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While you’re pregnant, it’s best to avoid drugs altogether if you can. Even painkillers like paracetamol could pose some risks, so there’s plenty of scope for the gentler, more food-like herbs to get to work. While some herbs are not recommended, there is still a wealth of choice.

If you are at risk of early miscarriage, Vitex agnus-castus can help the placenta to establish itself, and Viburnum opulus (Cramp Bark) can help prevent premature labour. So-called ‘morning sickness’ can take various forms, but often the aromatic herbs like Mint or Ginger can help, and Chamomile or Meadowsweet tea can ease indigestion at any stage of pregnancy.

As the pregnancy develops, your circulation increases by 50%, and your joints and ligaments get looser. This can lead to various aches and pains, but it’s best to steer clear of painkillers if you can

Try a soak in a hot bath followed by a cold splash. Rubbing oil of lavender into aching joints can help too. In fact, gentle massage is a lovely relaxing thing at any time. Using a vitamin E cream on your tummy can help to avoid stretch marks and, if you put a little on your perineum in the last stages, it may help prevent tears during labour.

You’ve probably heard of Raspberry Leaf tea. It’s a gentle uterine tonic, and helps to ensure an efficient labour when the time comes. You don’t need to start it more than a month or so before the baby is due, and you can carry on drinking it after the birth to help your uterus to return to normal. Mix it with other teas like Chamomile, Limeflowers or Ginger so that you don’t get tired of the taste.

For anything less run-of-the-mill, consult a practitioner. Don’t be tempted to order remedies online; now more than ever, you need to be sure that you are in safe hands.

Meet The Author...
Su Bristow
Who Am I?
I studied at the School of Herbal Medicine for four years, and qualified in 1989, becoming a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (www.nimh.org.uk.) The road to herbal medicine led from my early interest in organic gardening and healthy eating, through the study of social and physical anthropology at Cambridge, where I specialised in medical anthropology. What fascinated me was how people deal with their health problems when they have only the natural resources around them, and their own ingenuity. I went on to learn massage and reflexology, and worked at a residential naturopathic clinic, where I learned about the use of diet and other natural ways of healing. After qualifying as a herbalist, I set up practice in mid-Devon. Since then I have continued to expand my expertise, with counselling skills, first aid, and knowledge of the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of herbal medicine. Besides one-to-one consultation, I have also taught evening classes, students of the Westcountry Massage Association, and various private courses.
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