Herbs and Pregnancy

Herbs are a part of every day life for many of us. From the basil in the marinara to infusions, tinctures and teas, herbs have many uses and many forms. I am often asked about the safety of herbs in pregnancy. There are many herbs, that while considered safe in pregnancy, consulting a certified herbalist is still recommended due to the many multi-faceted uses of most herbs. Just today, there was a discussion in a mother's group I am a part of about Red Raspberry Leaf. One person mentioned it was a uterine tonic; another mentioned it was a hormone balancer. It's both! This is the beauty of herbs. They are multi-functional. 

Below are my top 5 herbs for use in pregnancy. Remember to consult your provider about your own health care needs when choosing an herbal regime. 

1. Red Raspberry Leaf-

This herb is such a great herb for women in all aspects of life. From the young girl, just starting her cycles to the women who is going through menopause, RRL has an amazing ability to adapt to our body's needs. 

Raspberry leaves are the most famous of all the herbs used during pregnancy. They have both relaxing and toning, or astringent, actions, with a particular affinity for the uterus. Throughout history, RRL has been used to speed up birth and to stimulate lactation after birth. 

GRAS, no contraindications or side effects Starting in the 2nd trimester, take one cup of infusion daily, increasing to 3 cups daily in the 3rd trimester. While in labor, take a cupful every hour. Continue with this mixture after birth, 1-3 times daily, to tone and strengthen the pelvic tissues. 

2. Chamomile- 

A gentle herb, considered very safe, is great at relieving stress and tension. Great for babies and children. Chamomile is served in hospitals throughout Europe to calm and relax patients. Great for stomach tension, indigestion and inflammation. It is easily cultivated and beautiful in the gardenCommonly used for stress, digestive complaints, nervous disorders, inflammation in the joints, and for wounds. It is an excellent remedy for all manners of women’s disorders. 

There are many uses for chamomile including thrush treatment, fever reducer, relieves tension and spasms in the digestive tract, relieves nausea and sickness in pregnancy, relieves painful periods, mastitis treatment, premenstrual headaches, eases the pain of childbirth, used as a pain reliever, used for asthma and hay fever, used externally for eczema and to heals wounds. 

For medicinal purposes, try C. recuitita. Some people can experience an allergic reaction to chamomile since it is in the compositae family. Anyone who suffers from pollen-bearing plant allergies, should use with caution. Chamomile is exceptionally volatile and should not infuse for more than 30 minutes. 

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3. Nettle- 

Common name is stinging nettle. Nettles usefulness can be traced back to antiquity and its popularity as food and medicine has hardly waned over the years. Nettles were used in ancient Greece and Rome to treat gout, rheumatism, and poisonous snake and insect bites. The tough stalk fibers were used as fabric. Steamed young nettle tops serves with olive oil, lemon juice and a bit of feta make a delicious dish according to Rosemary Gladstar, herbalist. Native American women used nettle as a tonic during pregnancy and as a remedy for treating postpartum hemorrhaging. 

When taken over a long period of time, nettles are a tonic that will benefit the entire body. It’s ideal for anemia. Sprinkling the powder on a wound helps it stop bleeding.  Tea is useful for asthma, chronic and acute urinary complaints, urinary stones, nephritis and cystitis, diarrhea, dysentery, hemorrhoids, chronic arthritic and rheumatic problems. 

When tea is drunk during pregnancy, it helps lower high blood pressure. Drink several cups of infusion during labor to help prevent hemorrhage due to the high Vitamin K content. Nettles help with varicosities, kidney issues, encourages rich, abundant milk postpartum, are excellent for young women starting their cycles and for women in menopause. 

4. Dandelion-

Also known as Lion’s teeth and fairy dock. The whole plant can be used as medicine and is highly nutritious. Roots are best harvested in the early spring and late autumn. Leaves should be picked when young in the spring and early summer. Dandelion is most famous for a gently detoxifying bitter tonic. Dandelion has high estrogen properties and is used for a lot of female issues. 

Dandelion is used for digestives issues, liver disease, jaundice, enhancing the appetite, easing digestion, cleansing the liver, hepatitis, gallbladder infections, gallstones, skin problems and headaches. Dandelion increases insulin secretion, is effective as a diuretic and useful for hypoglycemia. 

