3 Safe Herbs for Stressed Out Expectant Moms
One of the most common questions I get as an herbalist who works with women, is are herbs safe during pregnancy?
The answer is YES! However, there are probably more herbs that are not so safe than there are safe ones.
Plants are miraculous healers, and the chemical constituents within them work on your body in a subtle but powerful way. The benefits you can experience with herbs are largely based on the dose you take, and this dose is based on your body weight, height, and composition. Therefore, the little one you are carrying in your belly will be greatly influenced by the herbal remedies that you take. So it's best to be safe and careful when taking herbs while pregnant. It's nothing to be afraid of, though, because herbs are naturally in sync with your body and will almost always balance and regulate vs hinder or harm.
Before I get into the 3 herbs, it's also good to remember that herbs are naturally occurring medicine, and should be tried first before pharmaceutical drugs which are often known to be harmful.
As a physiologist, I look for scientific evidence that supports the use of herbs all the time, and I hate to say it, but there isn't much out there. However, we have evidence of women all over the world who haven't been in a lab or study who have seen herbs work wonders for them during pregnancy and after.
Being pregnant doesn't necessarily mean that your busy life stops and all your responsibilities completely cease. You actually take on more things in your life like more frequent visits to the midwife or doctor's office, mood swings and cravings, mobility limitations and natural weight gain. Stress begins to creep it's way into your life. And understandably so.
But you don’t have to let it. You can do some mindful practice that will help you relax, and you can try these 3 herbs that are safe and effective for stressed out moms.
Red Raspberry in an astringent herb that acts by tightening blood vessels or muscle tissue. This is a ‘good’ tightening – it tones the uterus in particular by strengthening connective tissue that surround the precious muscle. You may be wondering why I chose Red Raspberry as a stress fighting herb. Well, if taken regularly, it can have a great normalizing effect to the hormones that help to prevent miscarriage, morning sickness, reduce heavy menstrual bleeding and pain and cramping during pregnancy. Wouldn't this help you feel more at ease?
If you have ever experienced trouble sleeping, you may have heard of chamomile as a great alternative to over the counter sleep aids. It is calming and relaxing to the nervous system, and that includes the nerves around your uterus. So when the time comes, contractions may actually be more bearable. After delivery, chamomile can help your body recover faster so you can focus more on caring for your sweet baby. Another stressful situation that may come up as a new mom is battling diaper rash. Chamomile is such a soothing and anti itch, anti inflammatory, and moisturizing herb that it should be in your baby's medicine cabinet.
I hope mindfulness and meditation become your friend when you are expecting because it can set the tone for a calm and harmonious delivery. Meditation may not come easy to you, but you can do it with practice. Skullcap is an herb that can help you to focus, reduce anxiety, and restore balance in your mind on what's most important to you. Skullcap is one of my favorite herbs to combine with St. John's Wort for severe anxiety, but alone or combined with chamomile, it is very gentle and desirable for stress management.
Each one of these herbs can be easily taken as an infusion or tea. All you need is the herb and some hot water. Add the whole leaves and flowers using a tea bag, and steep in hot water for about 10 minutes. Drink the herb throughout the day to help set the intention of calm and peace to your life. To learn more about preparing herbs and incorporating them in your lifestyle, you can check out my introduction to herbalism course.
Overall, herbs that are traditionally used to support expectant mothers and babies are safe to use in moderation. And turning to herbs for help with stress relief is a great choice because many anti anxiety pharmaceuticals are very addictive and potentially harmful. These 3 herbs will surely be safe and helpful to reduce the common discomforts in pregnancy so you can have a healthy and happy birth.