Today, increasing numbers of women are turning towards herbal supplements, especially during pregnancy, under the assumptions that natural remedies are safer than prescription drugs. However, women taking herbal supplements during pregnancy should make it a point to keep their physicians informed prior to using any sort of alternative medications. It is necessary to understand that natural always does not necessarily mean safe during pregnancy. Certain ingredients in herbal preparations are likely to cause potential damage to baby and mother alike.
However, a few herbs that are traditionally used for different reasons during pregnancy are mentioned here, though the choice of herbs is based on individual circumstances. These herbs can be used alone, or in combination as tinctures, teas etc., to suit individual needs on consultation with a health practitioner.
Alfalfa – Rich in calcium, Vitamins K, E and Carotene
Black Cohosh – Can be used during end of third trimester as it is believed to regulate contractions at birth, and tones the uterus.
Black Haw – Provides relief from leg cramps.
Chamomile – Regular use reduces constipation, however care should be taken to prevent over dosage
Cleavers – A diuretic that helps in decreasing high blood pressure and fluid build up in wrist and feet.
Dandelion Root – Tea made from the root relieves constipation, decreases edema and high blood pressure
False Unicorn Root – Helps in easing nausea and prevents possible miscarriage
Ginger – Relieves nausea, however high amounts may cause miscarriage
Lavender– Relieves nausea and helps in remaining relaxed and calm, but high dosages should be avoided.
Peppermint – Carminative and hence relieves flatulence.
Raspberry leaf – Helps in toning uterus, decreases constipation and improves contractions.
Wild Yams– Provides relief from uterine pains.
The following herbs are however, best avoided during pregnancy:
Cocoa “ contains small portions of cocaine.
Skullcap, Comfrey, Kava root, Valerian and woodruff “ is likely to damage the Liver.
Lobelia “ contains nicotine.
Mate– comprises of Caffeine and hence is better avoided.