Every woman’s experience of pregnancy and birth is unique. However, it is a lucky woman indeed who gets through this passage to motherhood completely unscathed. Pregnancy is a time of many changes in a woman’s body. These are all part of the natural process but can come with some rather unpleasant side effects. And while there should be absolutely no judgement around the type of antenatal care and birth you choose or ultimately require, it is always worthwhile considering traditional plant remedies to help you along the way.
During pregnancy, our blood volume increases by a whopping 50%! This, along with a rise in hormones, can be thanked for the famed ‘pregnancy glow’. However, for some women, surging hormone levels can also lead to queasiness, and rising blood volume can place extra pressure on blood vessels, which can contribute to the development of haemorrhoids. Disrupted sleep is another common pregnancy complaint, as well as feelings of worry or stress about the approaching birth or responsibilities of motherhood. Not to mention the shear task of growing another human, which can place a significant burden on nutrient requirements and energy levels.
Traditional plant remedies have been used for centuries and are a well-established and effective way to support you through these pregnancy challenges and prepare the body for birth. Here are some key plant remedies to consider during this time.
Raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus) has a specific affinity to the uterus and has been regarded as a key pregnancy herb since ancient times to support childbirth.It is rich in many vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and phosphorus, that not only nourish the uterus, but also provide the nutrients it needs to contract and relax effectively during labour. It’s key active constituent, fragarine, acts to tonify and strengthen the uterine muscle. These nutrients build up over time, so regular consumption throughout pregnancy is recommended. Raspberry leaf also has digestive properties to support queasiness.
Nettle (Urtica dioica) is another nourishing plant that has been used for thousands of years by pregnant women. It is high in strengthening minerals including iron, calcium and magnesium, vitamins A and C, enzymes and other important nutrients. Incorporating highly nutritive and nourishing plants is important during times of stress and when extra demands are placed on the body, such is the case in pregnancy. Nettle is also traditionally used as a gentle blood cleanser of normal metabolic wastes to provide a clean environment for the growing baby.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis ) is an uplifting yet soothing plant that helps to relax the nervous system. Furthermore, it supports fluid balance, helps to relax tight muscles and acts as a carminative to soothe a queasy stomach.
St John's Wort
St John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum ) is a key traditional remedy used in pregnancy. We have referencedtraditional use of St John’s Wort in pregnancy and childbirth going back to the 16 th century. St. John’s Wort is an energising tonic that can help to support women who are feeling stressed, tired, anxious or overwhelmed. Because of this, it is also a great one to continue after baby arrives. It is an amazing plant that has benefitted many women to better tolerate the changes that pregnancy brings, and when taken in tea form, it is suitable to use alongside pharmaceuticals.
St John’s wort can also be used topically as a remedial oil to nourish the skin and support skin elasticity as your bump grows. It is excellent used as a massage oil for the perineum in the lead up to birth to help the perineum to stretch without breaking. The oil is best applied twice daily for the last 6-8 weeks before birth in order to build good elasticity in this area. It can also be used post-birth to support healing of any tears.
Artemis is here to help you during this special time. Their certified organic Pregnancy Tea is formulated specifically to support the mother through the challenges of pregnancy, as well as prepare the uterus for birth. Artemis’ Mother & Baby Massage Oil contains fresh plant extract of NZ wild-crafted St John’s wort in a base of nourishing macadamia oil for building skin elasticity.
Whether this is your first baby or your third, traditional plant remedies can be used as part of an integrative approach to support wellness throughout pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Shop Artemis' full range of teas, tonics and oils online now.
Author: Sandra Clair, M.A., Post. Grad. Dip. Health Science, PhD Candidate, UC Alumni Ambassador, Founder Director, Artemis®
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