Herbs for Momma and Baby: Nourishment & Nervous System Support During Pregnancy & Postpartum
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Hey there, mama-to-be or new momma! I know this is such an exciting and transformative time in your life, and I know it can also be a little nerve-wracking. That's why I'm here to offer some helpful tips on how to nourish and support yourself and your little one during pregnancy and postpartum using herbs.
First things first, I want to emphasize the importance of being cautious when it comes to using herbs, pharmaceuticals, or OTC drugs while pregnant. It's always best to weigh the risks and benefits and do your own research. And, please know that not all herbs work the same for every body, and since you’re pregnant or nursing, it’s pretty darn important that you’re working with your health care practitioner when making these decisions.
That being said, there are some amazing herbs that can be incredibly beneficial during this time, especially when it comes to nourishing your body and supporting your nervous system.
So, let’s dig into it, are you ready?
Those Nourishing Herbs For Pregnancy & Postpartum
Nettles Urtica dioica
Let’s start with the big guns, my superfood friend, Nettles. Yes, I’m talking about the same nettles that are so well known for their sting. Bear with me here, cause this superfood herb is one of the most nourishing herbs out there! It’s loaded with all sorts of essential vitamins like Vitamins C & K, & some B Vitamins too. It’s also loaded with minerals, like calcium, chromium, chlorophyll, iron, zinc and more.
If you're dealing with anemia or iron deficiency, nettles can be a great ally with its rich amounts of iron. Seriously a big helper here!
They’re also a diuretic herb which means if you’re dealing with those pregnant momma cankles or other swollen body parts (no not the belly!) they can help reduce some of that water retention and swelling too.
Nettles are just amazing all around, they can also help with immune system support, digestion, and reducing inflammation.
Red Raspberry Leaf Rubus idaeus
This beloved plant is so well known in the world of women's health, as well it should be. It’s fantastic for strengthening and toning the uterus. It’s also amazing for prepping momma and baby for labor, as well as helping you to return to optimal shape postpartum.
But, did you know that red raspberry leaves are incredibly nourishing too!
I mean, super bonus for pregnant and postpartum mommas, right? Winning in the uterine support and the nourishment department. Which, I’d say what else could you possibly need, but I get into that a bit later.
Red raspberry leaves are rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, selenium, and vitamins A, C & E.
Put that in your tea and drink it!
Dandelion Taraxacum officinale
Another herb that I love and plant that is just about to start popping like it's hot in grand abundance all over the world would be dandelion.
The leaves are, you guessed it, super duper nutritious!
They are also loaded with calcium and choline, which is great for that baby's brain development. They’ve also got plenty of iron, fiber magnesium, potassium, protein Beta carotene, and your vitamins A, C, D & K. And, they’re loaded with antioxidants too.
The dandelion leaves are gonna support optimal liver function.
They're loaded with bitters properties which support your liver health and your digestive function too. Bitters help to get the digestive secretions flowing through the body and optimize that whole process, which can be really, really nice in pregnancy as.
They're also diuretic like nettles. So it can be helpful in the event that you are dealing with those swollen ankles and having that dose of misery from that happening in life.
So yeah, dandelion leaves, toss 'em in your salads. You could make tea with them, but they're just delightful in the salad, or sautéed like you would with other greens too.
Supporting Those Stressed Momma Nerves
Let’s face it, making a human, and raising a human is no easy feat. It’s like superhero powers if you ask me. And, it’s oh so important that you support your nervous system, and yourself as a whole during this time. These are some of my favorite herbs to turn to for you momma, ones that will nourish your nerves, your mind, body and soul too. Ready for this?
Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis
Lemon Balm happifies my soul in all of the ways. If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you know this already.
Lemon Balm's Latin name is Melissa officianlis, and while I’ve been called Mel for the past 30+ years, I’m a Melissa through and through. Sweet Melissa for any of you Allman Brothers fans out there!
Anyway, Lemon Balm is commonly known as nature's sunshine. It will help to uplift the spirits and just make you feel generally, um, happy. It's often something that I recommend to people that are dealing with seasonal affective disorder, and can be really helpful for mommas that are dealing with a ton of stress.
Extra tip, it’s also great for gassiness, or babies who are dealing with colic. It’s a superhero herb!
And since you know we're talking about pregnant moms, I recommend gentle low doses because you don't need a lot. Just a little bit of lemon balm in a tea, preferably a relatively fresher dried lemon balm. Find some that has been harvested in the last six months, definitely last year. That will have the most aromatic benefits and the greatest benefits for the nervous system.
Milky Oat Tops Avena sativa
One of my absolute favorite herbs in the nervous system support department are milky oat tops.
