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Using herbs in the lead-up to birth

At the clinic we see a lot of women during their pregnancy and it’s an absolute privilege to work with them through this time. Apart from general healthy living advice, we use acupuncturenutrition and herbal medicine to keep both mum and baby at their healthiest.

Usually we recommend that our pregnant patients check in with us through each trimester, and again at 34-36 weeks, in the lead up to labour and birth.

Sometimes we are asked to help with pregnancy challenges, such as breech babies (who often respond very well to acupuncture) and getting overdue babies moving. These little ones may want to stay put well past their due date and – apart from warm baths, walking up stairs and other at-home remedies – there are a number of natural medicines that can be very useful during this time.

In the weeks leading up to birth, herbal remedies such as Raspberry leaf, Withania and Squaw Vine may be combined in a personalised formula.

Raspberry leaf is particularly well known for its use in pregnancy and is often drunk as a tea throughout the second and third trimester; it is considered a partus preparatori.e. a herb that prepares the body for labour and birth.

However, despite the best laid plans and healthiest mums, we occasionally get panicked calls from women who have sailed past 40 weeks! If the due date has come and gone, and bub is showing no signs of movement, we can use herbs such as Schisandra, Cramp Bark and Black Cohosh to get things underway. Herbal remedies are usually combined with acupuncture treatments to help get that baby moving.

I would absolutely not recommend taking any supplements or herbs during pregnancy without talking to a qualified practitioner first, as products that affect your health will also impact the baby.

About Kathleen Murphy

Australian naturopath and freelance writer, based in Sydney. I love working with people from all walks of life, helping them institute changes that can become life-long health habits. I can be found at Uclinic | 421 Bourke Street, Surry Hills | Ph: 02 9332 0400 |

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