To use, make a standard decoction or use 10-30 drops of tincture. ½ cup infusion, every 30 minutes to treat stomach aches.          

5. Echinacea-

I saved my favorite herb for last! Echinacea is my go-to for so many things. This herb is called Purple Coneflower locally. It grows wild across Oklahoma, but is also easily cultivated for personal use. I appreciate it's gentleness in easing all things in the "sick" category. 

Echinacea makes our own immune cells more efficient at attacking bacteria, viruses and abnormal cells. It increases the number and activity of immune system cells, stimulates new tissue growth for wound healing and reduces inflammation and inflammatory skin conditions. It also kills yeast and slows or stops the growth of bacteria.

Echinacea purpurea has no known toxicity and has an excellent safety record, being very well tolerated by most people. However, Echinacea purpurea should not be used in progressive systemic and autoimmune disorders such as tuberculosis, leucosis, connective tissue disorders, collagenosis and related diseases.

For additional information on herbs during pregnancy, see this handy visual aid I made! 




“The Way of Herbs”, M. Tierra, pgs, 184-5

“Complete Women’s Herbal”, M. Tierra

 “Herbal Healing for Women”, R. Gladstar, 

‘Wise Women Herbal for the Childbearing Years”, S. Weed







Common discomforts in pregnancy, and how to soothe them.

Being pregnant can be the most wonderful time of a womans' life. She is growing another tiny human and all is blissful. She is glowing, radiant and gorgeous. Unfortunately, most every mom will be presented with some rather annoying, at best, and uncomfortable, at most, ailments during pregnancy. Here is a short list of common discomforts you might face in your own pregnancy, complete with some ways to soothe them. 

1. Swelling- Minor swelling is common for most mothers. If you find yourself pregnant during the dog days of summer, you might get an extra special helping of swelling. For most women, increasing fluids and electrolytes, resting with your feet up, taking an epsom salt bath and movement will help with any minor swelling. If you notice swelling in your face, call your care provider. This, coupled with high blood pressure and other symptoms, can be a sign of preeclampsia, a very serious condition to affect pregnant women. 

2. Backaches- As your belly grows with life, the strain to your lower back also increases. One of the best ways to remedy this is regular chiropractic care. I have been a long time patient and fan of the Dr.'s Duncan at Revolution Chiropractic, in NW Oklahoma City. Adam Duncan is Webster Certified and can greatly help ease your aching back. Rachel Duncan has a gentle approach and is great at providing lactation support to moms after baby is here.

Another way to help a backache is regular prenatal yoga. Karen Prior of Mamaste Yoga is a wealth of knowledge. Her classes are held around the Oklahoma City Metro area. She has a wonderful "Breathing for Labor" class, as well. If you're lucky enough to get a spot in that class, jump on it! You will learn how to stay strong and healthy throughout your pregnancy to head off any back pain that might normally accompany a new mom. 

3. Heartburn- This one can be tricky. Heartburn can be cause by many different things. Too much or too little stomach acid. Eating too much, to quickly, or lying down too soon after eating, etc. Papaya Enzymes were a favorite remedy of mine during my last 2 pregnancies, as were milkshakes. I found drinking room temperature water with a slice of lemon water to be the most effective, though. Drinking a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother, such as Bragg's) can help neutralize stomach acid well. Eating small, non acidic portions helps ease your digestion. 

4. Insomnia- Insomnia is nature's clever way of preparing you for parenthood. Waking every 2 hours to go to the bathroom has it's advantages, as well. For insomnia, start slow and work your way up on the potency factor of these remedies. A warm bath, perhaps with some lavender bath salts, epsom salts or chamomile added to the water is soothing and relaxing. A cup of chamomile to passionflower tea is a wonderful way to unwind in the evenings, perhaps with a nice boring book! Lavender essential oil diffused in your room will give you something meditative to breathe in for relaxing on those nights that the bath and tea aren't cutting it. When all else fails, counting sheep is a good standby! 

In conclusion, I hope you've found some of the suggestions helpful and insightful. Please, share your favorite pregnancy ailment remedy in the comments section! As always, feel free to contact me HERE for more information about my services. 



