mother's little helpers
The gentle, gradual effects of natural remedies can be perfect during pregnancy. HereÂs whatÂs safe and whatÂs not.
Safety issues Chiropractic is best for musculoskeletal issues; use other therapies for ailments such as nausea, etc. Your chiropractor should use a table that adjusts to your pregnant body and techniques that avoid abdominal pressure. Call ahead to make sure these options are available.
How to find a practitioner Choose a licensed doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) with extensive experience treating pregnant women. The American Chiropractic Association, 800-986-4636, www.acatoday.com.
What it is Use of fresh or dried plant materials.
What it’s good for For nausea: ginger, peppermint. For colds and flu: echinacea. For calming: chamomile.
Safety issues Research on other herbs is lacking. Particularly avoid goldenseal and blue or black cohosh, which affect the uterus.
How to find a practitioner Choose a professional herbalist with an A.H.G. credential from the American Herbalists Guild, or another health practitioner knowledgeable about herbal medicine, such as a naturopath. The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, 866-538-2267, www.naturopathic.org. The American Herbalists Guild, 770-751-6021, www.americanherbalistsguild.com.
What it is A natural system of medicine based on the “law of similars”: a substance that in large amounts could cause symptoms can heal you when given in minute homeopathic doses.
What it’s good for For nausea: sepia, pulsatilla. For hemorrhoids: hamamelis. For varicose veins: sepia.
Safety issues Homeopathic remedies are given in such diluted concentrations that side effects are rare, though occasionally symptoms may surface during treatment.
How to find a practitioner There’s no licensing for homeopaths, so look for a medical doctor (M.D.), naturopathic physician (N.D.) or osteopath (D.O.) who has studied homeopathy. The National Center for Homeopathy, 877-624-0613, www.homeopathic.org.
What it is Similar to a typical Swedish-style massage.
What it’s good for Back and leg pain and labor preparation. Massage also reduces stress, which lowers cortisol levels; this may reduce the risk of prematurity.
Safety issues It should be done when you’re lying on your side. Massaging the ankles can stimulate premature contractions.
How to find a practitioner Choose a therapist with national certification and advanced training in prenatal massage. Licensing is done on a state-by-state basis, though not all states offer licensing. The American Massage Therapy Association, 877-905-2700, www.amtamassage.org.