Pregnancy

Pregnancy as we are all aware is highly exciting & scary time. We understand that all unborn foetuses today are exposed to many more potentially harmful toxins than ever before in the history of humanity - seen & unseen. I think we are so aware we often feel overwhelmed by this. Pregnancy needs to be stress free for mother & child, not a continual worry. I feel there are some simple safe ways to improve your baby’s chances of health.

Simply put do not expose yourself to anything you are aware of as toxic. Food Additives, Cool Drinks, & unnecessary Drugs, Alcohol is only OK if it is in complete moderation; a glass of wine, for example, not a bottle. Other things known to affect the foetuses are microwave ovens, contaminated water (not purified by a system like reverse osmosis or charcoal), electrical tower omissions, commercial pesticides, herbicides etc, etc all have a direct influence on the immune system. Even household cleaning agents have been proven to produce negative health effects. Fly sprays, pest strips & garden sprays have been proven to produce cancer, soft tissue sarcomas, leukaemia, brain tumours and lymphoma. I believe these all act directly on the immune system of the unborn and young children. Pest strips are proven to affect the foetus in-uteri. The effect on the foetus, via the mother's blood stream, weakens the baby's immune system generally. As depressing as all this is, simply avoid what you can at all times.

THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR THE GUIDANCE AND ADVICE OF A GOOD HERBALIST or NATUROPATH. SELF DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT IS NOT RECOMMENDED EVER. Herbalists are happy to guide you safely through your pregnancy. Good communication between you, your Doctor, your Doula, Midwife and your Herbalist or Naturopath is invaluable.

This article is offered to increase general knowledge of the subject and take the mystery & unknown factors out of having Herbs whilst you are pregnant. There are many good books on herbs and pregnancy is a good time to read.

NOW FOR WHAT YOU CAN DO TO IMPROVE HEALTH SIMPLY

The first most important factor is food; consume food organically grown when you can it, the less commercially grown food you eat during pregnancy, the less Commercial Sprays you introduce to the foetus. Commercial food is grown in Nutrient Deficient Soil. So off course, you will need to eat up to (at least) 5 times as much to get the same Nutritional Value from the food.

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DIET BRIEF

Your Diet needs to be full & varied, at least one large salad a day, one large protein meal a day, include plenty of fish in your diet, sardines daily. Pate - well if you cook fresh pate, made with Organic Chicken Livers and are very clean about the whole process then eat it fresh that day, you will not have a problem with contaminated Pate.

Eat plenty of nuts (never peanuts, these are far too acidic for human consumption). Almonds have two amino acids for growth & repair.

Up to 6 pieces of fruit a day, Yoghurt lots of if daily, coconut, dried fruits, an occasional sandwich (linseed, soy or rye bread is fine). If you have a problem with CANDIDA then simply avoid YEAST, use flat breads instead.

HERBS FOR PREGNANCY & CHILDBIRTH

No one else can protect you or your baby from harm better than YOU. I feel every woman can be and have radiating beautiful health during pregnancy and beyond. A healthy pregnancy equals a healthy baby. Healthy food, herbs, fresh air, walking, swimming, yoga, nice relaxing music, meditation, reduced stress, and a positive mental outlook are all essential factors in having a nice healthy pregnancy, an easy labour, and a healthy relaxed baby. Of course the earlier one starts attending to these things before pregnancy the bigger the advantage. Herbs do not work overnight. Sometimes even taking years to improve your health, this is dependent on your state of health when you begin to change and heal. Nothing needs to be hard or complicated as they say SOMETIMES THE SIMPLEST THINGS ARE THE BEST.

MUSCLE TESTING - KINESIOLOGY

This is a simple way of confirming whether or not this particular remedy, tonic, ointment or whatever is the right one. Muscle testing involves isolating one muscle, e.g. the deltoid, in the shoulder area, and checking a person's strength by exerting pressure against the movement of the muscle to detect energy imbalance. If the muscle test gives a 'weak' or 'switched off' result, this is an indication that there is a short-circuiting in the energy system between the brain and the muscle. Therefore a positive or strong response indicates a strengthening in the energy systems, therefore, confirming the body's need for this nutritional chemistry or tonic. The aim of herbs and food is to recharge the energy systems in the body. Set a person on a comfortable chair with baby on his/her knee, both feet flat on the floor - to ground the person, check posture is good. Making sure one arm is securely around the baby. The person who is testing puts one hand flat over the deltoid muscle that is the top of the arm where the shoulder meets. The person being tested raises the arm straight out in front about level with eyes, toward the roof. The person doing the test puts their other hand over the raised wrist. Then the person being tested pushes up while the tester exerts a slight pressure downward. From this the tester gets a feel of the strength of the person being tested. Now ask the person being tested or the baby to hold the bottle containing the herb, food, or whatever they want tested. Repeat the process of person pushing upward and you pushing downward. Feel the energy difference, does it strengthen or weaken the person. Of course the more you practice this the better you get and you can test anything you like this way. It's a matter of tuning in to the inner wisdom and the flow of the body.

