A higher standard is required in discussion of herbal medicines for pregnancy, than in most other cases. If adults choose to use medicinal herbs, they can make a reasonably informed choice about their acceptance of the risks and benefits of these preparations. When dealing with an unborn fetus, who is a passive member of this decision making process, it is imperative to have more solid data when making recommendations for the use of herbal medications.
The first three months of pregnancy are the most crucial in the physical development of the baby. During the first three months is the period when the major organ systems and physical structure of the baby are being laid down. Any defects caused by drugs or chemicals leave their mark forever and in fact may lead to an abortion or miscarriage. It is therefore a general rule to avoid taking any medication in early pregnancy unless prescribed by a doctor or health care professional.
In pregnancy we are concerned with the welfare of both the mother and baby. We want our mothers to be physically, mentally, and emotionally well, as this will be transmitted to the fetus. When problems are encountered in the pregnancy and mum is not as well as she ought to be, then we have to consider giving medication to help some situations. Prevention is always better than cure. In the case of the pregnant mother, this concept of prevention is very important, especially since we are limited in the medication that we can prescribe. Practicing preventative medicine is merely observing the basics of healthy living. For our pregnant mum, good preventative measures fall within the realms of what we call pre-conception care; that is preparing the mother physically, mentally and emotionally for pregnancy. Ideally this preparation should start at least three months before getting pregnant. In observing preventative medicine, I am NOT referring to the use of drugs, orthodox or traditional.
Are you aware that foods are medicinal?
The term "medicinal food" will include "functional" foods (defined as those foods that encompass potentially healthful products including any modified food or food ingredient that may provide a health benefit beyond the traditional nutrients it contains) and "nutraceuticals" (defined as any substance that may be considered a food or a part of a food which provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention and treatment of disease). A good balanced diet therefore, with or without nutritional supplements is a basic good health tactic. Exercise, balanced with sufficient rest, with sufficient fluid intake and a positive mental attitude about your pregnancy are all good prerequisites for a comfortable and healthy pregnancy.
Vomiting is a common occurrence in pregnancy, and the incidence varies from 60 to 80%. Because vomiting is so common in pregnancy, it has been accepted as an unfortunate but natural discomfort. Surveys of women who have morning sickness often show that their liver function is defective. The liver may be sluggish due to toxic overload or a deficiency of B vitamins.
Eden Herbs' Purifier & Tonic is excellent for detoxifying and cleansing during the preconception stage. It is a mixture specially formulated for persons who recognize the need, and are aware of the tradition of "cooling", given regularly to West Indians. It is necessary for adults generally, and particularly as part of the preconception care for our mothers. Our mums-to-be should aim to have at least four bottles, which at two tablespoons twice a day will last twenty-one days. If the mum has been on the recommended regime of four bottles every three months then she is better equipped physically to go through a more comfortable pregnancy.
For ladies who have had the wretched experience of excess nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and who are petrified of another pregnancy, I invite them to get on to a good nutritional, exercise and cleansing program before conception and experience the difference of a better tolerated pregnancy.
There is no known adverse effect to the fetus by the herbs in the Purifier & Tonic / Tisane. We are only sticking to the general recommendation of minimizing the use of herbs and drugs in pregnancy.
For mothers who had poor preparation for pregnancy, and therefore more likely to suffer with nausea and vomiting, herbs like ginger, peppermint, chamomile have been tested and found to be safe even in early pregnancy.
Morning sickness can be a symptom of excess acidity in the system. If you crave acidic (but alkalizing) fruits such as lemon or grapefruit, or sour foods such as tamarind, this is almost certainly true for you. Reduce your intake of acid-forming foods such as: white flour (whole-grains are much less acid -forming); white sugar and sugary foods such as cakes, biscuits and soft drinks. Eat fish rather than meat, fruit and plenty of fresh vegetables. Sea moss is highly alkalizing. Almonds and sesame seeds are also beneficial.
Constipation in pregnancy is relatively common and can be made worse with iron tablets, which are sometimes necessary. Aim for having sufficient fluid intake, appropriate exercises and more fiber in the diet. A stool softener like prunes is safe, sometimes aided by a stimulant laxative like senna; but only if necessary. The bowel mixture made by Eden Herbs for constipation can be taken in the last 3 months of pregnancy.
Keeping fit in pregnancy by exercising or walking definitely makes for an easier labor. The herb raspberry, Rubus idaeus is the classic helper for labour, a tonic and stimulant to the whole reproductive system. Take it for the six weeks before your baby is due and you should sail through labor, having a much less painful, quicker and easier event. The bay leaf tea made by Aunt Linda is also beneficial to help with a quicker and easier labor.
Breastfeeding is to be encouraged. No matter how small your breasts are you can be assured of sufficient milk for your baby. Since this milk has to come from you, you definitely need to be well nourished and possibly take supplements as well. If you need help with milk production you may take aniseed, fennel, or chaste tree (Vitex agnus castus). Remember that the sucking action of the baby is essential in aiding milk production. If for medical or other reasons you do not want to breastfeed, the herb, Aunt Linda's sage tea (Salvia officinalis), is historically known to work successfully to dry up your breast milk.
I would like to comment on the traditional 'lock', which is given after delivery. In a healthy mum who has had good preconception care and continued in her good health during pregnancy, maintenance of her good health will involve cleansing or detoxification again. Remember that it is recommended that one takes Purifier & Tonic every three months; after nine months of pregnancy, mum is definitely overdue. Traditionally the elders give a mixture of oils, which tend to purge. Eden Herbs Purifier & Tonic / Tisane is well formulated to do this cleansing without the purging and benefits all the systems of the body. It is quite safe for the baby; the formulation in glycerin is better in this instance. The usual course of four bottles should be used.