The Birth Survey Booby Traps

Natural Remedies During Pregnancy

pregnancy photo and ultrasound

This FAQ is about some easy ways to remedy common pregnancy complaints. If you have a remedy that you would like to see included, please send me mail with the remedy and complaint.

This is not meant to replace your practitioner. Please check with your practitioner before using any remedy. Prenatal care is an important part of every pregnancy.

Robin Elise Weiss, ICCE, CD(DONA), NACA
Pregnancy/Childbirth
pregnancy.guide@about.com


This FAQ contains the following topics:

  • Prevention of Pregnancy Complaints
  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Fainting and Dizziness
  • Constipation and Hemorrhoids
  • Leg Cramps
  • Backaches
  • Coughs and Colds
  • Varicosities
  • Skin Changes
  • Stretch Marks
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Insomnia
  • Bladder Problems
  • Headaches
  • Anemia
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Resources


    Prevention of Pregnancy Complaints

    As the adage goes, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." That is the same for pregnancy, if not more important. Prevention comes in many shapes and sizes. The best thing you can do is to eat a well balanced diet, drink plenty of fluids, salt your food to taste, and get regular exercise. These will help your body fend off viruses and maintain order.
  • Nausea

    This is also known as morning sickness, but can strike at anytime of the day. These symptoms of nausea and vomiting generally go away by the end of the first three months. Things that irritate the condition: low blood sugar, low blood pressure, hormonal changes, emotional ambivalence, deficiency of vitamin B6 and iron, or excessive amounts of grease or certain spices. Vomiting that is excessive needs medical attention.

    Suggestions:

  • Deep breathing may help, as well as relaxation exercises
  • A protein snack before bed will help low blood sugar in the morning
  • Get up slowly out of bed
  • Take a walk everyday
  • Sea bands on both wrists for acupressure points
  • Anise, dried peach tree leaves, fennel seed, red raspberry or ginger teas
  • A teaspoon of cider vinegar in a cup of warm water
  • Infusion of ginger root
  • Smelling ground ginger
  • Increase iron rich foods in your diet
  • Ipecacuana 6X three times daily for 5 days
  • Nux Vomica 6X
  • Slippery Elm tablets, two before each meal
  • Aromatherapy: lavender, rose, or chamomile for a massage oil

    Heartburn

    Hormones released during pregnancy allow the softening of the sphincter between the esophagus and stomach. This lets stomach acids back up into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation. This may also occur in the latter months of pregnancy as your baby pushes all of your organs upward.
  • Suggestions:

  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals
  • Remain upright for an hour after eating, lying down can irritate the problem
  • Eating yogurt or drinking milk can help
  • Avoid spicy or greasy foods
  • Try a tablespoon of honey in a glass of warm milk
  • Mercurius Solubilis 6C three times daily

    Fainting and Dizziness

    Fainting is common during pregnancy. the blood may pool in the lower body and the brain may become temporarily deprived of oxygen, causing fainting or dizziness.
  • Suggestions:

  • Avoid standing for long periods of time
  • While standing practice contracting and relaxing your leg and buttocks muscles to help blood return to your head
  • When resting lay on your side as opposed to your back
  • When sitting return to standing slowly
  • Don't get out of a hot bath too quickly
  • Keep cool in hot weather
  • If you feel faint, sit to avoid injury and place your head lower than your body, kneeling on all fours works too
  • Take a few drops of Bach Rescue Remedy as soon as your start to feel faint
  • Make sure you blood sugar isn't low, eat small protein rich snacks throughout the day
  • Shiatsu points Lung 9 (LU9) and Heart 7 (HT7) together, if done by someone else, or separately if alone, for 5-7 seconds, repeat three times, then do the same to the opposite arm

    Constipation and Hemorrhoids

    Constipation can become a problem in pregnancy due to hormonal changes affecting the digestive system. However, iron tablets can also lead to constipation as well as a lack of fiber in your diet. Hemorrhoids are varicose veins of the rectum which are associated with pregnancy. Preventing constipation is a good start to preventing hemorrhoids.
  • Suggestions for constipation:

  • Regular exercise, especially squatting
  • Plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Drink prune juice
  • Nux Vomica 6X three times daily
  • When you have to go..GO! Do not delay the urge to defecate.
  • Avoid straining your bowels (This will also help prevent hemorrhoids.)

