6 Doctor Recommended Herbs for Pregnancy

Herbs can make a wonderful addition to your self care plan during pregnancy. In addition to delivering an array of nutrients, herbs can also help alleviate your mood, calm your nerves and even help you get better sleep!

While not all herbs are not safe in pregnancy, the list below contains my 6 favorite pregnancy safe herbs that can help your body adapt to the necessary changes that accompany pregnancy.

Red Raspberry Leaf.

This is by far the most popular herb women begin taking beginning in their second trimester of pregnancy.

Red Raspberry leaf helps tonify and strengthen the uterus— making for more efficient contraction with labor. Who doesn’t love that idea?

How to Enjoy:

Beginning in the second trimester, drink 1 cup daily. At the start of your third trimester, aim for 2-3 cups daily.When I was pregnant I would brew red raspberry leaf tea to make popsicles. It doesn’t have a pleasant flavor on its own, but combined with a bit of spearmint and honey it makes for a delicious and refreshing womb building treat!

Red Raspberry Leaf Popsicles:

Ingredients: 
3/4 cup Organic Red Raspberry Leaf
2 tablespoons rose hips
Juice from ½ lime
1 cup Organic Red Raspberries (fresh or frozen)
2 tsp Organic honey
One handful of seasonal greens (optional)
2 Cups of water

Directions:
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Turn off heat and add raspberry leaf and rose hips. Cover and steep for 20 minutes.

While tea is steeping, blend raspberries with greens and lime juice. Strain tea and stir in honey. Combine all ingredients and pour into reusable popsicle molds. Freeze & enjoy!

Nettle Leaf.

Rich in vitamins and minerals such as, selenium, iron, calcium and vitamin C, it’s easy to see how this nutritive rich herb can benefit your pregnancy. This herb supports the health of your kidneys, which put in a little overtime while you are pregnant. Nettles have the added bonus of relieving allergy symptoms too!

How to Enjoy:

Drink 2 cups of nettle tea daily with a little honey to taste.

Oat straw.

Feeling irritable, anxious or just plane overwhelmed? Oat straw can help! In addition to being loaded with blood building nutrients, minerals and vitamins, oat straw also provides a gentle calm to the nervous system. The nutrient profile of oat straw includes chromium (important for healthy blood sugar control), magnesium, iron, calcium, phosphorous, vitamins A, C, and Bs.

How to Enjoy:

Drink 1-2 cups daily beginning in the second trimester.

Alfalfa Leaf.

A little less known herb than some of the others in this list, but not any less nutritive. Alfalfa leaf provides your body with bioflavonoids, potassium, much needed magnesium, calcium, iron and beta carotene.

How to Enjoy:

Drink 2 cups daily beginning in the second trimester.

Ginger Root.

You may be well acquainted with ginger if you had significant nausea in your first trimester. I can remember all too well the uneasy feeling in my stomach and being quite unsure if I’d make it through a patient visit without being interrupted by a mad dash to the bathroom. Thankfully that never happened!Ginger has been shown to be effective in treating morning sickness and comes in many palatable forms, which is so necessary when you are in the thick of it.

How to Enjoy:

Brew a Cup of Fresh Ginger Tea. Check out this recipe!
Reed’s Ginger Beer 
Ginger Chews

Chamomile Flower.

Chamomile is a carminative and nervine, which means it supports healthy digestion, while also calming the nervous system. Because disrupted sleep can be such a large issue in pregnancy, especially during the third trimester, I often recommend women enjoy a cup of chamomile tea before bed.

How to Enjoy:

Brew an 8 ounce mug by heating up 8 ounces of water and adding 1 tablespoon of dried herb. Steep about 10 minutes and enjoy!

Dr. Brighten’s Super Womb Tea:

Ingredients:

1 part Red Raspberry Leaf
1 part Nettle Leaf
½ part Alfalfa leaf
½ part Oat straw
Honey to taste (optional)

Directions:
Warm a quart glass jar under hot tap water.
Put one large handful of herbs in an empty warm jar.
Pour boiling water into jar, stir herbs to cover.
Cover jar and leave overnight in your refrigerator once cooled.In the morning, pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Rinse out jar and pour infusion back in. Discard or compost herbal material.

Drink half to full quart over the day beginning in the second trimester. Drink the entire quart daily beginning in the second trimester.

When Are Herbs Not Safe?

In general, herbs in capsule or tincture form should be discussed with your doctor before using. These concentrated forms can be too potent for pregnancy.

The herbs mentioned above are all considered food based. That means they are consumed as a food, rather than as a medication or supplement. Food based herbs, which also include oregano, parsley, thyme and other culinary herbs, are generally regarded as safe in pregnancy.

Utilizing herbs during pregnancy can help you create amazing health. But remember, always check with a doctor with herbal medicine training to ensure what you are taking is safe.

Having received several years of botanical and herbal medicine training as part of my medical school education has allowed me to develop an extensive knowledge in the clinical application of herbs for women.

I share much of this knowledge, along with delicious recipes, self care techniques and practical tools to help moms thrive in my book, Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth.

Want to learn more?

Grab a copy of my new book, Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth— The New Mom's Guide to Navigating the Fourth Trimester, for additional herbal preparations and other natural techniques to support your health.

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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten is a Functional Medicine Naturopathic Medical Doctor and the founder of Rubus Health, a women’s medicine clinic that specializes in women's hormones. She is recognized as a leading expert in Post-Birth Control Syndrome and the long-term side effects associated with hormonal contraceptives. Dr. Brighten is the best selling author, speaker and regular contributor to several online publications including MindBodyGreen. She is a medical advisor for one of the first data-driven apps to offer women personalized birth control recommendations.