If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re expecting, recovering from giving birth, or preparing to bring a new being into the world. Or maybe you have a loved one embarking on this life-altering journey, and you want to help them uncover the often hard to find information about herbal remedies for maintaining optimal health during pregnancy, postpartum, and breastfeeding. While we may not all give birth, or have plans to, we have all been born. That’s why caring for mothers is a naturally inclusive social responsibility, which touches every human being on the planet. As the act of giving birth has changed drastically over the past few decades (moving from the home to the hospital, with increased medical interventions in many Western countries), so has technology. With these practices comes certain benefits for those who need them. But for those who experience healthy pregnancies, there is compelling evidence to support less (or no) interventions, pharmaceuticals, or medical treatment of any kind.
Anima Mundi Herbals founder, Adriana Ayales, a few hours before the arrival of her daughter.
For the majority of the people on this planet, herbalism remains the primary form of healthcare. Herbs have been safely used since antiquity for all the different stages of pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. Unfortunately, it has become difficult to access reliable information about what traditional medicines, including nourishing herbs and foods, are most beneficial for the journey into parenthood. Because each pregnancy is different and ever-evolving, each one requires unique support. Since we’re all in this together, our herbalists have put together a quick guide for birthing people to share with their trusted midwife, doula, physician, naturopathic or homeopathic doctor, or other healthcare providers who make up their birthing community. Together with your birthing team, your co-parent(s), and other experienced herbalists or healthcare providers, we hope this list will help you decide which herbs are best for you and your baby during this sacred time of growth, expansion, and recovery.
For this highly personal choice, here’s a starting point for herbs that are generally considered safe for keeping birthing people healthy throughout pregnancy, postpartum, and breastfeeding/chestfeeding. Below, you may find a good fit for pregnancy-related symptoms, as well as our herbalists’ guide to all four trimesters of pregnancy, including the postpartum period after childbirth, a critical time of healing and restoration for both parents and babies. If you still have questions and wish to consult with one of our herbalists, you can chat with us from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday via this link.
In the days and weeks following childbirth, mothers need to recover, which can be incredibly challenging! This often requires a network of supportive family, friends, neighbors, and helping hands. Birthing people are told to recuperate but also to build their strength. Post-delivery, they need to be active, but newborn care needs to share priority with making sure healthy food and rest are also possible for mama. As with the three trimesters leading up to the birth, the post-natal “fourth trimester” or the “first 40 days” as it is known by many midwives and communities throughout the world, also requires uniquely special care.
The poet Sarah Manguso wrote, “My body, my life, became the landscape of my son’s life. I am no longer merely a thing living in the world; I am a world.” For many postpartum parents, breastfeeding is daunting for so many reasons. Among them, social stigmas, lack of access to time, space and opportunity to feed or pump milk for working mothers, and the constant fear (often from overloading on the wrong information) that supply is inadequate, decreasing, or otherwise “not enough”. Add to that the insufficient attention given to supporting breastfeeding and chestfeeding people, in educating and preparing them for this huge and all-consuming task, and it’s no surprise that while around 80 percent of infants in the U.S. start out receiving some breast milk, only approximately 50% were receiving any breast milk by the age of six months, and less than 25% received breast milk exclusively by that age (Source: CDC).
boost milk production with “nature’s multivitamin”
rich in folate, a critical nutrient during pregnancy
nourish the kidneys + tonify the blood
high in iron + magnesium, also safe for children
a self-care essential for radiant skin + soothing scents
boost immunity + combat inflammation
DISCLAIMER: This content is not intended to encourage self-diagnosis, and is purely informational in nature. We are not suggesting any of these herbs be used in place of medicine or as medicinal alternatives. We do suggest you work with your chosen herbalist, birthing professional and/or physician about how to best integrate these and other herbal remedies into your wellness routine. The ancient wisdom of plant-based remedies includes a complex system requiring guidance from practitioners whose expertise cannot be summarized in just one article. Please use plant medicines carefully and intentionally. Discuss any questions or doubts directly with a healthcare practitioner.