    Suggestions for Hemorrhoids:

  • Avoid straining
  • Apply baking soda wet or dry to take away the itch, even add some to your bath water
  • Hamamelis 30X
  • Witch hazel or lemon juice to reduce swelling or bleeding
  • Comfrey or Yellowdock Root ointment
  • Herbal sitz baths

    Leg Cramps

    Cramps in your muscles are common during pregnancy. They may be caused by the weight you are carrying, circulation changes, or calcium deficiency.
  • Suggestions:

  • Regular exercise
  • Adequate calcium intake
  • When the cramp begins, bring your toes towards you, and massage the muscle
  • Dissolve four tablets of Magnesia Phosphorica 6X in a small glass of warm water

    Backaches

    Backaches can be particularly annoying. They can be caused by poor posture, inappropriate lifting techniques, lack of exercise, or the weight of the baby and the stretching ligaments.
  • Suggestions:

  • Utilize good posture
  • Use proper lifting techniques
  • Pelvic rocking
  • Massage
  • Sleep with pillows supporting your legs and back
  • Wear flat heeled shoes that offer good support
  • Heat (bath, shower, pad, sock)
  • Swimming
  • Don't move in a jerky fashion
  • Stretch daily
  • Herbal Liniments may help
  • St. John's Wort tincture, 15-25 drops in a glass of water every few hours as needed
  • For severe pain add 3-5 drops of Skullcap tincture to the above
  • Chiropractic help may be of use as well

    Coughs and Colds

    Pregnancy can cause your mucous membranes to swell. This can make it more difficult to get rid of coughs, colds, etc. Prevention is key here. Eat well, and get plenty of rest and exercise. Also avoid people who are contagious if possible.
  • Suggestions:

  • Well balanced diet
  • Increase Vitamin C foods
  • Eating garlic or onions can help with infections
  • Zinc and Vitamin C supplements will help increase your resistance
  • B vitamins help if you are under stress
  • Use a humidifier
  • Use Aconite 6X every two hours for 24 hours at the first sign of a cold
  • Allium Cepa 6C three times daily for a streaming head cold
  • Eucalyptus, lavender, lemon and tea tree: 2 drops pf each oil into a bowl of water, inhale steam for 10 minutes Do not use in conjunction with homeopathic remedies.

    Recipes:

  • Herbal Decoction for colds:

    4 Cloves
    1 teaspoon coriander seeds
    a few slices of fresh ger
    1 pints of water
    a slice of lemon
    honey

    Add the spices to the water, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the lemon and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Strain and sweeten with honey. Drink a hot cup of this every 2 hours.

    Cold Tea:

    Peppermint
    Chickweed
    Echinacea
    Blackberry leaves

    Mix equal parts of the herbs in a container and take a heaping teaspoon into a tea bag. Steep in boiling water for 10 minutes. Sweeten with honey. You can drink this as often as needed for cold symptoms.

    Varicosities

    Pregnancy causes changes to the blood volume and hormone levels. The increased flow of blood and the relaxation of the muscular walls of the blood vessels leads to a more difficult return of blood from the lower body. They can appear in the legs, vulva, or rectum (see hemorrhoids) The varicose veins that area a result of these changes can be painful, itching, and unsightly. However, heredity does play a part in this process. Here are some ideas to help.
  • Suggestions:

  • Massage may help prevent, but avoid if varicosities develop
  • Avoid standing for long periods of time
  • Exercise regularly (Swimming, yoga and walking are great)
  • Eat well, including plenty of fiber, Vitamins A, C, E and B complex
  • Eat raw garlic, onions and parsley to increase the elasticity of your veins
  • Never cross your legs
  • Avoid tight clothing
  • Support stockings may help if you raise your legs up before putting them on
  • Raise the foot of your bed 3-4 inches
  • Put your legs up whenever you can
  • Exercise the pelvic floor and inner thigh muscles
  • Horse chestnut, nettle, yarrow, St. John's Wort and Shepard's Purse help improve blood flow
  • Ointments of comfrey, yellow dock root, plantain or yarrow may help stop bleeding, reduce pain and ease swelling
  • Hammamelis 6X three time daily for up to a week for painful varicose veins (stop when you get symptom relief)
  • Calcarea fluorica 6X is good for building up elasticity

