Happy mamas mean happy babies! Of course it’s important to get all the pampering, soothing, and comfort you can before the baby gets here and you’re on milk and cradle call 24/7. But how can you feel pampered when your bottom is sore, your skin is itchy and your feet resemble water balloon art? It’s key to remember that those discomforts of pregnancy are temporary, and common. And best of all, they can be safely soothed using nature’s herbal gifts.
The knowledge of herbal remedies and plant medicine specific to pregnancy has been passed down from great-grandmother to grandmother to mother to daughter. When combined with the safety and assurances of contemporary evidence-based research, herbs are a natural way to support the phenomenal process of pregnancy and childbirth. So here are seven herbal ways to nurture, comfort and sooth yourself (whether you’re expecting a baby or not).
- You’re putting it on, but where’s it going? Make sure your “pure” “natural” or “organic” products are safe. What goes on and in your body goes in your baby, so make sure to read the ingredients of every product you choose to use. And using organic herbs whenever possible helps reduce your exposure to pesticides and herbicides. Zero toxin babies start with zero toxin mamas! If you’re not even sure how to pronounce the ingredients in your “natural” product, check out the Skin Deep database (www.cosmeticdatabase.com) to see how it measures up.
- Feeling queasy? Ginger root is a time tested comfort for nausea of any kind, and research supports its safe use during pregnancy. You can use fresh ginger as a tea, the essential oil in an aromatherapy spray, or even an excuse to nibble on gingersnaps!
- Fat feeties? Salt in the diet isn’t an expectant mama’s friend, especially in the second two trimesters when your feet look like a carnival act. Those feet are carrying an extra load, so they deserve a little pampering. Sticking those swollen feet in a warm foot bath, with plenty of salt and some soothing, aromatic and antifungal herbs like lavender and yarrow not only takes the load off, but also soothes, refreshes, and can help ease swelling. Ahhhh…
- Hurting heiny? It’s a sore subject with lots of mamas-to-be and brand new moms as well. It’s hard to feel at the top of your game when your bottom is sore. Witch hazel leaves are naturally astringent and help shrink swollen tissues from extra pressure. Look for balms and sprays that have wound healing wonders like calendula to soothe your sore sitter.
- Stretchy, itchy skin? Oooo the itch! Bellies and breasts have to expand to accommodate the brand new occupancy. One of the best ways to prevent stretching or scarring is to keep yourself well hydrated, inside and out. Drink lots of water and look for a pure, organic botanical-based oil that can help ease the itching that stretching skin causes, and make you less prone to the scratching that can encourage stretch marks.
- Burpy, burning belly? Digestive issues are very common problems when there’s less room in the inn! Gooey, coating marshmallow root and soothing chamomile and lemon balm are well loved for their ability to turn down the belly heat. Make yourself herbal tea from these herbs and sip a soothing cup. Add a sprig of spearmint and you can make a simple, safe tea to soothe the burn.
- One, Two, One, Two… Time to tone the uterus! Red Raspberry leaf is a time honored third trimester herb to help prepare your uterus to show up for the big day and perform like a champ. A wee bit nervous? Chamomile and lemon balm are reliable soothers, and can be steeped into a calming tea that settles busy minds any time, not just during pregnancy.
It’s a lot of work growing a miracle! Your body’s doing some pretty impressive work and deserves a round of applause. Choose pure, safe products and herbs that ease life’s bothersome bumps, bruises and boo-boos, from pregnancy to long past.