Having a baby is one of life’s biggest life changing events and it’s certainly not always one of the easiest. Many women can sale through pregnancy, but many others don’t, so it’s important to understand you are not alone if you are struggling with pregnancy in some shape or form, whether that be constipation, morning sickness or anxiety, to name a but a few.
Pregnancy causes significant physical changes in the body and can make some conditions more common, but pregnancy can also cause significant changes in mental health and mood too.
Symptoms associated with pregnancy can occur due to the normal hormonal changes experienced in pregnancy, but can also be caused by the anticipation of what lies ahead, which can cause stress and anxiety, which can then represent itself physically too. None of these make for a happy pregnancy or a happy foetus/baby, so finding solutions early on is key so symptoms don’t linger or spiral further.
So what help can nature offer during pregnancy?
- Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is a common occurrence in pregnancy and it is estimated that about two thirds of women seek out natural remedies to treat morning sickness in pregnancy. For some, morning sickness can be just a nuisance and for others it can be debilitating. Nature’s wild medicine cabinet has some good safe offerings when it comes to alleviating this common symptom so let’s take a look:
- Ginger is a well-known remedy used to help morning sickness, in fact gingers ability to alleviate nausea and vomiting is its best-supported use and certainly worth consuming if morning sickness is affecting you. You can use fresh ginger grated into hot water to make a tea, or make ginger biscuits to nibble on when nausea hits.
- Peppermint inhalation has been shown in studies to be very helpful for relieving nausea. In one study, the inhalation of peppermint oil at the onset of nausea, reduced symptoms in 44% of cases and within two minutes of treatment. Combining lemon oil with peppermint also showed very positive benefits for reducing nausea, so make sure you have a good quality, peppermint and lemon essential oil on standby and get ready to inhale when required.
- Cardomon is a spice made from the seed pods derived from various plants in the ginger family. Like ginger, it has shown to be helpful for alleviating nausea and sickness during pregnancy and can be consumed as a tea or inhaled using a diffuser.
Many women suffer constipation during pregnancy, which can cause a lot of discomfort and agitation, but fear not as nature provides some great natural laxatives that are safe and effective to use during pregnancy.
- Rhubarb is a distinctive looking plant and has been used in Chinese herbal medicine for centuries due to its laxative effects. Rhubarb contains sennosides, which act as a natural and gentle laxative and can help promote a bowel movement. Why not stew it and eat on its own or with a probiotic yogurt, don’t forget to sweeten it though with honey or maple syrup as its too bitter without.
- Tamarind is an African tree that is part of the legume (bean) family and bears edible fruits. These fruits are pod like shaped and within these pods is an edible pulp. This pulp is used world over as an effective laxative and safe to use during pregnancy, with a high fibre content and high content of malic and tartaric acids all of which combine to offer a good gentle laxative effect. Tamarind is also great to support general digestive health too and a rich source of vitamin C.
- Lemons. Although there is no real scientific research to support the effect of lemons in constipation, many people swear by its effect. Drinking warm lemon water therefore may help alleviate constipation and will certainly help with overall fluid intake which is essential for stool formation. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which also does help to draw water into the bowel and make for a more passable stool.
Depression & Anxiety
Walking is considered one the safest forms of activity in pregnancy and if you can walk within nature (green environments) then this has shown to have a significantly positive impact on mental health. Walking also has many other positive health benefits that can be useful during pregnancy, read what they are here.
As mentioned in other articles on this website, being exposed to nature and being submerged within it has significant impacts on how we feel mentally. Nature provides many active health ingredients that we get exposed to just by being submerged within it. Just walking in nature for example, exposures us to tree chemicals called phytonicides, which are present in the air and breathed in as we inhale the natural surroundings. These have a range of benefits for health as detailed in the link just above.
Been exposed to green spaces also reduces our stress hormone levels, specifically Cortisol, so if you are feeling stressed, taking yourself off to a green environment will certainly have a calming effect and benefit both you and the baby by helping lower heart rate and reducing blood pressure, the latter of which can become high during pregnancy. If you are struggling with your mental health in pregnancy, find out how our ‘Mend Your Mind’ online course can help.
Turning to nature in pregnancy will allow you to reap its benefits for you and your baby, so whether it’s walking amongst the trees or inhaling the aromas of peppermint, Nature’s Wild Medicine cabinet can help you have a healthy and happy pregnancy. If you are interested in learning more about how nature can help you through your pregnancy and birth then why not register your interest for the online course ‘from Bump, birth to baby, Naturally’ coming soon. Find out more here and to register interest for 10% off.
RESOURCES & FURTHER READING:
Effects of Ginger for Nausea and Vomiting in Early Pregnancy: A Meta-Analysis, 2014. Journal of the American board of family medicine
A Randomized Controlled Trial of Ginger to Treat Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy, 2004. Obstetrics & Gynacology
The Effect of Combined Inhalation Aromatherapy with Lemon and Peppermint on Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy: A Double-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial, 2020. Iranian Journal of Nursing & Midwifery Research
Effect of mint aroma on nausea, vomiting and anxiety in pregnant women, 2019. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care
Potential Health Benefits of Rhubarb, 2010. Bioactive Foods in Promoting Health