- Anemia : Iron (If Deficient)
- Vitamin B 12
- Vitamin Supplements
Pregnancy is a time of dramatic transitions. Body systems that once sustained a single human now support two. Organs, blood vessels, body chemistry, and even the solid supporting structures of a woman's body all go through changes; in the meantime, the fetus's body grows from a tiny bundle of cells to a full-sized baby.
It's no wonder that women feel the desire for remedies to help with these transitions. Since ancient times, women have tried herbs and other natural treatments to ease discomfort or assist with pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. However, pregnancy is also a circumstance when the potential risk of any treatment rises dramatically. Seemingly benign medications—even natural ones—have been found to cause birth defects or increase the risk of complications. Some traditional remedies, such as blue cohosh for labor stimulation, must be discarded for safety reasons.
Thorough study is needed before any treatment can be considered absolutely safe in pregnancy—and in many cases this research may never been done due to insurmountable ethical consideration regarding the safety of the fetus. It's important to talk with your doctor before deciding to use any treatment, whether it is natural or conventional.
Principal Proposed Natural Treatments
Many natural treatments have shown promise for conditions related to pregnancy. In this section, we discuss those with the most scientific support. However, treatments for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and preeclampsia are not discussed here; instead, they are addressed in separate articles. Breastfeeding support also has an article of its own.
Note: The safety of the following treatments has not been confirmed, except for nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, for which appropriate dosages for pregnancy have been established. For more information on potentially harmful natural treatments, see Herbs and Supplements to Avoid During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding .
Increased pressure from the expanding abdomen and other factors can lead to pooling of fluid in the legs, a condition called venous insufficiency (closely related to varicose veins).
Venous insufficiency/varicose veins occur outside pregnancy as well, and a wide variety of natural treatments have shown promise in their treatment, including buckwheat, butcher’s broom , citrus bioflavonoids , gotu kola , horse chestnut , oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) , and red vine leaf. These are discussed in the Venous Insufficiency article.
For more information, see the full Oxerutin article.
For more information, see the article on Hemorrhoids .
Other Proposed Natural Treatments
Other natural remedies have been recommended for treating discomforts and complications of pregnancy or decreasing risks to the baby.
Constipation frequently occurs during pregnancy, for reasons that are not entirely clear.
Prevention of Prematurity and Miscarriage
Prevention of Low Birth Weight
Babies born below a specific weight (5-½ pounds)—called low birth weight—are at greater risk for complications.
Other Uses of Natural Treatments
Herbs and Supplements to Avoid During Pregnancy
For information on this important topic, see Herbs and Supplements to Avoid During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding .
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 07/2012 -
- Update Date: 07/25/2012 -