In recent years, there has been a steady movement towards natural health and herbs as well as alternative treatments, as people realise the potential risks and serious side effects of using medication incautiously. Herbs have a history of use in traditional medicine for thousands of years and are starting to be included in scientific research to assess their benefits and risks in different situations.
Many pregnant women hope to avoid the unnecessary use of medication for the duration of their pregnancy, birth and postpartum period (the first few weeks immediately after birth), as the side effects of the drugs commonly used (and often overused) can be harmful to the baby and the woman herself.
Midwives help women avoid procedures like induction and augmentation (starting and speeding up) of labour by recommending women drink a herb called red raspberry leaf in a tea, from the 36th week of pregnancy. The herb helps to tone the uterine muscles, helping women to have more effective contractions, which leads to shorter labours and less bleeding.
Babies and Mothers Benefit
After birth, women experience contractions, which can be painful, that reduce uterine size. Fennel seeds can be boiled into tea to help manage the pain. The effects of fennel pass through the mother’s breastmilk, helping the baby to experience less pain from intestinal cramps. These herbs are safe, with minimal side effects compared to medication used in the same circumstances.