Monday, May 21, 2012

Natural Remedies During Pregnancy, part 1

During pregnancy we may suffer from different types of aches and pains. I have researched and found  some natural remedy solutions for the most common issues. This is by no mean meant to replace your health practitioner. Please consult your practitioner before using any remedies.

First things first, the best cure is prevention. The best recommendation is to eat a well- balanced meal, drink plenty of water, and getting in regular exercise. Also try to limit the amount of sugar and salt intake. Lastly, try to keep calm and stay stress free. I find yoga to be very helpful.

Below are several common aches and pains. As there are many I would like to cover, this article will be split into two weeks. We will cover the rest next week.

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.

  • Eat lots of iron rich foods (liver, leafy greens, beets, cooked oysters)
  • 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

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

  • 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)
  • Swimming
  • Stretch daily

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.
  • Avoid junk food, refined starches, sugar, coffee, tea and foods high in acidic content
  • Eat 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

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This syndrome affects many of us, especially if you have an office job that requires you to be on the computer for the majority of the day. Being on the computer for the majority of the day may put you at a higher risk.

  • 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

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 (such as squats)
  • Plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet(eat the skin of the fruit as it will provide more bowel movement)
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Drink prune juice
  • 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
  • Witch hazel or lemon juice to reduce swelling or bleeding

Can result from hormonal changes or stress. Other cause may be too much sugar intake.
  • 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 de-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


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.

  • 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
  • Wall stretch: face the wall and reach arms overhead with palms touching the wall, hold that pose for 15-30 secs, and try to reach up a little more. Repeat for several times.(see illustration)

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