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Helpful herbal remedies for postpartum.

In the postpartum period women can find themselves over exerted and needing more rest and nutrients than expected. Women may also find themselves looking for natural remedies for common postpartum issues: sore perineums, hemorrhoids, and breastfeeding. Afterbirth support for the mother is essential and all mothers need rest, proper nutrition, physical and mental support. These recipes can offer nutritional and practical support.

It is so important for women to get adequate rest and nutrition in the postpartum period. Before the baby is born, organize friends to bring a dish to eat later. One that contains lots of colored vegetables, reds, greens, oranges, is most beneficial. Make sure the woman's partner and friends know what to do to help--cooking, laundry, cleaning, what games and books the other children like. Everybody can contribute something helpful after birth, at least for a few days so the mother can get enough rest and relaxation. With help from friends and family, good nutrition and the use of these herbal remedies, a mother will be better able to avoid overtiredness, bond with her baby and heal her body.

These items can be made before birth so they are ready for the postpartum period. A good time to use them is after breastfeeding, when the baby has drifted off to sleep and most likely the woman will have a few minutes undisturbed. Postpartum women should spend a few minutes on themselves. This is also excellent advice for all parents.

Mama Stress Massage Oil. If after the birth of her child a woman is particularly anxious and worried, the following recipe can help with this type of emotional stress.
 1 ounce carrier oil such as sweet almond,
 apricot kernel, olive
 12 drops Clary Sage
 12 drops Lemon
 6 drops Lavender


Mix the oils well and store in an air-tight, dark glass container. Massage gently into the feet. This blend is great for a foot or leg massage. The feet have the most pores in the body (if you rub a fresh garlic clove on your feet you will be able to taste it in your mouth) so much of the benefits of this combination is absorbed. Foot massage, in and of itself, does a lot to aid stress relief.

Sore Perineums. When a woman has a sore perineum from a tear or episiotomy it can make urinating, sitting and walking uncomfortable. Here are a few recipes that can be used to assist with the soreness.

Afterwipes. Use witch hazel on soft tissue or cloth to wipe the area affected by tears and swelling if traditional wiping is uncomfortable. This can also be used for hemorrhoids. You can buy cotton pads at the drug store, place them in a small plastic food container, cover with witch hazel and you have wonderful healing wipes. Old cotton flannel clothes or sheets work very well for wipes.

For Tears and Episiotomies.

* Apply ice immediately after the repair is finished to decrease swelling.

* Sitz baths with infusion of healing herbs (see recipe below).

* Aloe Vera gel (best if extracted directly from the plant as commercial types can contain irritating preservatives).

* Calendula, Comfrey, St. John's Wort and Plantain have all been used successfully as ointments or in sitz baths.

* Exposure to sunlight speeds healing. Get-plenty of fresh air.

* Decrease activity; tears heal faster with rest.

* Increase internal dosage of Vitamin E to 600mg/day.

Sitz Blend. The sitz bath can be brewed ahead of time, steeped for 24 hours, strained, put in a freezer container and frozen. Maxi pads can also be used as a mode of application by adding a small about of brewed bath to pads and freezing them for the postpartum period.
 In 3 cups simmering water add

 * 2 tablespoons Plantain Leaf
 * 2 tablespoons St. John's Wort
 * 4 tablespoons Calendula


Turn off the heat. Allow it to steep for twenty minutes. Pour into shallow bath. Add 4 drops Lavender and 2 drops Cypress Essential Oil. Mix well to disperse essential oil.

Comfrey Leaf is great for compresses and sitz bath. The woman can also drink it to promote healing. Oak Bark, Rosemary, Witch Hazel and Yarrow are also great for healing sitz baths. If the woman has stitches then she should be reminded to follow her careprovider's sitz bath instructions, regarding frequency and duration.

Hemorrhoids and Varicosities. Witch Hazel can be used as a base for many types of herbal remedies for varicose veins, vaginal area varicosities and anal hemorrhoids. This can be used for compresses, sitz baths for hemorrhoids, varicosities or tears.

Witch Hazel.
 1 cup 80 proof alcohol
 1 cup water
 1 cup witch hazel leaves


Cover the leaves with the alcohol and water. You can add more leaves if you want. After 4 weeks strain and bottle. Add 5-10 drops Cypress oil if desired.

Demetria Clark is the Director of Heart of Herbs Herbal School in Southern VT. She attends births as a doula and midwife's assistant. You can find her at www.heartofherbs.com and www.birtharts.com
COPYRIGHT 2005 Association of Labor Assistants & Childbirth Educators
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2005, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Postpartum
Author:Clark, Demetria
Publication:Special Delivery
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2005
Words:831
Previous Article:Preventing postpartum depression: support, information and empowerment for new mothers.
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