The following list is a guideline for the use of natural remedies, in pregnancy.  With herbs, please check with your midwife for exact dosages, specific to you.

Nausea

Before getting out of bed in the morning, munch on some protein and carbohydrates like cheese and crackers to help bring up your blood sugar levels.  Eat plenty of protein rich foods all day.  And, eat a protein snack right before bed.  Protein helps prevent blood sugar levels from dropping too quickly (which can cause nausea).  Also, be sure to stay well-hydrated, drinking Recharge, coconut water or any other natural beverage with electrolytes (No Gatorade, please!  It’s got a ton of sugar and strange chemicals.) Drink soothing herbal teas such as red raspberry leaf, lemon balm, chamomile, peppermint and ginger.

Constipation

Drink plenty of fresh water daily, at least 100 ounces!  Eat lots of whole grains, especially bran.  Leave the skin on fruits and vegetables.  Avoid sugar, white flour and heavily processed foods.  Add psyllium seeds to your foods.  Prunes and prune juice help to relieve constipation and are also high in iron.  Avoid supplements that contain unnatural sources of iron such as ferrous fumerate.  Exercise often.

Heartburn

Eat smaller and more frequent meals instead of 2 or 3 large meals.  Chew food slowly to insure that plenty of digestive juices get added.  Sip warm milk or hot peppermint tea.  Yogurt is also helpful.  Many women find relief from eating fresh papaya or taking papaya enzyme tablets.  Candied ginger can also be helpful.  Staying upright for at least an hour after you eat will significantly reduce heartburn at night.  Chew some Anise seeds, or make them into a tea.

Headache

The first step in getting rid of a headache is getting really well hydrated.  Drink at least 40 ounces of water, and that will sometimes do the trick. See if you can eat some protein, and be sure to eat frequent, small meals throughout the day.  Put some lavender essential oil in an oil burner and burn while resting.  Put your feet in hot water and put a cold wash cloth on your forehead at the same time.  This helps to decrease the pounding blood flow to the head and bring it to your extremities.   Get some fresh air.  Drink soothing herbal teas like chamomile, lemon balm or peppermint.  Get a neck and shoulder massage using a massage oil that has lavender or chamomile essential oil added to it.

Hemorrhoids

Avoid developing constipation, if you can.  Elevate your feet and try to relax the pelvic floor while having going number two.  Kegels can help to keep hemorrhoids from bulging.  Apply St. John’s Wort oil directly to hemorrhoids.  Also helpful is to apply Witch Hazel on a cotton ball.  Tuck it in place and leave for 15-20 minutes.

Insomnia

Be sure to get fresh air and exercise daily.  Exercise in the morning, if you can, as nighttime exercise might keep you awake.  Take a hot bath before retiring.  Add lavender oil to the bath.  You can also put 1 or 2 drops of lavender oil on your pillowcase right before bed.  Avoid caffeine.   Use lots of pillows.  Experiment.  Most pregnant ladies have at least 4 pillows just for them, towards the end of pregnancy, or at least 1 body pillow.  Listen to a book on tape or quiet music while laying in bed.  Do your affirmations.  Think about at least three things you did beautifully well that day.  Drink soothing teas such as lemon balm, hops, chamomile, or passion flower.  There is an excellent sleep aid made by Bach Rescue Remedy that can help calm the mind and spirit.

Edema/Swelling

Eat lots of protein rich foods daily.  Drink plenty of water.  Salt foods to taste.  Sleep with legs elevated and keep them elevated, through the day.  Enjoy free-flowing, comfy clothing.  Eat dandelion leaves, beets, beet greens and artichokes.  Get massaged often.

Leg Cramps

Increase your calcium/magnesium supplements as well as potassium.  Coconut water has lots of potassium, so it’s good to take your cal/mag supplements with it, right before bed.  Eat plenty of calcium-rich foods,  such as dairy, and dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, turnips, and collard greens.  Exercise will help your circulation.  When having a cramp, stand and put the cramping leg behind you.  Keeping your heel toughing the ground, bend forward to create a stretch down the back of your calf muscle.  Or while sitting, point your toes towards your knees.  Avoid chocolate- It reduces the body’s absorption of calcium.

Yeast Infection

This is really common in pregnancy, due to the hormonal and pH changes in the body.  Avoid excessive sugar and refines flours.  Eat cultured yogurt products, and use plain greek yogurt as a vaginal treatment.  All you do is get a syringe without a needle and apply the yogurt internally, right before bed, for a week.  You’ll want to wear a panty liner, during the night.  You can also use a high-quality tea tree oil treatment instead of yogurt, applying a mixture of 4 drops of tea tree oil to ¼ cup olive oil and roll a tampon in the mix.  Insert and leave in for 4 hours per day.  Take probiotic supplements specifically formulated for women (FemDopholis, etc.).  Always wipe from front to back when going number two.  Wear 100% cotton panties.  Beware of thongs, especially during the summer time.

Anemia

Eat plenty of iron rich foods daily, including lots of dark, green leafy vegetables, especially kale.  Apricots fresh or dried are also high in iron.  Prunes and prune juice and blackstrap molasses are excellent for building iron reserves.  Liquid chlorophyll can bring up iron levels as can alfalfa and yellow dock.  An excellent supplement for this is Floradix, available at any health food store.

Peeing When You Sneeze

Almost every woman will experience this at some point in pregnancy.  It’s good to wear a pantiliner, if you’ve got this going on regularly, and to begin a regimine of strengthening your pelvic floor muscles.  Kegel exercise strengthens the pubococcygeal muscle, which holds up your organs in the pelvic region.  Exercising this muscle regularly help to prevent hemorrhoids, help support your uterus and your growing baby, and also helps with labor, delivery, and assists in postpartum recovery.  You can locate this muscle by trying to stop the flow of urine while going number one.  It’s best not to do kegels on the toilet, as that can contribute to urinary tract infections.  So, exercise this muscle all throughout the day, by squeezing it as hard as you can, holding it for 3-5 seconds, and slowly release.  Do this 50 times daily, right before bed, or right as you wake up in the morning.  Squats have also been shown to help keep the pelvic floor strong.  Do three to six squats each day, in pregnancy, to your comfort level.  If any part of your body hurts, while doing a squat, please discontinue and let your midwife know.

Allergies

Living in the Valley, it is very common to experience problems with allergies.  These can be especially challenging during pregnancy.  Try using a neti pot to clean out the sinuses twice a day, with distilled water, using the special salts that come with the neti pot.  A few drops each of rosemary, lavender and lemon essential oils mixed with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil or almond oil) can be applied to your neck and chest throughout the day.  If using high-grade essential oils (such as doTerra), these can be safely ingested, in capsules, to assist.  Eating local honey will sometimes allow for your body to build up a resistance to the pollen that is bothering you.  Please check with your midwife, if allergies are severe.

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