MORNING SICKNESS & GENERAL NAUSEA DURING EARLY PREGNANCY

If the pregnancy is weak or you have a history of Miscarriage avoid any herbs that stimulate the Uterus, e.g. Chamomile, Caraway. Stay with Ginger, Dill, Fennel, Mint, Alfalfa, and Dandelion. Useful herbs during this time : Ginger, Dill, Fennel, Mint, Alfalfa, Dandelion leaf & root, Chamomile, and
EATING - Small frequent light meals, fruit is good.
WATER - Purified, add a sprig of fresh Mint and a slice of Ginger.
Suck on ice if the nausea if acute.

HERBS FOR THREATENED MISCARRIAGE

Any time there is a situation like this Professional help is necessary, however there are many herbs that are very safe for prevention of Miscarriage. Shepherd's Purse is one I have seen used successfully many times; take a regular daily herb tea if this concerns you. Other useful herbs are to ask your herbalist about is:

BLACK HAW 
Botanical: Viburnum Prunifolium, has a sedative action on the Uterus also is a good anti-spasmodic (cramps) herb
CONTRA DO NOT USE IN CASE OF HAEMORRHAGE

CRANES BILL 
Botanical: Geranium Maculatum
relieves Uterine Haemorrhage

TRUE UNICORN ROOT
Botanical: Aletris farinosa
 
a nice general Uterine Tonic, specific for miscarriage a small dose is usual (Tincture use 5 - 15 drops daily)

BONESET 
Botanical:
 
Eupatorium perfoliatum
 
This herb is useful as it holds the Endometrium to the Uterus. Thus preventing miscarriage

CONTRA NOT RECOMMENDED DURING PREGNANCY UNLESS FOR THIS SPECIFIC PURPOSE, IN WHICH CASE A MUSCLE TEST SHOULD BE DONE TO CHECK SAFETY. USE A SMALL DOSE AS A LARGE DOSE IS EMETIC

GENERAL TONIC HERBS - INCREASED NUTRITION TONICS

ALFALFA
Rich in many vitamins and minerals, trace elements increases nutrition during pregnancy
Contra Indications: NONE KNOWN
 
BALM
 
a sedative & calming Herb for headache, Insomnia, stress, Anxiety, colic, flatulence
Contra Indications: NOT MORE THAN 1 CUP PER DAY during pregnancy

GINGER 
this herb is always of value to generally
improve the health especially that of the
Digestion and the blood vessels. Excellent for Morning sickness
Contra Indications: NON KNOWN do not take any circulation stimulants if you have a history of miscarriage or before surgery of any kind

SARSAPARILLA 
A Blood Purifier, an excellent choice
for pregnancy especially if there is a
history of Septicaemia. It has a gentle action
on the urinary system, removing excess acids
from the system.
Contra Indications: NON KNOWN

MARSHMALLOW 
A gentle, soothing herb for membranes, especially useful if your bladder is irritated.
Contra Indications: NON KNOWN

ROSE PETALS 
A lovely herb for balancing the mood. Traditionally used as a blood tonic.
Contra Indications: NON KNOWN

RED CLOVER 
Also a good blood tonic increases oxygenation in the body
Contra Indications: NON KNOWN

CALENDULA
(MARIGOLD)
 
This is good for the tone of Blood vessels, used if Blood Pressure is high.
Contra Indications: NON KNOWN

IRISH MOSS 
Highly nutritive herb from the sea high in many minerals a good lung tonic if you have a cold or cough.
Contra Indications:
 
DO NOT TAKE IF YOU ARE CONSTIPATED

ST MARY’S THISTLE 
The Liver processes most chemistry coming in,
and in the body, this herb rejuvenates the liver therefore, is essential (in my opinion) to daily life. Pregnant or not we all need to cleanse and maintain our Liver DAILY.
Contra Indications: NON KNOWN

ST JOHN’S WORT 
A master nerve herb, eases tension in the nervous system, this herb will restore a deficient nervous system to balance over a very short period. This herb is also highly valuable as a bladder tonic always useful during pregnancy. Also useful for anaemia.
CONTRA - DO NOT TAKE IF YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE IS A PROBLEM or ARE TAKING ANY ANTI-DEPRESSANTS

MINT 
Especially useful if it is summer and you are feeling the heat useful for prevention of colds & flu. This herb makes a wonderful Herb tea with or without some honey.
Contra Indications: NON KNOWN

Labour and childbirth are the culmination of pregnancy and require the action of oxytocin (a hormone), secreted by the posterior pituitary gland in the brain, and prostaglandin’s (also hormones), produced in the uterus.

