As a naturopath and herbalist I often get pregnant Mums asking me desperately what homeopathic remedies are safe to take. Especially now that some big-pharma brands have moved into the natural remedies market, not always with the best of intentions. Here’s 11 natural remedies for common pregnancy problems that I’ve come across.
Some big-name brands you can trust include Naturopharm and Weleda, as well as the Elevit range from Bayer.
Naturopharm do a full range of combinations for colds, allergies, digestive complaints, morning sickness, sinus problems, insomnia and stress. Most leading health stores and pharmacies would carry their brand.
Weleda does an excellent range for mother and baby.
I can recommend several herbal formulas that have been given a ‘safe’ category to use during pregnancy. Although homeopathic medicine is certainly one of the safest routes to take for everyday complaints, you should always speak with a qualified herbalist, and explain your symptoms for them to put together a safe and suitable herbal remedy for you.
11 natural remedies for common pregnancy problems
1. For tiredness and that ‘foggy’ feeling
One of my favourite herbal mixtures is gingko, lemon balm and liquorice. This is great for that overwhelming tiredness you can feel in the early stages of pregnancy and helps to clear that foggy feeling in the brain. It works really quickly and gives you a burst of energy and clarity and a sense of wellbeing.
2. For nausea and vomiting
For nausea and vomiting I recommend the Naturopharm formula Morning Med. If you want to make your own herbal remedy, I recommend a combination of ginger, chamomile and peppermint. Of course any of these herbs can be used as a tea but I still recommend that you limit the cups per day to one or two. The herbs do contain a lot of volatile constituents that are potent medicine. I make a formula for morning sickness, using the same three herbs that works really well and obviously adjust the dosage and duration of use accordingly.
3. For baby’s development
Some essential nutrients that should be taken during pregnancy and preferably preconception are B9 (Folic acid), Omega 3 (Fish Oil), and a good quality prenatal multivitamin (such as the Elevit range). Folic acid helps with the formation of the spine and brain, the fish oil helps to develop the baby’s brain by nourishing it and protecting the cell membranes. The prenatal multivitamin will contain all the necessary levels of minerals and vitamins that may become depleted during pregnancy.
4. For low iron levels
Low iron will usually be diagnosed by your doctor. You can take an OTC or prescription medicine for this, however there are some excellent, and more gentle, iron formulas too. My all time favourite is a product called Spatone, it is effective, non constipating and easy to take.
5. For constipation
Constipation can obviously lead to haemorrhoids and that’s something that can cause a lot of discomfort; especially post-pregnancy when your body is still sore. Eating lots of fibre, drinking plenty of water and fresh fruit should help to regulate the bowel. However there are some great remedies available too, such as Malcolm Harkers Laxatone or Good Health’s Mg. Lax. Don’t suffer, there is no need!
6. For digestion, circulation and immunity
In terms of nutrition, a healthy diet will help to assist the digestive discomfort that can sometimes be experienced in pregnancy. Fresh fruit, especially the dark coloured berries such as raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, contain high levels of antioxidants, fibre and of course Vitamin C. They help to maintain healthy tone to the tissues of the veins and capillaries to help prevent varicose veins and thrombosis. They assist circulation and are great immune building agents.
7. For healthy blood-sugar levels
Eat small regular meals and don’t skip if possible. This can play havoc with the blood sugar levels and lead to possible blood glucose imbalance. Glucose is the number one fuel for the brain and therefore make sure you eat every few hours. Gestational hyperglycemia can be a problem for some women. Taking chromium during pregnancy can help assist in maintaining sugar levels by helping to keep insulin levels balanced and ensure glucose uptake into the cells.
8. For overall energy
Protein rich foods, such as meat, eggs, fish and milk, nuts, grains and seeds are also essential. They provide energy and are basic building blocks of the body. Dark green leafy vegetables, especially kale, are very alkalising to the body and contain many nutritional elements. You can take kale as a powder in a smoothie if you don’t enjoy the taste. Spirulina is another great powder to take that provides energy and all round nutrition during pregnancy.
9. For preparing the uterus
Raspberry leaf tea taken during the last trimester helps to tone the uterus and prepare it for labour. Anything to help with this part is worth taking!
10. For milk production
Milk production can be assisted by using blessed thistle in the herbal tincture or in tea form.
11. For heartburn and wind
Fennel and dill tea helps with the digestion and taken during pregnancy helps to alleviate heartburn and flatulence. It is great for colic too. If mum drinks it then baby receives the benefits or alternatively some infused fennel or dill tea can be given to baby by dropper. Lavender oil rubbed anticlockwise on the tummy may also help to prevent wind formation and reduce colic.
There are homeopathic remedies for every one of the above complaints and they’re very safe and effective to use. Check out our Ask a Naturopath section for heaps more expert articles on natural living and family wellbeing.