during pregnancy:
* Red Raspberry Leaf
Rich in iron, this herb has helped tone the uterus, increase milk production, decrease nausea, and ease labor pains. Some studies have even reported that using red raspberry leaf during pregnancy can reduce complications and the use of interventions during birth.5 You may see pregnancy teas that are made from red raspberry leaf to help promote uterine health during pregnancy.
There is some controversy about whether this should be used throughout pregnancy or just in the second and third trimester, so many health care providers remain cautious and only recommend using it after the first trimester.
* Peppermint Leaf – Helpful in relieving nausea/morning sickness and flatulence
* Ginger root – Helps relieve nausea and vomiting
* Slippery Elm Bark – (when the inner bark is used orally in amounts used in foods) Used to help relieve nausea, heartburn, and vaginal irritations
* Oats & Oat Straw – Rich in calcium and magnesium; helps relieve anxiety, restlessness, and irritated skin
Additional herbs rated Likely Safe or Possibly Safe:
* Blond Psyllium – when used orally and appropriately
* Black Psyllium – when used orally with appropriate fluid intake
* Garlic – when used orally in amounts commonly found in foods
* Capsicum (Cayenne, hot pepper) – when used topically and appropriately