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Herbs have been used by women for ages to deal with the symptoms of pregnancy and to prepare the body for childbirth. In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in such herbs as more and more people are looking to alternative methods for maintaining a healthy life. The use of herbs is not to be taken lightly, however, as there are certain herbs that can be harmful in pregnancy. It should also be noted that herbs are not regulated in the U.S., and different brands can have drastically different potency. When using herbs, it is always best to use them fresh from the herb garden. Unfortunately, that is very impractical for the majority of people. Nonetheless, herbs can be used safely and effectively in a variety of methods. The following is a list of some of the herbs that can be effective in pregnancy and their common uses.


RED RASPBERRY LEAF

This is an all around favorite for use during pregnancy and childbirth. Red raspberry leaf tones and strengthens the uterus and prepares it for labor. While it does relieve morning sickness, it is better not to use this herb until the second trimester if there is a risk of miscarriage. It is rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins B, C, & D and aids in the production of milk.

NETTLES

This is another favorite. Nettles nourishes the kidneys, reduce leg cramps, and is rich in iron, calcium, and protein. It reduces the pain of childbirth and prevents postpartum hemorrhage. Caution: Do not use concentrated extracts of stinging nettles as this can lead to miscarriage.

ALFALFA

Alfalfa is rich in vitamins A, D, E, K, and protein. It cleanses the blood and helps prevent postpartum hemorrhage.

DANDELION

Dandelion reduces water retention and helps prevent birth defects. It is a good source of vitamins A, C, iron, calcium, and potassium.

PSYLLIUM

Psyllium is a good source of fiber and relieves constipation.

BUTCHER'S BROOM

Butcher's broom helps prevent varicose veins

FALSE UNICORN

False unicorn eases nausea and prevents miscarriage.

GINGER

Ginger also eases nausea, but it can be harmful in large amounts.

CARAWAY

Caraway eases labor and stimulates the flow of milk.

BLUE AND BLACK COHOSH

These herbs should ONLY be used in the last weeks of pregnancy. They stimulate contractions and prepare the uterus for birth.

AVOID THESE HERBS DURING PREGNANCY

aloe vera
goldenseal
pennyroyal
feverfew
ephedra
wormwood
yarrow


These lists are not all inclusive. Ask your doctor or midwife before beginning use, and read as much as you can about their uses.