OKC Doula

Being a holistic doula is a wonderful, fulfilling calling. It's a job that demands a lot of me but rewards heavily. I am fortunate enough to serve Central Oklahoma, including OKC, Edmond, Norman, Yukon, Guthrie, Midwest City and the surrounding areas. As a holistic doula I attend all births; including hospital, natural, planned cesarian, VBAC, medicated and home birth. 


Often, I feel it's assumed that doulas only attend natural births. This is not true. How can I help you in a planned cesarian? The same way I would in a natural birth, by providing unlimited emotional, physical and educational support. Each birth is different but support can look the same over a variety of situations. Being able to think on my feet is an asset that has served me well as a doula. As a highly intuitive person, I have found myself able to properly support parents well even if I have no experience with their situation. 

As a certified holistic life coach, I bring aspects to my doula work that others might not. I've been trained to help others reach their goals. Proper communication with my clients is very important to me. Meeting that client where they are helps them know I am there to support them. 

In addition to being a life coach, I am a certified raw food coach. Health and nutrition are the building blocks of our lives. I do my best to offer simple, manageable suggestions to others on improving their diet. Eating healthy during pregnancy and breastfeeding is absolutely vital. I'm always happy to offer ideas and recipes to enhance a diet. 

My apothecary space. 

My apothecary space. 

As a certified home apothecary and certified space cleanser, I will help the energy in your home and body. I believe the earth has many powerful medicines for our healing and enjoy helping others find the right plant ally for their issue. When energy gets stagnant or feels negative, I offer space cleansing to others to clear and reset. It's a noninvasive way of equalizing the air. 

Midwifery is my next step in birth work. I have plans to attend Mercy In Actions distance learning program. I am excited to serve Central Oklahoma as a home birth midwife and continue to offer holistic modalities to compliment my birth work.  

I would love to hear from you. What is something you've always wanted to ask a doula but were afraid to? Have I offered you a different perspective on doulas? Did you use a doula for your birth? Tell me about it. 


Holistic Care for Birth Workers

For centuries, women have passed their childbearing wisdom down from grandmother to mother to daughter. Today, we are lucky to have a plethora of (mis) information via the internet and from each and every woman who has given birth within a 50 mile radius around us. Women are usually eager to share their birth experiences. Sadly, most of them are enveloped in fear, degradation and regret. My drive for becoming a birth worker was to prove to women that you could have an empowering, fulfilling, even painless, birth. I have easily incorporated holistic ways into my client's information because that is the lifestyle I lead. It just seems natural to include it. 




Dandelions from my middle son, age 2. Loving nature comes naturally to him. 

Dandelions from my middle son, age 2. Loving nature comes naturally to him. 

As a doula, I have learned many things about Holistic Care as it pertains to pregnancy, birth and postpartum. It is not always teas and tinctures and sage and prayers. Sometimes, it's simply doing nothing. Taking in the "whole" situation and filling in the gaps to complete that circle of support.

I have also learned (through trial and error) how Holistic Care should look for the doula herself. When we are on our last legs, we are of no use to a mother who has been in labor for 48 hours straight. She needs you most in those final moments. Be present for her. Here are a few points that have shaped me along this journey:

1. Prepare for the unexpected- All of the affirmations in the world will not help you if you have not prepared for the unexpected. I have faced several such events over the last year and they have knocked the wind out of me, literally and figuratively. 

2. Listen to your intuition- Always. We are so connected to our intuition but often dismiss it because we feel silly, or don't want to hurt someone. Your intuition is your checkpoint. Always, always trust it. 

3. Sometimes, do nothing- This one is difficult. We are programed to help, to assist, to encourage. But sometimes, nothing is exactly what is needed. 

4. Never underestimate your energy and how it shapes a birth experience- One of my favorite sayings is "Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space." I find this really is poignant when attending a birth. My goal is to always bring pure, positive energy into a birth. And when the unexpected happens, I maintain that. 

5. Self care is important- As a birth worker, we are often running on protein bars and day old hospital coffee. This does no one any good. Be prepared with healthy snacks, a refillable water bottle, comfort measure for a quick nap, a toothbrush for those long births. Take the time to take care of you, so that you may take care of others.  

Always learning, I might look back on this list in 5 months and decide it is not longer valid. For now, it is. As I learn and grow, I hope to change as well. To fully immerse myself into this birth community and to watch it rise with love and hope. There are big changes on the horizon and I am elated to move into the next chapter of this calling.