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Su B bog 

Following on from the post on pregnancy two weeks ago, this one looks at what you can do to ensure a good labour when the time comes. Again, do consult a professional herbalist if there are any complicating factors to consider.

However, if everything looks straightforward, there is plenty you can do. The most likely scenario in which you might want herbal help is that of overdue labour, or a prolonged first stage in which dilation is happening very slowly. In these situations, herbs like Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) and Rosemary can help establish efficient contractions. To keep your energy up, a little Vervain, Turnera or Nettles can be useful, and Limeflowers or Passion Flower will calm anxiety.

And a warm bath or a birthing pool is magnificent for easing pain

Sometimes the opposite can happen, and labour proceeds so fast that it’s hard to deal with the pain, and your body goes into shock. This can happen if you are induced, but occasionally for no obvious reason. Here, the anxiety-busting herbs mentioned above will help, with Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus) to soften the contractions.

Afterwards, Blue Cohosh and Calendula can be useful to aid involution and minimise the risk of infection; a Calendula wash can be very comforting.

Looking after yourself can take second place to the needs of the baby, but it’s worth taking a little care to avoid long-term problems.

Editor: Su has an excellent Herb Handbook that can be bought from Amazon. A very informative book and I highly recommend it!

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 ( 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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