    Skin Changes

    Skin changes abound during pregnancy. Some are pleasant, others are not. Most of these changes will go away shortly after the birth of your baby. Here are some ideas for the not so pleasant changes that pregnancy can bring.
  • Suggestions:

    Pigmentation:

  • Use a sunblock when in the sun
  • Never bleach your skin
  • Use St. John's Wort oil to help prevent discoloration
  • Eat foods rich in PABA and folic acid

    Itching:

  • Changing laundry detergents to a dye free, perfume free brand
  • Wear cotton clothes
  • Oatmeal baths help with itching
  • Chickweed ointment
  • Bach Rescue Remedy Cream
  • Lime Flower teas before bed can be soothing

    Acne:

    Acne may either get better or worsen during pregnancy, try to keep your face dry, and avoid oils

    Stretch Marks

    Contrary to popular belief, stretch marks cannot be prevented. Your best defense is healthy skin, and good genetics behind you. These marks will fade and turn silvery after the birth.
  • Suggestions:

  • Eat the proper diet to help your skin be healthy
  • Drink plenty of fluids (Skin that is well nourished stretches better)
  • If you have itching, use a cream to moisturize the area, some people prefer a Vitamin E oil
  • Take Calc Fluor 6X 3 times daily for a week starting in early pregnancy, continue alternate weeks for the rest

    Recipes:

    Stretchmark Oil

    dark glass 50 ml bottle
    50 ml of wheatgerm oil, or mixture of wheatgerm and almond oil
    essential oils of lavender and neroli

    Fill the bottle with wheatgerm oil, or the mixture of wheatgerm and almond oils for a thinner solution. Add 15 drops of the essential oil of lavender and 10 drops of the essential oil of neroli. Massage daily after bathing.

  • High Blood Pressure

    High blood pressure may be physiological or a reaction to stress or anxiety. Your blood pressure will be checked regularly throughout your pregnancy. There are many things you can do to help maintain a health blood pressure.

    Suggestions:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet, containing plenty of raw fruits and vegetables
  • Protein is very important in preventing high blood pressure and eclampsia, you need at least 80 grams of protein daily
  • Limiting red meat can help you maintain a lower blood pressure, make sure you are getting protein from other sources
  • Salt your food to taste, do not eliminate salt from your diet
  • Cucumbers help reduce blood pressure
  • Avoid stress where possible
  • Instead of coffee, tea, or colas, drink: raspberry leaf, nettles, limeflower or dandelion teas
  • Juice of half a lemon or lime plus two teaspoons of cream of tartar in a half a cup of water once a day for three days, lowers your blood pressure, if needed, repeat after a break of two days
  • 2-4 capsules of Passionflower daily, or 15 drops of the tincture three times a day, continue for several weeks for the most benefit

    If you develop preeclampsia:

  • Include potassium rich foods into your diet (bananas, and lightly cooked potato peel)
  • A minimum of 2400 calories a day are required
  • Drink Raw beet juice to balance the sodium/potassium ratio in your blood, about 4 ounces daily
  • Take a B complex taken daily with 100mg B6 or brewer's yeast
  • Young dandelion leaves are excellent sources of calcium and potassium, this will vitalize your kidneys and reduce edema

    Pelvic Pain

    As your pregnancy continues, the weight of the baby and your changing form may cause pain when your pubic joint expands in preparation for birth.
  • Suggestions:

  • Regular exercise
  • Rest when you need it
  • Warm compresses at the site of pain
  • May worsen after walking or standing a lot
  • May be worse when you are tired

    Insomnia

    Insomnia can be caused by a lot of factors: restlessness, the need to urinate, worry, overstimulation, discomfort, etc.
  • Suggestions:

