Herbs for Childbirth

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.

Tea

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.

Tinctures

St.John’s Wort

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.

Motherwort

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

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.

Black Cohosh

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.

Skullcap

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.

Shepherd’s Purse

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

 

Other Preparations

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. 

 

[Resources]

Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Healing for Women.

Levy, Juliette de Bairacli. Nature’s Children.

Weed, Susan. Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year.

Advertisements

Herbs for A Healthy Pregnancy

Herbs are a lovely, natural way to support mom and baby during pregnancy. They can help provide important vitamins and minerals, ease morning sickness, relieve stress, and help to level out mood swings.

The following tea blend is one that herbalist , Rosemary Gladstar, recommends for pregnant mothers. It is tasty and nourishing. This blend can be enjoyed throughout pregnancy to provide essential nutrients, strengthen muscles used during childbirth, ease stress, and gently boost energy levels.

Pregnancy Tea 

  • 4 parts peppermint or spearmint
  • 3 parts raspberry leaf
  • 3 parts lemongrass
  • 2 parts nettle
  • 2 parts oat straw
  • 2 parts strawberry leaf
  • 1 part comfrey leaf
  • Optional: a pinch of stevia

[TONICS]

Tonic herbs strengthen and improve general, overall health and vitality of the whole body or in some cases, a specific body system. They are gentle enough to be used often over an extended period of time, and in fact, often work best when used regularly.

Raspberry (Rubus)
Raspberry leaf is a safe and widely used herb for supporting pregnancy. Prepared as an infusion,* it makes a lovely uterine and general pregnancy tonic. It can be used regularly throughout pregnancy to nourish mother and baby and to strengthen the muscles used during childbirth.

The leaves of raspberry contain an alkaloid called fragrine, which helps to tone the muscles of the pelvis and uterus. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B complex, C, & E; phosphorus, potassium and iron. The infusion of raspberry leaf also contains calcium in its most absorbable form. The uptake of this mineral is further enhanced by the aforementioned phosphorus, vitamin A & C contained in the leaf.

The regular use of this tonic herb is especially beneficial before and during pregnancy. Prior to conception, raspberry leaf combined with red clover blossoms can help to improve fertility in both men and women. During pregnancy, it can help to ease morning sickness by gently relieving an upset stomach and nausea.
If taken throughout pregnancy, Rubus helps to tone the uterus, which helps prevent miscarriage and postpartum hemorrhage. During childbirth, this toning allows the uterus to contract more effectively, which may make birth faster and easier. Also, because it strengthens the muscles used during labor and delivery, regular use of raspberry leaf during pregnancy can reduce labor pains and healing time after birth.
Raspberry leaf can also be beneficial after the baby is born. The high mineral content of this herb often helps the mother’s body to produce enough breast milk. However, since it is slightly astringent, some mothers may actually experience the opposite effect.

Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Nettle is a wonderfully nourishing tonic herb, especially during pregnancy. It has a high chlorophyll content compared to other herbs and is source of nearly every vitamin and mineral that is known to be needed for human development. It is rich in vitamins A, C, D, & K; calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, and sulfur.
Nettle is easy to enjoy. The infusion* is deep and rich tasting. It is also a delicious spring edible in temperate zones. If you’re lucky enough to live in warmer climates, it can be eaten year round.
There are many benefits to regular consumption of nettle before and during pregnancy. Before pregnancy, nettles help to improve fertility in both men and women.

During pregnancy, this herb helps to provide essential nutrients for mother and baby. Nettle infusions supply readily absorbable phosphorus, calcium, and vitamins A & D.

Nettles also help to ease leg cramps and other muscle spasms. Since this herb is mildly astringent and generally nourishing, it strengthens the blood vessels can help to reduce hemorrhoids. Additionally, nettles tone and strengthen the kidneys, which have to cleanse 150% of the normal blood flow during most of pregnancy.
Regular use of nettle throughout pregnancy helps to reduce pain during and after childbirth because it is high in easily assimilated calcium, which reduces muscles pains in the uterus, legs, and other areas. It also is an excellent source of vitamin K and increases the amount hemoglobin that is available, both of which help to decrease the risk of bleeding postpartum. In case bleeding after birth does occur, drinking fresh nettle in teaspoon doses will help to slow it. After birth, nettle helps mothers produce rich, abundant breast milk.

