In the US alone a woman is now nearly five times more likely to opt for a Cesarian-section than women in the 1960's and 70's. According to the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, a mother is nearly 7 times more likely to die from a C-section than a natural birth, a number varafied by several recent studies that have shown maternal death rates in the US to have doubled in the last 25 years.
Many women health experts have responded by encouraging women to go natural, ashewing hospitals and medical pressure in favor of midwives, natural medicines and old fashion child labor. They point to several studies, including one from the Brittish Medical Journal, that compared non-hospital births under the care of certified midwives to hospital births among low-risk mothers. The studies show conclusively that natural births done outside of hospitals required far fewer procedures and proved to be as safe if not safer.
In light of these studies and others, the American Pregnancy Association is now advocating an herbal tea regiment for expecting mothers during pregnancy and is agreeing with several recent studies that tout the role a cup of herbal tea a day after the first tri-mester can play to strengthen the uterus muscles, decrease the length of labor and decrease the number of interventions used such as artificial rupture of membranes (AROM), assisted delivery, and cesarean delivery, as well as provide important vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, vitamin D and C.
Herbal teas have a long history when it comes to natural childbirth. According to herbalist Sarah Richards who founded Homegrown Herb and Tea located in Portland, Maine and online at http://www.homegrownherbandtea.com, there is large body of science that proves our grandmothers and great grandmothers knew what they were doing when they would drink teas prepared by midwives from native plants to assist with pregnancy.
"Red raspberry leaf was a common herb used back than. It is rich in iron and contains an alkaloid called fragrine," Richards said. "Fragrine is known to strengthen and tone the uterus. It also increases milk production, decreases nausea, and eases labor pains."
Richards also sites nettle, which is high in vitamins A, C, K, and the minerals calcium, potassium and iron; ginger, one of the most organically complex plants with over 477 compounds including a host of vitamins, minerals and anti-inflamatories, rose hips, spearmint and oat straw. Richards, who blends teas by hand using only fresh organic ingredients, advises expecting mothers against using name-brand teas or pre- packaged teas. “Getting a medicinal tea is like getting a prescription filled at your pharmacy. You want to know it is safe, doesn't contain any heavy metals or pesticides and is blended to the correct proportions. I tell expecting mothers all the time - know where your tea comes from. Don't trust something just because it is sold in a supermarket or comes in a nice box. Herbs that have been pulverized and ground by machines and then packaged, shipped and warehoused in giant distribution centers before making their way to your grocery store or even your natural foods store just don’t have the same quality or medicinal power of fresh, organic herbs.”
"Going natural and reducing risks," said Dr. Carrie Morris of the Midcoast Birthing Center, "doesn't start the moment you go into labor. It's a process that begins with finding a midwife or doctor you are comfortable with, cutting out caffeine - which studies show leads to lower birth weights and increases the risk of miscarriage - and taking care of yourself and the baby by eating right and drinking what's good for you and the baby."
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Homegrown Herb and Tea is an herbal tea apothecary located in Portland, Maine and online at http://www.homegrowntea.com. We serve wellness tea, Ayurvedic teas and specialty teas.