Most mothers experience some degree of difficulty sleeping during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester when progesterone levels rise, and again in the third trimester when the belly is more pronounced. The physical and emotional demands of pregnancy can leave a mother feeling extremely fatigued. Between frequent trips to the bathroom, indigestion, nausea, anxiety, and back pain, how is a mother supposed to rest?
Herbs have been used safely during pregnancy for thousands of year. But similar to many prescription medications, there are many herbs that should be avoided during pregnancy. Because of this, we recommend that you always work with a natural health or birth practitioner that is familiar with herbs and pregnancy. The following herbs are generally considered safe and nutritious (just like food!).
Milky Oats (Avena sativa) – A. sativa is a grass the heads of which (florets) mature into what we commonly think of as the oats in our oatmeal. In its immature stage, however, the floret releases a white, milky, deeply nourishing substance properly named milky oats. The herbalist Rosemary Gladstar recommends milky oats as part of a prenatal diet, as they’re rich in vitamins A, C, E, B-vitamins, calcium, zinc, iron, and magnesium. They’re wonderful for supporting restful sleep during pregnancy because they act as a gentle, nourishing tonic for the nervous system. Milky oats are said to ease fear and soothe anxiety, two emotions pregnant women are no strangers to!
Linden leaf & flower (Tilia europea, Tilia cordata) – Known for its calming properties, linden benefits an expectant, tired mother in more ways than one! It’s gentle, yet effective for supporting the heart and is thought of as an emotional uplifter. As a mucilage, linden helps relax tight tissues in the chest and throat and can be soothing for a cough, especially when accompanied with restless energy. It supports a healthy inflammatory response in the gut and is especially calming when digestive upset is of emotional origin. It makes a wonderfully aromatic honey and tea and can be enjoyed by the entire family.
Scullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora ) – Scullcap promotes emotional well-being and is relaxing to the mind. It’s a comforting herb that supports healthy sleep naturally when an overactive mind is keeping you awake.
Hawthorn berry (Crataegus spp.) – While hawthorn is mostly known for its cardiovascular benefits, it’s also calms the nerves, thereby supporting restful sleep. Energetically, hawthorn helps prepare the heart for motherhood. As a member of the rose family, a flower often associated with love, hawthorn opens the heart to giving and receiving love. What an appropriate herb for a new mother!
Justis, Angela. “A Family Herb: Gentle Linden Flower and Leaf.” Herbal Academy, 18 Jan. 2018, www.theherbalacademy.com/a-family-herb-linden-flower/.
Mercola, Joseph. “3 Key Health Benefits of American and Chinese Skullcap.” Mercola.com, Mercola.com, 2 Feb. 2019, articles.mercola.com/herbs-spices/skullcap.aspx.
“Pregnancy and Sleep.” National Sleep Foundation, www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/pregnancy-and-sleep.
Romm, Aviva. “Herbal Medicines in Pregnancy: What’s Safe & What’s Not.” Aviva Romm MD, 27 Mar. 2018, avivaromm.com/herbal-medicines-in-pregnancy-safety/.
Singh, R, et al. “Avena Sativa (Oat), a Potential Neutraceutical and Therapeutic Agent: an Overview.” Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23072529.
US Department of Health and Human Services, et al. “Pregnant Women: Scientific and Ethical Considerations for Inclusion in Clinical Trials.” Www.fda.gov, Apr. 2018, www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/Guidances/UCM603873.pdf.
Writer Danielle Cicak is the Northern Colorado and Wyoming Sales Representative and Regional Educator for WishGarden Herbs located in Louisville, Colorado. In 2003, Danielle began her career working in the supplement aisles at Natural Grocers. Inspired to help others with their health and wellbeing, she pursued an education in holistic nutrition from the Nutrition Therapy Institute in Denver, Colorado. As a Master Nutrition Therapist (MNT), Danielle served as a Nutritional Health Coach (NHC) before advancing to become the NHC Development Specialist where she led and developed the NHC training program for Natural Grocers. As a Colorado native, Danielle is thrilled to work with another local, family-owned business that promotes health and activism through education: WishGarden Herbs! In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, creating healthy dishes in her kitchen, and enjoying the beauty Colorado has to offer!
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or to sell any product.