Continue reading

100+ Natural Gift Ideas for New Moms 

If you’ve looked for a baby shower gift lately, you know that there are tons of baby clothes, body care products, and toys on the market these days. But, while many of these items are created for babies, not all of these items are necessarily safe for them. Unfortunately, many conventional baby products are made with toxic materials and ingredients that can cause a variety of health issues, including allergies, developmental problems, and cancer. Selecting the right gift for new moms and their little ones can be a difficult task if you are trying to find natural alternatives to these commercial products. Fortunately, this massive round up offers over 100 baby-safe gift ideas for the new mom in your life.

 

The following gift ideas are for the crafty folks. For those of you who prefer to buy a gift, keep reading, there’s lots of ideas for you too.

DIY Baby & Mama Personal Care Products:

  1. Bottoms-Up Salve adapted from Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health – This salve is great for healing and soothing diaper rash, cuts, scrapes, and irritated skin making it a great addition to any new mom’s diaper bag or changing table.

new-mother-balm-3-300x300
Photo Credit: The Nerdy Farmwife
Ingredients:

  • 1 part calendula flowers
  • 1 part comfrey leaf
  • 1 part comfrey root
  • 1 part St. John’s wort
  • Olive oil
  • Beeswax pastilles

Directions:

Combine 2 ounces of herb mixture with one pint of oil and let steep in a double boiler over very low heat for several hours. Check often to make sure that the oil isn’t overheating and burning the herbs. This will make about 2 cups of herb infused oil.

Strain the herbs from the oil and compost the spent herbs. Return the herbal oil to the double boiler and 1/4 cup grated beeswax per cup of herbal oil.

When the beeswax has melted, place a tablespoon of the mixture in the refrigerator for a few minutes until cooled. This will allow you to check the consistency. If the salve is too hard, add a little more oil. If it is too soft, add a little more beeswax.

When the salve is finished, pour it into a glass jar or tin. Spruce up your container with a label or other decorative touches. The salve does not need to be refrigerated, but should be stored in a cool place, as it will melt if overheated.

baby-massage-oil-blog
Photo Credit: Mountain Rose Herbs
2. Cloth Baby Wipes from Evergrowing Farm – These cloth wipes are easy to make and are safe for baby and the environment.

 

3. Mama & Baby’s Massage Oil from Mountain Rose Herb – This gentle massage oil is perfect for soothing baby’s delicate skin and is also the perfect gift to pamper a new mama.

Photo credit: The Herbal Academy

 

 

 

4. Child’s Herbal Bath Sock from The Herbal Academy – Herbal baths are a great way to nourish and heal baby’s skin. These cute bath socks are easy to make and allow baby to benefit from an herbal bath without any extra clean up for mom.

 

 

 

5. Three Nursing Balms for New Moms from the Nerdy Farmwife – These three nursing balm recipes vary in complexity and are all wonderful, safe options for sore, dry nipples.

Photo credit: Mountain Rose Herbs

 

 

 

6. For more DIY gift ideas, check out these 5 Calming DIY Gifts for Moms from Mountain Rose Herbs

 

 

 

 

The following gift ideas include some lovely natural body care products that you can buy for baby & mom if you’re short on time or if DIY just isn’t your thing.

Natural Baby & Mama Personal Care Products:

7.  Natural Baby Powder from Wild Blossom Herbals – Conventional baby powders can contain ingredients that are toxic and potentially cancer causing. This baby powder is a wonderful alternative as it is made with only natural, baby safe ingredients.

Photo credit: Wild Blossom Herbals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Baby Massage Oil from Wild Carrot Herbals – This massage oil is made with gentle ingredients that are safe for baby’s delicate skin.

Photo credit: Herbal Revolution
9. Mother Lovin’ Tea from Herbal Revolution – Help nourish and uplift a new mama with this lovely tea blend that is specifically formulated to provide extra nutrients and minerals, balance hormones, and support the nervous system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: Mountain Rose Herbs
10. Baby’s Balm from Mountain Rose Herbs – A soothing salve that’s perfect for baby’s skin and bottom.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading