Using Natural Remedies To Ease Discomforts

There are many medications you cannot use while pregnant or breastfeeding, so many women turn to natural remedies to cure what ails them without hurting the baby. But herbal doesn’t always equal safe. Before you turn to herbs to soothe your suffering, find answers to the big debate: Can Mother Nature hurt your unborn or breastfed baby?

Herbal remedies - Are they safe?

Is it safe?

The general consensus is to avoid herbal and natural remedies while pregnant or breastfeeding, since some of nature's bounty can do more harm than good when it comes to your baby. Some herbs, such as goldenseal, pennyroyal and red raspberry leaf tea can cause premature labor during the first trimester, while pseudoginseng, sassafras and aloe vera taken internally can cause injury to your baby-to-be.

Discover 10 foods pregnant women should avoid >>

On the other hand, some natural remedies are safe to take during the last few days of pregnancy, during labor, or immediately after childbirth to stimulate the uterus. Others can be taken in tea form but not swallowed directly when breastfeeding. That's why it's important to discuss your options with a certified herbalist before trying natural solutions. We spoke with Sara Chana, an international board-certified lactation consultant, birthing instructor, classical homeopath and herbalist, who suggested the common herbal solutions below:

Herbal alternatives while pregnant

  • Squelch morning sickness – Peppermint leaf and wild yam, along with Vitamin B-12 and B-6 shots can help relieve morning sickness, nausea and vomiting.
  • Offset anemia – Along with iron-rich foods, tincture of yellow dock root or extract of nettle leaf can correct your low iron levels.
  • Comfort back pain – Apply St. John's Wort oil directly on the site of the back pain, but note that this makes your skin extra sun-sensitive.
  • Ward off stretch marks – A salve of olive oil, aloe vera gel, Vitamin E oil, Vitamin A oil and lavender may prevent these unwanted mommy marks when applied daily.
  • Cure constipation – Sip carrot juice and snack on cooked pears when bowel trouble looms.
  • Alleviate hemorrhoids – Relieve the pain caused by hemorrhoids by applying cheesecloth or pantyhose filled with grated potato directly to the site.

Discover The B List: pregnancy aches and pains you don't hear much about >>

Natural remedies for breastfeeding

  • Increase milk supply – The most common herbal supplement taken to increase low milk supply is fenugreek, taken by capsule or in Mother's Milk tea.
  • Relieve engorgement – In combination with frequent feedings, sage or parsley has been known to reduce swelling.
  • Clear plugged duct – While castor oil helps with inflammation and pain, grated potato stuffed in pantyhose or cheesecloth and pressed against the breast will cure you quickly.
  • Ease Mastitis – Grated potato also works in this case.
  • Soothe cracked nipples – Soothe and heal cracked nipples due to breastfeeding with anti-fungals like calendula cream, which is safe for baby to swallow, or olive oil, which is packed with healing properties.

Each pregnancy is different, so always consult with an herbalist prior to using any natural remedies while pregnant or breastfeeding. And, even with safe-to-use herbal ingredients, consider limiting your intake of natural remedies to avoid hurting your unborn or breastfed baby. Despite the aches and pains, it can be possible to find relief without risking the health of your little one, with the right guidance!

Learn more about caring for baby naturally

8 Ways to naturally manage labor pain during childbirth
10 Tips for having a natural birth

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