Milky oat tops are specific for tonifying and supporting the nervous system. It's something that you ideally are able to get in a tinctured form or some other kind of form where it has been preserved at that milky stage or the benefits for the nervous system are not as beneficial.
Milky oat tops come from the same plant that you eat when you eat oatmeal. When you squeeze the fresh seed pod of these oat plants there's this milky substance that will come out of those pods, and that's where some of the most amazing and supportive, gentle, yet strong medicine comes from.
There's a short window of time to harvest them when they’re in their prime for nervous system love, about a week long. This is why it’s so important to get to know and love your local organic farmers or order in bulk from somebody who does that kind of work.
Actually, the oat straw from the same plant in a tea is also incredibly nourishing for mama, and the oatmeal is known to increase oxytocin & promotes milk flow for breastfeeding moms. So we’re winning in a lot of ways with Avena sativa!
Chamomile Matricaria recutita
So another herb that is so important during pregnancy to just calm and soothe the nerves and for postpartum times is chamomile.
I’d say chamomile’s biggest claim to fame is as a sleepy time herb, or one to calm anxiety, with great reason, cause it’s AWESOME. In fact it's one of my daughter's absolute favorites as well.
It’s not only specific for being a nervine herb to calm and soothe the nerves, but it's great for tummy upset. So if somebody is gassy or bloated or you've got that colicky baby, chamomile is gonna be a really fantastic ally. (Check out this blog post more on chamomile and gut health)
Plus, an extra bonus with chamomile is that it's really tasty and delicious. I feel like it tastes kind of like, um, just kind of like apples, like delicious, delicious apples, soft, gentle, loving apples.
Which brings me to the next very important realm of herbs for moms and babies.
Taste Buds Are Important Too!
Have you ever been pregnant and just wanted something tasty, but everything that you're allowed to have just tastes like crap and you don't get to enjoy any of the good things. That's miserable. It's so unfun.
So I think that it is really, really important to make mama teas that are delightful. Something that they can actually enjoy.
We already talked about tasty chamomile, and lemon balm, and here’s a few more herbs I love to add to the mix both for flavor and for health benefits.
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare
Fennel’s sweet taste can be just what a blend needs to give it a subtle burst of flavor.
It happens to be really nice for digestion and gassiness too. It’s rich in irons, and, slippery slimy mucilaginous ways can be really helpful if you’re dealing with a dry throat during this time too.
It’s easy, affordable, and can work wonders. Yes, I hear you people who say you don’t like fennel, try just a little bit in a tea and tell me what you think.
Ginger Zingiber officinale
Ginger is another one that can add a little bit of good flavor in there.
It's also gonna be helpful for mamas that are dealing with nausea. It's amazing for your tummy.
Ginger as a whole is phenomenal for gut health and it's very supportive for the immune system, and I think it tastes delicious. If it's the colder winter months, it's gonna do a lot of good work to warm up a mama if she's super duper cold.
The heat, if you do too much of it, could certainly aggravate a baby if you're breastfeeding and taking a lot of ginger in. So I would use caution there and definitely consider lowering your ginger intake or see what else you could use and replace Ginger.
Ginger also improves overall circulation throughout the body. So pumping blood to those extremities and to the toes and things along those lines. And just a little bit will go a long way to add some flavor to your teas.
Peppermint Mentha piperita
I LOVE to add a bit of peppermint to my blends. It’s so refreshing and delicious.
And, hot diggity dog does it help on a hot summer day when you’re pregnant!
It’s also nice to ease nausea, and tummy upset. It’s really got a lot going for it, beyond just being yummy.
You don’t want to use too much peppermint though, a little bit will go a long way.
If you’re ready to try a great tea blend for yourself while pregnant, I’ve got a great recipe for you.
Nourished Momma Love Tea
- 2 Parts Red Raspberry Leaf
- 1 Part Nettle Leaf
- 1 Part Oatstraw
- ½ Part Lemon Balm
- 1/2 Part Alfalfa
- ¼ Part Rosehips
- ¼ Part Peppermint
- Blend all of your ingredients together, and store in an airtight jar, away from light.
- Take about ¼ cup, or larger of the blend and add it to your favorite tea mug
- Pour hot water over it
- Cover and allow it to steep for 30 minutes to 2 hours
- Strain, or drink out of a bombilla
- Sweeten with honey or maple syrup if needed
- Drink 1-4 cups every day
If you can find 5-20 minutes to drink this tea alone as a ceremony to celebrate you and the amazing work you are doing in building your very own human, please do. This is a gift to you and your beautiful momma soul!
If this was helpful for you, and you’re looking for more support, recipes, and remedies on your motherhood journey, consider joining us inside Apothecary Mommas, my online herbal mentorship just for moms.
And, be sure to share this post, or the podcast episode with your momma friends who need to know!