The possible sequence of events leading to the onset of labour:
High estrogens secretion from the placenta stimulates production of oxytocin receptors in the uterus. Uterine muscle (myometrium) becomes increasingly sensitive to effects of oxytocin during pregnancy. Oxytocin may stimulate production of prostaglandins in the uterus. Prostaglandins may stimulate uterine contractions. Contractions of the uterus stimulate oxytocin secretion from the posterior pituitary. Increased oxytocin secretion stimulates increased uterine contractions, creating a positive feedback loop and resulting in labour.

The hormone relaxin, produced by the corpus luteum (on the ovary), known to soften the symphysis pubis (pubic bone) and hips in preparation for childbirth. It also softens the cervix in preparation for childbirth.

CHILDBIRTH - LABOUR

SHEPHERDS PURSE 
Sip a hot infusion of this and Raspberry Leaf during labour. This herb is one of the anti-haemorrhage herbs So extremely valuable as a preventative during Labour.
Contra Indications: NOT FOR EARLY PREGNANCY UTERINE STIMULANT

SQUAW VINE
Traditionally this herb was taken by American Indian women for weeks before Childbirth to render it safe & easy. It is a uterine stimulant, uterine tonic and restorative for the nerves. this herb prepares the uterus and the whole body for childbirth and so should be taken during the last 4 weeks of pregnancy, starting with a half dose and increasing slightly to one cup (1 teaspoon per cup decoction) or equivalent tincture quantity each day.
Contra Indications: NOT TO BE TAKEN WHEN EXCESS VAGINAL BLEEDING IS PRESENT E.G. AFTER FEMALE OPERATIONS SUCH AS D & C ETC. NO MORE THAN 1 TEASPOON DRIED HERB PER DAY IN LAST 4 WEEKS OF PREGNANCY AND DO NOT TAKE THIS HERB OR RASPBERRY LEAF IF YOU SUSPECT OR HAVE A HISTORY OF PREMATURE LABOUR

MARSHMALLOW ROOT
This herb is included for it’s soothing
action on the fine mucous membranes
of the urinary system, which can tend
to be irritated during labour.
This herb is also used for WOUNDS & TEARS so a decoction of Marshmallow, Shepherds purse & Lavender may be used after childbirth to soothe the perineum.
Contra Indications: NON KNOWN

Calendula 
is ideal for Perineum tears, cool the hot tea & sitz bath with these.
Contra Indications: NON KNOWN

RASPBERRY 
A highly nutritious herb, a gentle Uterine
Stimulant. Take one cup herb tea daily in
the last 4 weeks of pregnancy in preparation
for childbirth. Also drink plenty of this warm
tea with honey during labour.
Contra Indications: NOT FOR EARLY PREGNANCY A UTERINE STIMULANT

CHAMOMILE 
This is another Uterine Stimulant, also a gentle sedative that reduces spasm & pain so very appropriate during labour.
Contra Indications:
 
NOT FOR EARLY PREGNANCY UTERINE STIMULANT

BALM 
Lemon balm is a sedative & anti-depressant, Restorative to the Nervous system
Contra Indications: not more than 1 cup a day in early pregnancy

ROSEHIP & HIBISCUS 
are both excellent during pregnancy as they are both highly nutritious
Contra Indications: NON KNOWN

Stages of Labour

In first pregnancies the foetus settles head down about 2 - 3 weeks before labour. The cervix softens, the lower part of the uterus expands and the cervix effaces (pulls up toward the body of the uterus and dilates).

Throughout pregnancy the body prepares for labour with gentle contractions. During the last month these contractions gradually increase, culminating in labour.

First Stage:
In this period the cervix dilates to a diameter of approximately 10cm. This is characterized by persistent, regular contractions as the uterine muscles soften and pull upward, pushing the infant downward, and pulling the cervix upward. As the first stage progresses, contractions become increasingly intense, occurring every minute or two. This may last from eight to twenty four hours. During this period, as the cervix widens, a mucous plug, which has formed in the cervix to keep the uterus germ-free, slips out in what is known as the "show". It may be slightly tinged with blood. At this time or later the Amniotic sac slips down and ruptures, releasing the amniotic fluid, and labour begins.

Second stage
Begins once the cervix is fully dilated, to about 10cm. This stage may take anything from a few minutes to two hours. During it contractions slow down and the baby begins its journey along the birth canal, the mother working with the contractions to push the baby down. In a straightforward birth, the head emerges first, the shoulders turn, and further contractions push the baby out into the world. The baby's mouth and nasal passages are cleared of mucous, the baby breathes. Baby takes its first cry and is given to the mother.

It is important that the UMBILICAL CORD has finished pulsating before it is cut and clamped. This transfers vital IMMUNE CELLS, BLOOD, HORMONES, NUTRITION and lots more goodies directly to the infant. Every baby needs all of this blood product to be transferred to ensure a good healthy start to life - this prevents many infant and childhood illnesses - it belongs to this child.

Third Stage
Of labour, the uterus continues to contract, leading the painless expulsion of the placenta and umbilical cord. The mother is checked carefully to ensure that the entire placenta has been removed, and with this the process of childbirth is complete.