Herbs are a safe, natural way to support new moms emotionally and physically during labor. If you plan on having a natural childbirth, or just want to reduce the medications that your infant is exposed to during the birthing process, herbs are a great, effective alternative to pharmaceuticals.
The last few weeks of pregnancy are a great time to start putting together your herbal birthing kit. Having everything in order can help set your mind at ease as your due date approaches. The following preparations are helpful to have on hand for a smooth, natural child birth.
Labor Support Tea Blend
- 1 part raspberry leaf
- 1 part nettle leaf
- 1/2 part chamomile
Make a large batch at the first signs of labor and drink freely as labor progresses. You may want to have the herbs blended ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about it when labor begins.
To prepare: Add 1-3 tablespoons of above herb mixture to a strainer or tea ball and place in a cup. Bring water to a boil. Pour hot water over herbs and cover. Let infuse 15 minutes to an hour and then strain out herbs.
When drunk throughout labor, raspberry leaf helps the uterus work strongly and smoothly. This helps the birth effort and facilitates placenta delivery. Nettle leaf is helpful throughout the birthing process as it aids in preventing post-partum hemorrhage and helps to restore energy and vitality. Chamomile is helpful during labor as well due to its calming, relaxing, and pain reducing effects.
St. John’s wort tincture can be used during labor to ease pain. It is also helpful for controlling spasms in the back, sides, and uterus. Dose: 25-30 drops at 30 minutes intervals.
This herb combines particularly well with Skullcap for pain control. Dose: 25 drops of St.John’s wort tincture combined with 3 drops of Skullcap tincture for pain, as needed. Take as often as every half hour.
This herb is an lovely ally throughout the birthing process. For labor pains, try 5 drops at half hour intervals. The effects will be felt in 20 minutes and will fade over 1-3 hours. This dose can be repeated as needed.
When taken after birth, motherwort helps to prevent hemorrhage & shock, soothes & calms, and tones the uterus. Dose: 10 drops tincture post-partum.
The tincture can also be helpful in easing after birth pains and for helping the mother adjust emotionally after the birth. Try 5 drops in water, repeated as needed, to relieve tension and confusion of overwhelming emotions post-partum.
Blue cohosh encourages the uterus to start contracting and increases the force of these contractions. Using 10-20 drops of tincture in water repeated hourly as needed will produce regular and coordinated contractions.
This herb also promotes the release of oxytocin and helps the uterus to contract, close rapidly, and quickly regain its pre-pregnancy shape post-partum, which helps to decrease after birth pains.
Blue cohosh works synergistically with black cohosh, so midwives often use these two herbs together as the combination is more effective than using each herb on its own.
This herb aids in softening and ripening the cervix and helps the uterus contract in a coordinated and effective way. It works synergistically with blue cohosh to help strengthen or restart contractions during stalled labor.
This herb is a valuable remedy for pain. Taking 3-8 drops of tincture in water will help with the pain of cervix dilation. This dose can be repeated as needed, but watch out for the herb’s sedative effects.
As previously mentioned, skullcap combines well with St. John’s wort for pain relief during labor.
Post-partum, skullcap is helpful for fatigue and tension. It is an effective sedative that will bring sound sleep to an over-excited, exhausted new mom. It can be used in large doses if needed when being used for promoting sleep, as it has no negative side effects.
This herb is a blood coagulant and vasoconstrictor that is particularly indicated for treating post-partum hemorrhage. Taking several dropperfuls during labor can help prevent excessive bleeding and help to form blood clots after birth.
When used post-partum, it promotes uterine contractions, helps the uterus clamp down, and stops bleeding quickly. Dose: 1 teaspoon or 150 drops, repeated every minute as needed.
Post-Partum Tincture Blend
- 1 part shepherd’s purse tincture
- 1 part motherwort tincture
- 1/2 part blue cohosh tincture
- 1/2 part black cohosh tincture
Dose: take 1 dropperful under the tongue. Repeat in 1 minute, as needed.
When taken post-partum, this tincture blend:
- helps the uterus to clamp down
- promotes the release of oxytocin
- prevents shock
- stops excessive bleeding
- helps blood clots to form
- relieves pain
- calms and aids in the processing of emotions
Lavender essential oil
Lavender is calming and helpful for boosting spirits during labor to aid in the birthing process.
Bach’s Rescue Remedy
Rescue Remedy is a blend of flower essences that helps to bring calm and relaxation in times of stress or trauma.
Raspberry leaf infusion ice cubes
As previously mentioned, raspberry leaf is helpful when taken throughout labor. Sucking on ice cubes made with the infusion is a refreshing way for mom to get the benefits of this lovely herb.
Herbs or Flowers
Fresh or dried herbs and bouquets of flowers can bring a touch of beauty and vitality to the birthing space. Traditionally, sprigs of lavender, lemon balm, and rosemary were placed in the birthing room to help bring courage to women in labor.
For more information on using herbs to nourish and support baby and mother throughout pregnancy, check out my post, Herbs for a Healthy Pregnancy.
Herbs are great allies post-partum too! Check out this post from the Herbal Academy to learn more: Gentle Herbal Support for New Mom’s.
Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Healing for Women.
Levy, Juliette de Bairacli. Nature’s Children.
Weed, Susan. Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year.