Natural Pregnancy Aids and Tips
Earlier I mentioned a few wonderful herbs that are great for use during pregnancy, labor, and lactation (Herbal Aids for Pregnancy.) I wanted to follow up with that because having a natural pregnancy is so much more possible than it is being made out to be. Although Natural Medicine has made huge progress towards widespread acceptance, it is still considered "quackery" by many. Despite how you may personally feel about the matter, let me offer a few more natural methods that I've used successfully to relieve some of the common discomforts many women experience during pregnancy.
Common throughout the early months of pregnancy (due to hormone changes) and the last couple of months (as organs get shoved even higher up in the rib cage and baby discovers he/she can effectively kick mom in the stomach....) While the herbal standby for nausea is usually Peppermint Tea (mentha peperita,) the menthol can be too much for many moms and may actually make things worse. Spearmint (mentha spicata) is an alternative, as the menthol levels are lower, but an often overlooked herb that is gentle enough to use even on newborns (for colic and gas) and thus is perfect during pregnancy is Fennel Seed Tea (foeniculum vulgare.)
The same seeds that you find in the spice section at your local grocer will work perfectly. As they are seeds, the preferred method of brewing is to simmer for about 10 minutes in a non-aluminum container with a tight fitting lid. Allow to steep while it cools, then strain. An alternative is to crush the seeds and then steep in hotter than normal water (herbal teas should never be steeped in boiling water as much of the virtue of the herbs can escape in the steam.) This can be done with a mortar and pestle or you can place the seeds in a cloth tea bag and crush them with the back of a spoon.
Fennel Seed Tea has a mild licorice taste and is very gentle. If made a little stronger, it can even help with mild heartburn.
Sciatic Nerve Pain
An evil pain that manifests in the hip and thigh due to the sciatic nerve getting pinched, it is common from mid-pregnancy to the end due to the growing size of the uterus. Before you reach for the pain killers, why not try some stretching first? There are several yoga positions and even dance moves that gently and effectively help to shift the weight off of the nerve, releasing the pain and allowing you some comfort.
One stretch that can be helpful is to get down on your hands and knees with your hands shoulders width apart and your knees straight under your hips. Arch your back as high as you can, tilting your head down and tucking your hips in and tail bone down (picture Oroborus: the snake with its tale in its mouth.) Then reverse the position, arching your back the other way, so your belly lowers, raise your head, rotate your hips back (be the snake trying to bite its tale from the other direction.) Do this several times.
While in the same position (hands and knees,) keeping your back level with the ground, turn to the side, as if you're a puppy trying to bite your own tail. Then switch and bend to the other side. Do this several times as well.
Another option is a dance move introduced to me by a friend (she called it the "Voodoo Dance of Love" sure to ensnare any whom you desire. I, however, have found more use for it as an aid during menstruation and pregnancy.) Stand with your feet hips width apart, firmly planted. Bend your knees slightly and gently rock your hips back and forth. Remember, you should be rocking your hips, not shaking your butt. Then start to swing your hips around in a full circle. It should feel as if you are dancing with your uterus, as if it is the centering point within you (which also makes this move great for when you're just feeling disconnected with yourself.) Make several circles in both directions. You can also slowly lower yourself closer to the ground and then rise up again as you swing your hips about to make it more of a workout, if you like.
This move can also help sometimes with ligament pain, as it gently stretches the ligaments and repositions things internally.
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