“Nina, you need to drink more water.” Aside from being reminded to eat plenty of protein, this was one piece of advice I heard often from my midwife. She kindly reminded me that in addition to adequate nutrition, staying hydrated is an important part of a healthy pregnancy.
By preparing what she called pregnancy tea, (after reaching my second trimester) a blend of nutrient-rich herbs, I could address my body’s need for hydration because unlike caffeinated tea, herbal teas count towards your water intake.
Alfalfa is a slightly bitter herb often used for detoxifying in children and pregnant women. It does this by cleaning out the liver. Alfalfa also helps to change the body from acid to alkaline, promoting healing and increasing the ability to cleanse.
Alfalfa is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, sodium, potassium, silicon, and trace elements. It is also a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and increases available vitamin K and hemoglobin in the body, helping to prevent hemorrhage
Cautions: I’ve read conflicting advice on using alfalfa in pregnancy. Some sources say that it is possibly unsafe if taken in large amounts. Most sources I’ve read encourage its use, especially toward the end of pregnancy. I still suggest its use in pregnancy tea, however, I recommend using a small amount for most of your pregnancy, with more being added in the last few weeks to increase available vitamin K.
Nettle is well known as a uterine tonic rich in vitamins A, C, D, and K, as well as calcium, potassium, phosphorous, iron and sulfur. The calcium content makes it an excellent herb to take for easing leg cramps and muscle spasms. Nettle’s calcium content also affects the uterus, helping to diminish pain during and after birth.
Cautions: Large doses may cause “digestive uneasiness.”
Red Raspberry Leaf
Red raspberry leaf is an oft-recommended pregnancy herb. Not only is it safe to consume daily after you reach the second trimester, but you can continue drinking it to promote uterine well-being when you’re not pregnant. One of its main actions is that of a uterine toner.
Red raspberry leaf contains an alkaloid, called fragrine, that tones the muscles in the pelvic region, including the uterus. The uterus is a hollow organ with lots of muscles that stretch and contract.
Keeping it well toned makes it easier for it to do its job – with less pain, too. Red raspberry leaf has concentrated amounts of vitamin C and also contains vitamin E. Raspberry leaf also contains easily assimilated iron and calcium.
Cautions: Because it does stimulate the uterus, some suggest avoiding it during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, because it works to tone the uterus gently, it’s used to prevent miscarriage. Ask a knowledgeable herbalist for more guidance.
Pregnancy Tea Recipe
This great tea contains vitamins and minerals essential to a healthy pregnancy. The recipe makes a large amount that should last a couple weeks. Drink hot or cold all throughout pregnancy.
- 2 cups red raspberry leaf
- 3/4 cup peppermint
- 1/2 cup nettle leaf
- 2 Tbsp alfalfa leaf (increase to 1/4 cup in the last few weeks of pregnancy)
Mix all ingredients together. To brew, steep 1 Tbsp of the mixture in 1 cup hot water. You may want to add a little honey until you’re used to the taste. Store in a cool, dry place.
*Check with your healthcare provider before adding any herbs to your daily routine. They may offer substitutions or additions based on your specific needs.
Have you used a pregnancy tea before? Did you find that it helped?
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