Backache

The body undergoes physical changes in pregnancy in your balance, posture, and your mobility. Your center of gravity becomes thrown off due to abdominal protrusion in the front, enlargement of your breasts, and the anterior   (frontwards) rotation of the pelvis. In order to maintain stability, a pregnant woman tends to increase the strain on the back muscles and the vertebral column.

Another cause is the shortening of the hip flexor muscle group caused by the anterior rotation of the pelvis, as well as the increased size of the muscles of the abdomen. This is not helped when a pregnant woman leads a sedentary lifestyle.

Cross-legged Pregnant Woman

REASONS FOR BACKACHES

• Weight of the baby and the contents of the uterus
• Constipation
• Poor posture
• Standing for long lengths of time
• Urinary tract infections
• Over-working
• SCIATICA is a severe form of backache caused by the sciatic nerve being “pinched” or pressure placed on the nerve.
• The pain radiates to the legs
• Occurs due to growing baby and the womb that causes pressure on the nerve.
• The kidneys can also be affected, do the growing uterus causing pressure.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Good posture can assist sciatic nerve issues. When you improve the posture, not only will the backache be relieved but eating and breathing will improve. You find digestion is much easier as well.

Begin by keeping your head up, looking down throws your posture off. Keep your chin level. If you hold your head correctly your shoulders and back will automatically fall into place. Drop your shoulders to a position that is more natural, and avoid allowing the shoulder blades to be thrown back as it will cause a strain on your back.

Tuck your tailbone under to bring it into alignment. Pull inward the abdominal muscles and tucking the buttocks muscles…tilt your pelvis forward. This will act as a counter-balance to the tendency of arching the back.

• Wear flat comfortable shoes. Keep your knees relaxed, not locked
• Sit up straight in chairs and when you drive

Do stretching exercises, and / or exercise by walking briskly for 30 minutes a day, leg lifts and lunges, swimming, or Yoga. Avoid too many weight-bearing exercises . Doing exercise relieves muscle tension. It also Relieves emotional tension. Another thing you can do is to rock your hips, or make love passionately (no joke), the latter relieves pelvic congestion.

Relieve constipation:

• Constipation is directly connected to lower back pain and pelvic discomfort
• To keep from having constipation, drink more water and eat whole grains.
• Increase Calcium and magnesium (see: minerals hand-out).

Elevate your legs, preferably for 20 minutes a day (up on a chair or lying down with two pillows under them)

DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS

Keep cold or raw foods to a minimum (these increase kidney strain). Eat grapes, pears, and apples as these are the least “watery” of the fruits and are less strain on the kidneys.

Minimalize fruit juices, and caffeine. (coffee, black tea, chocolate, cocoa, and soda). They act like adrenaline in the system due the chemicals they contain. Adrenaline aggravates the kidneys.

HERBAL RECOMMENDATIONS

If you are tired, feel overworked, or stressed you may be experiencing adrenal gland deficiency. The best herb to nourish the adrenals is nettle leaf, in a strong infusion (steeping for at least ½ hour). Nettle Leaf is one of the herbs found in your “Pregnancy Tea”.

Take St. John’s Wort and skullcap in a tincture form. About 20 to 30 drops in water or juice a couple of times a day. You can also apply the combination of Arnica and St. John’s Wort oils externally to relieve tension and promote the healing of the muscles of the back. It’s also helpful to use a warm water bottle on the area that has been treated with Arnica and / or St. John’s Wort.

Herbal Teas – Part 5

red clover illusRed Clover
Trifolium pratense, L.

Constituents: Phenolic glycosides, isoflavones, flavonoids, salicylates, coumarins, cyanogenic, glycocides, mineral acids, vitamins

Actions: Alterative, antispasmodic, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, possible estrogen activity

Common Names: Purple Clover, Trefoil, Cleaver grass, Cow grass

Medical Parts: flowers and leaves


USE:

Renal Conditions (233) IHONA

“Very soothing for the nerves” (233) IHONA

As a gargle for sore throats (234) IHONA

Promotes fertility, restores hormonal balance, and balances Alkaline/Acid.  (2) WWHCY

Useful for coughs, and colds…mucus congestion (220) TWOH

Stimulates the liver and gallbladder/for constipation and sluggish appetite. Outside the body a fomentation is used for rheumatic or gouty pains, and to soften hardened milk glands (395) THB

Ointment: Lymphatic swelling (128) CGTMH

Eye Infection (99) WWHCY

Homeopathic: Cancer, constipation, cough, mumps, pancreas (affections of), throat (sore, mucus in), Uvula (pain in). (234) IHONA

 

VITAMINS AND MINERALS: Vitamin B1, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and Calcium.

