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5 Herbs For Pregnancy (and how to use them safely)

I’m Kayli Anderson, dietitian and natural foods chef. PBM is your headquarters for empowering, woman-centered plant-based nutrition and lifestyle guidance. 

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If you’re planning for a natural pregnancy, then you’ve likely thought about adding herbal remedies to your routine. But how do you use herbs safely? And which herbs are best for your symptoms and health goals? Today we’re talking about 5 herbs for pregnancy that have the most scientific and historical evidence to be used safely and effectively. 

Is it safe to use herbs for pregnancy?

There are a lot of misconceptions about herbal remedies, especially during pregnancy. Because of the confusion, some providers will tell you to avoid herbs entirely. But the truth is, herbal remedies have been used in pregnancy since the days of ancient Egypt. 

Yes, certain herbs are dangerous to use in pregnancy or there’s simply not enough evidence to know whether or not they’re safe. But many other herbs can provide nourishing support for common pregnancy symptoms without the risk and side-effects of pharmaceuticals. The key to herbs for pregnancy is knowing what’s safe and what to avoid!

Check out the PBM ultimate guide to a healthy plant-based pregnancy!

Herbs to avoid during pregnancy

Certain herbs are known to be dangerous during pregnancy and should be avoided. You should avoid herbs in pregnancy that are either known to be dangerous or are don’t have enough evidence to know whether or not they are safe. This is not a complete list, so always do your research before taking any herbs.

  • Safflower
  • Mugwort
  • Yarrow
  • Pennyroyal
  • Red clover
  • Hops
  • Wormwood
  • Angelica
  • Tansy
  • Comfry
  • Borage
  • Goldenseal
  • Oregano oil
  • Sage oil
  • Peppermint oil

How To Use Herbs for Pregnancy: Herbal Remedies During Pregnancy

During the first trimester, it’s safest to avoid herbal medicines aside from certain herbal teas and gentle remedies like ginger root. After those vulnerable first 3 months, stick to herbs that have good scientific or historical evidence for use in pregnancy. Many herbs like nettle leaf or ginger root are known as gentle herbal tonics and can be safely enjoyed as daily teas throughout pregnancy. If you plan to use herbs to address specific conditions, it’s best to consult someone trained in herbal medicine first.

Related:  Plant-Based Pregnancy: Your Ultimate Guide

When using mixed herbal products, tea blends, beverages from coffee/tea shops, etc., always review all of the contents for safety. Herbs are used in different forms, strengths, and plant parts, so always do research first.

5 Safe Herbs For Pregnancy

These herbs have the most scientific and/or historical evidence for use in pregnancy. This is not a complete list, so always do your research before taking any herbs.

Ginger Root For Nausea and Morning Sickness

Ginger root is one of the best studied herbs for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. It can be used in many forms. Try it as a tea, as ginger ale (must contain real ginger and not ginger flavoring), as ginger chews or candied ginger, or as capsules. You can also add fresh ginger to smoothies.

Nettle Leaf For Micronutrients

The leaf of the stinging nettle plant is a classic herbal remedy for iron deficiency anemia because it is so mineral-rich. Since iron needs increase dramatically during pregnancy, nettle leaf is thought to be an appropriate addition to pregnancy tea blends to support iron intake. It can be purchased dried and used in pregnancy-safe tea blends as an herbal tonic. Nettle leaf tea in pregnancy is a wonderful, nourishing addition to your routine.

Marshmallow Root For Heartburn

Marshmallow root has been used traditionally for digestive issues. It can be used in pregnancy to help ease heartburn. It is often taken as a tea blended with other pregnancy-safe herbs like this Heartburn Tea.

Chamomile For Sleep

Sleep can be elusive throughout pregnancy, yet it is so important for mamas-to-be to stay rested. Chamomile is well-known as a calming and sleep-inducing herb. It can be safely used during pregnancy as a tea to help promote restful sleep.

Red Raspberry Leaf for an Easier Labor

Red raspberry leaf may be one of the most popular pregnancy herbs. It is known as a uterine tonic, meaning it supports, tones, and strengthens the uterus. Studies show that drinking red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy may lead to better labor outcomes including less need for medical interventions. Most midwives recommend drinking 1-3 cups of red raspberry leaf tea daily in the second half of pregnancy.

Nettle Leaf Herbal Tea For Pregnancy

One of the safest and best ways to use herbs for pregnancy is with gentle herbal teas made from pregnancy-safe ingredients. Try sipping on this tea blend during the second half of your pregnancy to help boost intake of certain minerals and prepare your uterus for labor and birth. 

  • 1 part red raspberry leaf 
  • 1 part nettle
  • 1 part oat straw
  • ½ part rose hips
  • ½ part spearmint
Related:  The Best Healthy Pregnancy Smoothie

Mix dried herbs and store in an airtight container like a mason jar. To prepare your tea, steep 1 tablespoon of herbs in 8 oz. of boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy 1-3 cups per day during the second half of pregnancy.

No time to make your own blend? Try this Third Trimester Tea.

Where to find high-quality prenatal herbs

It’s really important to buy your prenatal herbs from a reliable source. I like to buy my loose herbs from my trusted local herb shop or from Mountain Rose Herbs online. To avoid herbs that weren’t stored properly or are potentially counterfeit, I do not recommend buying herbs from discount storefronts like Amazon. If you don’t want to buy loose herbs, Mountain Rose Herbs and Earth Mama Organics offer great pre-blended tea bags that are very easy to use.

Want more pregnancy tips?

Grab the free PBM Pregnancy Checklist to make sure you and baby are getting everything you need. 

The Plant-based Pregnancy Course

Eating a plant-predominant diet during pregnancy is a cornerstone of holistic, natural pregnancy. But how do you make sure you’re getting everything you need? The PBM Plant-based Pregnancy Course covers all the basics of pregnancy nutrition, how to build nourishing meals during pregnancy, and what supplements to take. It also takes you through each trimester, giving natural remedies for common symptoms and mind-body practices to incorporate at each stage. It’s your ultimate guide to a healthy, natural pregnancy

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