Green Allies for the Childbearing Year

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today, Issue 124, Winter 2017. Subscribe to Midwifery Today Magazine What herbs are safe to use during pregnancy? Some sources suggest avoiding all herbs in the prenatal period. Others claim that substances known to be harmful to fetuses and infants—such as essential oils—are safe and that the warnings about them should be ignored. Confusion is inevitable. Which herbs are safe to use during the prenatal period? When I was writing Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year 30 years ago, this question came up again and again. Everyone wanted a list of herbs to be avoided during pregnancy. As I tried to compile such a list, I found that drugs are far more dangerous than herbs—especially to the fetus. Sure, herbal laxatives like senna are not considered safe for pregnant women, but neither are laxatives from To access this post, you must purchase: Midwifery Today Website Membership – 12 months, Midwifery Today 1-year Subscription and Website Membership, Midwifery Today Website Membership Student Special – 12 months or Midwifery Today Website Membership – 6 months If you are already a member login here. Read More

The Herbal Education of Midwives

Wise use of herbs is especially important during pregnancy and lactation. Using herbs instead of drugs to allay problems protects both mom and fetus from harm. Even more importantly, the abundant nutrition available from select herbs… Read More

Homebirth Herbal First Aid Kit

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today, Issue 122, Summer 2017. Subscribe to Midwifery Today Magazine Giving birth at home is safe, and it can be fun, too. Make it safer, and more fun, with simple herbal remedies to help you deal with both the ordinary and extraordinary events of your birth. What will you need? The first birth I attended was in the woods—literally; there wasn’t even a cabin. All we had was boiling water, clean cloths, sterilized scissors and some thread. Just the basics! Of course, there was a meadow and a forest full of remedies: wild ginger, birth root, dandelion, plantain and many more, but we didn’t need our herbal allies for that one. If I could go back in time and gift that young woman I was 50 years ago with a first aid kit, this is what To access this post, you must purchase: Midwifery Today Website Membership – 12 months, Midwifery Today 1-year Subscription and Website Membership, Midwifery Today Website Membership Student Special – 12 months or Midwifery Today Website Membership – 6 months If you are already a member login here. Read More

Sage Femme

Sage saves the woman with postpartum depression. Like her sisters rosemary and lavender, sage has a powerful effect on brain functioning and brain hormones. Sage tea is a traditional mood lifter, anxiety easer and depression thwarter. A few sips of cold sage tea as the need arises helps keep motherhood in perspective. Read More

Your Mother Will Help

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today, Issue 120, Winter 2016. Subscribe to Midwifery Today Magazine [There’s] no better herb for strengthening and gladdening the heart. —Maude Greives, A Modern Herbal One of my favorite remedies—one of the Great Remedies—is mother­wort. A tincture of fresh flowering motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca), to be precise. (Leon is Greek for “lion,” and ouros is Greek for “tail.”) Although the ancient Greeks thought motherwort was specific for women who were pregnant and anxious, motherwort helps women in all stages of their lives. No herb eases the emotional and physical distresses of puberty, PMS, menses, pregnancy, birth, postpartum and menopause as well as your mother(wort). This scentless mint calms and eliminates menstrual cramps and PMS, easing the maiden’s way into her menstrual life, then calms and eliminates hot flashes and menopausal hysteria, easing the mother’s passage into her To access this post, you must purchase: Midwifery Today Website Membership – 12 months, Midwifery Today 1-year Subscription and Website Membership, Midwifery Today Website Membership Student Special – 12 months or Midwifery Today Website Membership – 6 months If you are already a member login here. Read More

Raspberry Leaf—Wonderful or Wacky?

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today, Issue 119, Autumn 2016. Subscribe to Midwifery Today Magazine I have a confession to make. I don’t much care for raspberry leaf and rarely drink it myself. That may be due to its high tannin content—I generally dislike tannic beverages. (I don’t drink coffee or tea, and red clover is my least favorite of the nourishing herbal infusions.) And because I don’t like it, I don’t recommend raspberry very often. I am in the minority on this one. According to the Journal of Nurse-Midwifery, about two-thirds of American midwives recommended raspberry (Rubus ideaus) to stimulate labor (McFarlin et al. 1999). And virtually all herbals, mine included, recommend raspberry leaf tea or infusion as a pregnancy and pre-pregnancy tonic to the uterus. A 2015 blogpost by Sara Wickham claims that “there are literally thousands of discussions To access this post, you must purchase: Midwifery Today Website Membership – 12 months, Midwifery Today 1-year Subscription and Website Membership, Midwifery Today Website Membership Student Special – 12 months or Midwifery Today Website Membership – 6 months If you are already a member login here. Read More

Hemorrhage!

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today, Issue 105, Spring 2013. Subscribe to Midwifery Today Magazine A bright red ribbon of blood weaves women together. We are blood sisters. We bleed and bleed, and we do not die. Usually. Sometimes the ribbon becomes a river, a river in flood, a gushing, free-for-all river of blood. Our bleeding becomes a hemorrhage. And then, and then, yes then, we can die. We can bleed to death. The uterus, that magical bag which bleeds and heals to bleed again, comes untied and spills our life-blood out. The bloody tide carries us out to sea, all the way out to the ocean of bliss and beyond, beyond, gone beyond. Gone. Miscarriage. Postpartum. Menstruation. Menopause. Fibroids. Endometriosis. One moment we are fine, just fine, and the next we are bleeding to death. The pregnancy ends in a To access this post, you must purchase: Midwifery Today Website Membership – 12 months, Midwifery Today 1-year Subscription and Website Membership, Midwifery Today Website Membership Student Special – 12 months or Midwifery Today Website Membership – 6 months If you are already a member login here. Read More