Pregnancy and Alternative Medicine: What You Should Know

When you are a person who prefers holistic and alternative medicine and health, you may wonder if you can continue your preferences once you find out you are pregnant. After all, most of the conventional wisdom and practices in the United States tend to insist that standard medical care is the only way to go through pregnancy. While it is important to go to an OB/GYN at some point during pregnancy to ensure your health and the health of your child and to rule out medical complications, this does not necessarily mean you need to rid yourself of all alternative medicine practices. Get to know about a few of the alternative medicine options that you may be considering during your pregnancy.

Massage Therapy

Many women experience aches and pains during pregnancy, particularly in their backs. This is the result (most often) of the shifting of the pelvic bones to accommodate the growing fetus and the pressure that your baby will place on different areas of your body. 

Pinched sciatic nerves are quite common among pregnant women as well as general soreness. As such, many pregnant women may be interested in getting massages while pregnant. Luckily massage therapy is safe and effective during pregnancy.

While massages that require an expectant mother to lie on her stomach while pressure is applied to her back are not a good idea for the sake of the baby, seated massages or shoulder and body massages while lying on the back are safe and helpful at relieving pain and tension in the back and the rest of the body. Just be sure if you are not yet showing to inform your massage therapist that you are pregnant before your massage begins. Contact an establishment like Imagine Wholeness to find what kind of pregnancy massages they can offer.

Herbal Remedies

Many people who practice alternative medicine prefer to use herbal remedies for health issues and illnesses whenever possible. While this is all well and good when you are not pregnant, it is important to use caution when using herbs while pregnant. 

Certain herbs that people use regularly may actually cause issues during pregnancy. Red raspberry leaf, for example, is often taken by women for its perceived reproductive benefits, including strengthening the pelvic muscles and uterus. However, in the first trimester especially, the herb could cause miscarriage and complications, as it may stimulate those muscles to contract when they should not. 

Jasmine is a common herb that people consume for medicinal purposes or in food that also causes uterine contractions and may trigger a miscarriage. Others such as peppermint and lavender may worsen heartburn or other cardiac issues that may develop during pregnancy.

So, while some herbs may be totally safe, some should be used with caution or not at all during pregnancy. Consulting with your doctor or midwife on any herbs you use regularly will help ensure that you and your baby stay safe during pregnancy. 

Now that you better understand how some alternative medicine practices can affect your pregnancy, you can better decide whether or not to continue them. Remember that talking to your doctor, midwife, or even a doula will help you to determine what is best for you and whether your regular medicinal practices are safe.