Herbs for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers

Over the years, I have been asked *many* questions by pregnant and breastfeeding mothers about what herbs to take and what herbs to steer clear of during these phases of womanhood.  There are already plenty of exhaustive lists of herbs *not* to take.  So, I thought I’d compile a list of some of my favorite herbs to suggest for pregnant and breast-feeding moms, as well as highlight certain types of herbs to not take.

I crowd-sourced this information from a group of herbalists (and mothers)!  Enjoy!

Herbs for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers
Compiled by Lindsay Kolasa, Community Herbalist

Herbalist Karen Vaughan suggests that, “During pregnancy, herbs generally should not be used during the first trimester except to prevent miscarriage, minimize morning sickness or to treat a condition in the mother which would endanger her or the fetus.”

Immune support herbs for pregnant women

Astragalus (root) — tincture, decoction, added to bone broths (modulate the immune system)
Elderberry — tincture, syrup, tea (anti-viral)
Echinacea — tincture, capsule (can use to fight an infection)
Plantain — tincture (good for mild infection; tissue healer)

Herbs for stress & insomnia during pregnancy (use in proper dosage)

Linden — tea
Chamomile — tea
Milky oats — tincture
Lemon balm — tea
Rose — tea
Oatstraw and nettles — strong infusion — increase levels of easy to absorb calcium & magnesium, some iron

Herbs for nausea during pregnancy

Ginger (warming) — tea
Peach leaves (cooling) — dried leaves — tea
Mint (small amount) — tea

Nutritive herbs for pregnant women (mainly strong infusions)

Red raspberry (suggested use for the 3rd trimester, only)
Oatstraw
Nettles
Alfalfa
Hawthorn fruit, leaf, and flower
Partridge berry (Mitchella repens) — hard to find unless you harvest yourself — was traditionally simmered as a tea during the 3rd trimester for a healthy birth

Constipation

Yellow dock — syrup
Carob powder — tea

After-birth herbs

Black haw — tincture
Yarrow — tincture
Partridge berry — tincture
Red raspberry leaf — infusion

Post-partum support for mood

Schisandra — tea
Shatavari — powder, stir in warm coconut milk, add a little honey
Milky Oats — tincture
Motherwort — tincture
Patridge Berry — tincture
Calendula (and good immune support) — tincture, tea

Blood/iron building herbs for pregnant women

Yellow dock root (syrup)
Dandelion root
Alfalfa
Butcher’s broom root
Nettles
Molasses
Red beets
Pork or beef liver
Spirulina

Herbs (or properties or herbal actions) contra-indicated for pregnant women

Emmenagogues
Over-stimulating herbs
Spasmodic herbs
Blood movers & thinners
Herbs with strong downward energy
Toxic herbs
Herbs with berberines (also during BFing)
Herbs with high alkaloids (minimal use during BFing)

Herbs contra-indicated for breastfeeding mothers (may dry up milk supply)

Culinary Sage
Black walnut
Peppermint
Parsley (however, some herbalists say it increases breast milk; jury’s out on this one!; apparently, parsley effects prolactin levels; anyone know more?)

Herbal allies for breastfeeding mothers (tea or infusion)

Fennel seed (sweet)
Cinnamon (sweet)
Nettles (earthy)
Fenugreek seed (slightly sweet/bitter)
Hops (bitter)
Shatavari (sweet, earthy)
Marshmallow root (sweet)
Vervain (bitter)
Rosemary (pungent)
Partridge Berry (astringent)

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