The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.
Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy
These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.
--------------- **DISCLAIMER** ---------------Many herbs are strong medicines and discretion should be used in regards to which herbs you might still use during pregnancy. It is best to consult an herbalist or experienced midwife before using herbs. At LEAST purchase two good herbal book (_Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year_ by Susun S. Weed is one and one good general herbal) and read them thoroughly. If you decide to try and herb, read everything you can about it and read every single reference in the books to make sure you understand it as well as you can. Weed's book is excellent !! (She is pretty liberal about Red Raspberry Leaf, though.)
Chamomile and mint are considered pretty safe.
Red raspberry leaf is good for your uterus and helps tone it by relaxing the muscles which need to be relaxed so as to not fight contractions. (Generally there are always opposing muscles, and they work against each other like triceps and biceps in the arm.) The reason that relaxation aids labor is it allows the muscles that need to relax to do so, so that the muscles that need to contract have less resistance Read _Childbirth Without Fear_ by Grantly Dick-Reed [sp?] for a more thorough explanation.)
There is some indication that Red raspberry leaf should be avoided during the first trimester. It is excellent for the last trimester. Nettles are also excellent during pregnancy, high in iron and many other minerals. Traditional Medicinals (TM) makes a tea called "Pregnancy Tea" (TM). It is a blend of raspberry leaf nettles, peppermint (for flavor), etc. Toward the end of my pregnancy I preferred to use the loose red raspberry leaf to make an infusion (extremely strong tea -- 1 large handful herb (approx. 1 oz) in quart jar, fill with boiling water and cap and steep overnight then strain).
I found ice cubes of red raspberry leaf infusion invaluable during my labor!! I had planned on using them so I could make undiluted tea, and ended up needing them just to suck on b/c of nausea/vomiting.
Completely avoid Red Raspberry tea (made from dried berries). I don't remember why, but during pregnancy tea made from the *leaves* is the only one recommended by herbalist.
Also steer clear of herbs that stimulate hormones such as ginseng and dong quai and licorice root. Don't use goldenseal, either. White Willow Bark is what aspirin originally came from, so avoid that. That's all I can think of off the top of my head
Eating dandelion leaves is excellent during pregnancy. It's chock full of absorbable vitamins and minerals (It's like nature's B-complex vitamin) AND it will keep you regular. Greens of all sorts are also wonderful (and very high in calcium that the body will actually absorb!_
Dandelion vitalizes the both the liver and kidneys, which is vital in preventing/treating pre-eclampsia (which usually starts w/swelling) from a nutritional approach.
Three oz of cooked dandelion greens contains: 12,000 IU of beta ceratene, 48 mg of vitamin C, 140 mg calcium, 230 mg potassium, 1.8 mg iron, choline (essential to the liver), vitamins B1, B2 and many trace minerals. And each of these nutrients is much more readily absorbed by the body than those in commercial prenatal vitamins (although don't stop your vitamin intake - you do absorb nutrients from them, just not as readily as through most foods!!)
[To prepare greens, soak in a sink full of cold water for 5 minutes
to allow the sand and grit to sink to the bottom ... lift greens out of
the water and repeat if necessary, then rinse them inspecting each leaf.
Chop into 1 to 2 inch pieces. Sautee 1/2 onion in some olive oil, add garlic
toward the end of the sauteeing. Then ad the greens -- don't worry if the
pan is overflowing they really reduce upon cooking. Add salt, pepper and
paprika to taste. Cover and let the steam from the water steam and wilt
the greens. While cooking make up a sauce of 1/4 cup vinegar (I prefer
regular white vinegar), maple syrup or brown sugar and a little water and
tamari. When greens are tender, add the sauce for the last couple minutes
of cooking. You may need to add more vinegar. If you can tolerate a little
spice, you might try a couple drops of tabasco in the sauce for extra zest.
Or if you don't mind the fat, try sauteeing a couple slices of chopped
bacon and using that instead of olive oil.]
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