Each pregnancy, birth, and child are different. So, too, are the herbs that can support a woman through this very special time in her life. As we observe the changes in our bodies, nourishing the baby inside, we need to listen to our bodies to understand what herbs will best support us. There are several deeply nourishing herbs women can use throughout her pregnancy and afterward to support her overall well-being, and there are those herbs that may offer extra support at different stages of her pregnancy.
Pregnancy can be emotionally and physically exhausting. Our hormones are all over the place and we have feelings that we can’t even begin to explain. The miracle of carrying a child is one of the most incredible experiences in a woman's life. It is a time to honor the scared beauty and privilege we have as women. As we nourish the baby inside of us, we too, need to nourish, support, and honor ourselves throughout this journey of motherhood. This is a special, intimate time, to discover the incredible, divine power our bodies have, as women.
Soothe and Nourish
One way we can soothe and nourish our bodies from the very beginning of pregnancy is to make herbal teas that offer nutrients to support both mother and baby. Teas and cold water infusions made with Milky Oats, Nettle, Red Raspberry Leaf, and Dandelion often sweetened with molasses offer a wealth of vitamins and minerals. Enjoying teas made with these herbs can help support women who feel they are running on empty and require a boost to get them through the day. As our hormones shift to care for two bodies, many women find comfort sipping on teas made from fresh ginger and fennel seed.
During the first few months of pregnancy, many women will feel exhausted. It is important to remember that we are now caring for at least two bodies. Remember to eat nourishing foods and rest. Dandelion root and leaves, yellow dock root and leaves, and nettles can be taken as a tea or tincture two or three times a day to help support and nourish a tired or run down body.
Support, Comfort, and Rejuvenate
For many women, morning sickness can begin during the early stages of pregnancy and for some last for the duration of 9 months. Our bodies are adjusting quickly to the hormonal shift as it now finds itself pregnant. To help soothe this feeling, where our bodies need more nutrition to address in helping remedy this situation, some supportive herbs are wild yam root, meadowsweet, dandelion root, peach leaves, ginger, and fennel seed.
Birth can be a very special, powerful, and magical time for the woman giving birth and for her support network. Drinking a soothing and comforting tea of sacred basil, lemon balm, borage, lavender and heartsease pansy flower can allow the body to feel more relaxed and the scent of lemon balm and lavender will help uplift the spirits.
Herbs for New Mothers, Parents, and Baby
When a new baby comes home, we need to take time to enjoy and acknowledge the ever-changing landscape of our bodies and our souls. Oftentimes, this is accompanied by exhaustion. Becoming a new parent is a critical time to deeply nourish our bodies, and relish in the tender moments. Through these moments, we become even stronger and more grounded versions of ourselves.
Soothe, Nourish, and Revitalize
Through sleepless nights, midnight feedings, figuring out how a swaddle works, diaper changes, and settling into our new routine, our bodies need some support to help us get back Into The Flow. One area that can benefit from the nourishing qualities of herbs is our nervous system. Supporting our nervous system with herbs like eleuthero, skullcap, passionflower, milky oats, and lemon balm can help to diminish fatigue and placate stress.
Eleuthero - This sweet-tasting adaptogenic herb strengthens the body’s ability to adapt to a range of stressors -- physical, emotional, and environmental. It balances the endocrine system, enhances energy levels, promotes mental clarity, and normalizes stress hormone levels. You will feel like you are standing on solid ground in the midst of a crazy world when taking eleuthero over a period of time.
Nettle - Nettles offer so many important vitamins and minerals. Young nettle leaves are loaded with vitamin C and can help build iron-rich blood. One of the most nutritive herbs known to herbalists, stinging nettle increases energy levels, strengthens the immune, musculoskeletal and lymphatic systems, supports the upper respiratory tract (especially during pollen season), promotes kidney health, and enhances a feeling of overall well-being and vitality.
Oats - The milky oat tops offer deep nourishment to the nervous system. Rich in calcium and magnesium, drinking a cup of milky oats tea daily can help to restore a sense of inner balance. This amazing herb nourishes and restores vitality to the nervous system, promotes restful sleep, and supports a healthy heart. This is the perfect herb for anyone who "burns the candle at both ends."
Skullcap - We hand harvest flowering skullcap plants from Avena's Biodynamic® garden and immediately tincture them in organic alcohol. The name skullcap refers to the tiny cap-like buds which fairies have been known to wear to sleep. Several beds of American skullcap grow on our Biodynamic farm. It is a very special herb that nourishes and strengthens the nervous system, relaxes the musculoskeletal system and digestive system, and promotes restful sleep.
Passionflower - The flower of this vining herb is outrageously intricate and beautiful. Passionflower relaxes, nourishes, and strengthens the nervous system, quiets an overactive mind, and promotes restful sleep. A dropper-full of passionflower in an evening cup of Milky Oat Tea with lemon balm will help melt away the worries of parenthood.
Schisandra - A wonderful supporting herb to the liver. The red berries support healthy function of the liver and kidneys and strengthen the cardiovascular, nervous, and respiratory systems. The Heart in Traditional Chinese Medicine is said to house the Spirit, Shen, one’s Divine nature. Schisandra holds the heart steady so one’s inner light can truly shine. We enjoy adding 1-2 droppers-full of this tincture to a quart water jar and sip on it throughout the day.
Lemon Balm - This sweet, lemony tasting herb is cooling and refreshing. It wonderfully calms and balances the nervous system, quiets an overwhelmed mind, supports sleep, enhances mental clarity, promotes a healthy immune response, and soothes the digestive system. The beautiful fresh leaves make a delicious addition to anyone's water bottle, sprinkled on lemon sorbet or made into a fresh tea.
Whether you find yourself in a state of calm bliss, amidst a whirlwind of hormonal emotions, or spending every waking minute trying to go back to sleep, trust that your body and you as a new parent, are doing exactly what you should be doing.
This article contains a plethora of information and guidance for mothers everywhere! I have now passed it on to many others who will benefit from these wise words. Thank you, Deb!