  • Avoid stimulants
  • Eat a few hours before bedtime, making sure your meal is easily digestible
  • Try drinking chamomile tea before bed, or limeflower
  • Try warm milk or a calcium and magnesium supplement
  • Make sure that your room is well ventilated and your bed comfortable
  • Use extra pillows as needed
  • Do some pelvic rocking before bed, followed by a warm bath
  • Massage of the head and neck may relieve tension
  • One tablet of Passiflor 6X, Coffea Cruda 6X or Nux Vomica 6X before bed or if you awake in the middle of the night
  • A few drops of Bach Rescue remedy in water will help you if your are restless
  • Add two or three drops of essential oil of lavender to a base oil and use it with a massage before bed

    Bladder Problems

    Cystitis, an infection of the bladder, is not uncommon during pregnancy. This is due to the added stress placed on your bladder because of the increased volume of fluids in your body.
  • Suggestions:

  • Avoid junk food, refined starches, sugar, coffee, tea and foods high in acidic content
  • Eat live yogurt daily
  • Drink plenty on fluids, especially water
  • Wear cotton underwear
  • Avoid using soap to wash your genitals or using bubble bath or bath salts
  • After intercourse emptying your bladder and washing with water may help reduce the risk of infection
  • Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom
  • Include garlic, leeks and cabbage in your diet
  • Blend unsweetened cranberry juice with parsley three times daily
  • Barley water, chamomile, marshmallow and raspberry teas are effective
  • Try taking 500g daily of Vitamin C until symptoms improve

    Headaches

    Resulting from hormonal changes or stress, headaches can be familiar during pregnancy.
  • Suggestions:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Exercise regularly
  • Excessive caffeine can cause headaches, as can caffeine withdrawal. If you have been totally avoiding caffeine, a cola or cup of caffeinated tea may help
  • Try relaxation exercises
  • Soak a washcloth in cold water containing a few drops of essential oil of lavender. Apply to forehead and rest in darkened room
  • Massaging the neck and spine may help

    Anemia

    Anemia is very common during pregnancy. We try and ward it off by prescribing iron tablets, this can be ineffective and actually cause other problems. However, there are times when we check for anemia that aren't appropriate. We tend to want to check for anemia right after an expanse in blood volume. When this occurs it will take a bit for the red blood cells to "catch up" to the rise in volume. This can look like anemia, when it's really not. Here are some other methods of getting the iron you need.
  • Suggestions:

  • Eat lots of iron rich foods (liver, leafy greens, beets, oysters, heart and tongue)
  • Avoid caffeine, it prevents absorption of iron
  • Avoid excessive bran, alkalinizers and phosphates, they inhibit absorption
  • Drink something with vitamins C with your iron supplements (tablets or herbal), Vitamin C aids in the assimilation
  • Cook with cast iron
  • Good herbal sources of iron: Parsley, Nettles, Amaranth greens, Dandelion root, and Kelp
  • Yellow Dock root
  • Prevention: 1T of decoction or 25-40 drops of tincture daily
  • Presenting with anemia: Same dosage as above but three times a day

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    T his syndrome affects a lot of us. I am assuming since you are probably reading this on a computer that you type quite a bit. This puts you at a higher risk.
  • Suggestions:

  • Use a wrist rest by your computer
  • Sleep with your arm on a pillow at night
  • Massage: Have a partner massage, using thumbs, from the inside of your wrist outwards and down
  • Kneel on hands and knees, lean your body forward stretching your wrists, hold for a few seconds
  • Hold your hand above your head and wiggle your fingers
  • A splint on your wrist at night may also help
  • Acupressure: Locate the point Lung 10 (LU10) in the center of the fleshy mound at the base of your thumb, press firmly, hold 5-7 seconds, repeat 3 times
  • Acupuncture

    Resources

  • Natural Pregnancy by Janet Balaskas
  • Wise Woman Herbal: The Childbearing Year by Susan Weed
  • Husband Coached Childbirth by Robert Bradley
  • Aromatherapy for Pregnancy and Childbirth by Margaret Fawcett