References:

Gladstar, Rosemary. (1993) Herbal Healing for Women. Fireside Books: New York.

Hutchens, Alma R. (1991) Indian Herbalogy of North America. Shambhala: Boston.

Lust, John. (1983) The Herb Book. Bantam Books, NY

Ody, Penelope. (2000) Natural Health: Complete Guide to Medicinal Herbs. Dorling/Kindersley Lmt.: London.

Romm, Aviva Jill.  (2003) The Natural Pregnancy Book: herbs, nutrition, and other holistic choices. Celestial Arts: Berkeley

Tierra, Michael. (1990) The Way of Herbs. Pocket Books: New York

Weed, Susan S. (1986) The Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Ashtree Publishing; Woodstock NY

Herbal Teas – Part 2

Red Raspberry Leaf

Red Raspberry Leaf

Red Raspberry Leaf
Rubus idaeus


Constituents: (leaves) fragarine (uterine tonic), tannins, polypeptides.

Actions: (leaves) astringent, preparative for childbirth, stimulant, digestive remedy, tonic.


Infusion:

used for period cramps and discomforts, in pregnancy helps prepare the womb for childbirth. It is useful for diarrhea, sore throats, and mouth ulcers.  This herb is a cleansing diuretic. (113) CGTMH

“When combined with cream it will relieve nausea and vomiting”. Prevents miscarriage, reduces labor pains, assists in the increase of breast milk. (328) THB

The infused tea can be used also for menstrual irregularities. Tones and prepares uterus
for childbirth. (219) TWOH

Tones and nourishes the uterine muscles, and considered the “pregnancy tea”. Packed with vitamins and minerals, ” especially high in chelated iron”. It assists with enriches breast milk and milk flow. After childbirth, assists in restoration. (177) HHFW

It nourishes muscles and can be used for prevention of hemorrhaging due to the high iron content and its stringent quality.  (91) TNPB

Used by native peoples in soothing the kidneys and urinary tract, for relief of painful menstruation, a miscarriage preventative, aiding flow of menstruation yet if too abundant, will decrease the flow without stopping it. (231) IHONA

Red Raspberry will help with male and female fertility (when combined with Red Clover). Eases morning sickness, reduces labor pains and post-partum pains. It does not strengthen labor pains but allows the muscles to function properly and will assist the undelivered placenta. (19) WWHCY

VITAMIN/MINERAL CONTENT:

Calcium, Iron, Vitamins C and E, Vitamin A and the B Vitamin complex, as well as many minerals… two of which are Phosphorus and Potassium.

 

REFERENCES

Gladstar, Rosemary. (1993) Herbal Healing for Women. Fireside Books: New York.

Hutchens, Alma R. (1991) Indian Herbalogy of North America. Shambhala: Boston.

Lust, John. (1983) The Herb Book. Bantam Books, NY

Ody, Penelope. (2000) Natural Health: Complete Guide to Medicinal Herbs. Dorling/Kindersley Lmt.: London.

Romm, Aviva Jill.  (2003) The Natural Pregnancy Book: herbs, nutrition, and other holistic choices. Celestial Arts: Berkeley

Tierra, Michael. (1990)  The Way of Herbs. Pocket Books: New York

Weed, Susan. (1986)  Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year. Ashtree Publishing; Woodstock

Herbal Teas – Part 1

HOW TO MAKE AN HERBAL INFUSION

Herbal infusions are made with the “aerial parts”  of the plant. This would be the leaves, flowers, or “fruits”.  Generally, for most infusions you would heat your water to boiling, then add your plant matter to the water.  At this point, you would cover and let it steep 5-15 minutes.

For herbs used in pregnancy, the time allotted is a bit different.  You would want to let it steep a minimum of 2 hours. Some teas are better having been allowed to steep up to 8 hours.

If you can afford it, buy a good 4-6 cup teapot.  It makes this longer brewing process much easier.  You can also buy or make a “tea cozy” (a padded warmer for the tea pot) or wrap the teapot with a heavy kitchen towel. It will keep the hot water warm for a longer period of time, to allow for the longer steeping time frame.

If you are making a brew with roots, bark, nuts or seeds…you would bring the water to a boil and then turn down the heat. Let it simmer for at least 30 minutes or until 1/4 to 1/3 of the water is gone.  This allows for the hot water to extract the portion of the roots, bark, or seeds that you need. This is called a: decoction.

For this set of discussions, you are going to use the infusion method.  This method works best for the teas I will be discussing in the next four blogs. The next four blogs will be information on the teas most recommended for women during the childbearing years. They are highly recommended for pregnancy, but can be a beverage to drink before and after pregnancy as well.

All the herbs recommended are packed with nourishing vitamin content.  The herbs are good for the body and good for the growing baby!

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