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Sweet Peas, Pods & Papas: All About Birth, B@@bs & Babies

More Homebirth Secrets

Here are two more herbal therapies we used in preparation for our homebirth.  As I commented in my first post about the things we did differently as a result of our choice to have a homebirth, I have no idea why these are not more widely used in pregnancy.  The only idea that has occured to me since then is that since these are not pharmaceuticals, there is no money to be made from promoting them.
 
Herbs have been used as “medicine” for countless years.  As such, I must put on my Bradley® instructor hat here and say that these worked for our family; each family must do their own research and decide if any of these herbal therapies are suitable for them.
 
Red Raspberry Leaf
The most common way to use this herb is to make a tea and drink 2-3 cups per day.  I learned about it from our first doula, who recommended I drink a tea made from Red Raspberry Leaf in the third trimester for uterine toning.  I wasn’t sure about using herbs since the FDA regulates none of them.  Since then, I have learned to do research and trust my source if I am going to use herbs, especially during pregnancy when everything we consume passes on to the baby.
 
“Most of the benefits ascribed to regular use of Raspberry tea through pregnancy are traced to the nourishing source of vitamins and minerals found in this plant and to the strengthening power of fragrine - an alkaloid which gives tone to the muscles of the pelvic region, including the uterus itself. Of special note are the rich concentration of vitamin C, the presence of vitamin E and the easily assimilated calcium and iron. Raspberry leaves also contain vitamins A and B complex and many minerals, including phosphorous and potassium.”
 - susunweed.com
 
Red raspberry also turns out to be a source of calcium, and some mothers find that it helps with milk production.
 
Read more about red raspberry leaves here
 

Polly-Jean Five-Week Antenatal Formula
This was another recommendation from our midwives.  Not having used herbal therapies like this in our other pregnancies, Bruss and I decided to trust their expertise and take the herbs.  The following is an excerpt from birthjunkie.com.  I have commented on the benefits below – they are in the purple text and NOT from the website:
 
"Polly Block, a midwife, writes in her book, Polly's Birth Book--Obstetrics for the Home:

"We have found the Polly-Jean Formula--an herbal combination that gravidas begin taking five weeks prior to anticipated date of delivery--to be a boon to the home birth movement. It assists in the following ways:
 
  • Much easier labor and delivery – ours was easier in the sense that the active phase was very short…if you have read our homebirth story, you already know that our early first stage was almost two days long.
  • Longer and easier labors for women who tend to have precipitous births – I wish!
  • Shorter and easier labors for women who tend to have long labors – if this made my labor shorter I am very grateful.
  • Bigger dilation before discomfort arises – yes!  I could feel my cervix popping open with the easier contractions; our active phase of labor (late first stage-transition-pushing) was only about three hours out of the 44 total hours of labor.
  • Minimization of postpartum bleeding when taken in conjunction with the “Good Program” (the “Good Program” is spelled out in Polly’s Birth Book) – I don’t know what the Good Program is since I didn’t read the book; I have not lost a lot of blood in the past, and there was definitely very little blood loss with our homebirth.
  • Shorter periods before lochia stops – we found this to be true; the period of postpartum bleeding was much shorter this time – I was also taking my placenta pills, so that may have factored in as well.

Other formulas on the market have helped many mothers, but over the years midwives have found that these formulas did not assist enough in preventing hemorrhage in women with borderline anemia, the Rh-negative factor, and other conditions. We found that when pennyroyal was included in the formula, bleeding continued to be heavier than it should be. We also found that black cohosh seemed to increase the normally stepped up production of estrogen, adding to the hemorrhage problem. Jeannne Johnson and I eliminated both these herbs when we developed our formula.

The Polly-Jean Five-Week Antenatal Formula tends to create a balance in the stepped-up hormones toward the end of pregnancy.  Over the years women have reported that they have found no better 'female corrective' than the Polly-Jean formula, pregnant or not."
  - Except from www.birthjunkie.com
 
As I researched for this post, I found that the Polly-Jean Five-Week Antenatal Formula contains a blend of herbs that lend the following properties: uterine stimulant, uterine toning, hormone balancing, anti-nausea and anti-vomiting, galactagogue (increase milk supply) and pain relief.
 
Allow me to reiterate that as a Bradley® instructor, and as a consumer and research driven mama, I strongly suggest that you do your own research and decide if either of these herbal therapies are right for you.
 
Our midwives at Freedom and the Seed have an herbalist in their office.  If you have any questions about using herbal therapies for pregnancy, postpartum or for breastfeeding support, you can start by calling Juliana Soderberg at 602.482.5544. You can also visit her website at www.herbaljules.com.

What has been your experience with herbal therapies for pregnancy, postpartum and breastfeeding?
 
Disclaimer: 
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. This blog contains information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method®. The views contained on this blog do not necessarily reflect those of The Bradley Method® or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.
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