Many women find great success in using herbs to help in childbirth—from managing pain to speeding up contractions.
"Although my nursing friends think it was all a bunch of witchcraft, I was advised during my labor to take cohosh to speed up my contractions," says Molly Tuttle, a mother of one. "Well, I took two shots, both of which made me [ill]—but, I had one of the quickest deliveries ever after that."
I used an essential oil diffuser to help me to be calm and sleep better toward the latter part of my pregnancy," says Julie VanderZanden-Iris of her first pregnancy. "I used ginger and peppermint a lot the first trimester for my nausea—mostly teas, sometimes fresh, raw ginger root as well. The ginger root and peppermint worked wonders for me! I would have never made it through the first trimester without it, and I probably wouldn't have wanted to go through it again with a second child."
After my own cesarean section, I found several herbs useful in my recovery, including a tea mixture of thistle, marshmallow, and fennel. Since pain can greatly decrease milk production, I compensated with these herbs to help maintain a healthy milk supply. I also enjoyed mixing raspberry leaf tea with lemonade as a tonic to help heal and retonify my uterus.
I am thankful for the herbs that helped me through my pregnancy and throughout my recovery. And despite not having a natural childbirth, I wouldn't change a thing about my birth experience. The end result is far too precious and beautiful to question.This article originally appeared in the Spring 2004 issue of The Herb Quarterly. Reprinted with permission.