Though unwanted, infections are fairly common during pregnancy.
During this period, a depressed activity of T-cells (T-lymphocites) weakens the immune system and makes pregnant women more prone to opportunistic infections.
Infections of the urinary tract, vaginal inflammation and fungi frequently occur due to changes in the flora of the genitourinary tract and hormonal changes.
When the infection occurs, pregnant women often wonder whether they could relieve their condition by using natural treatments instead of antibiotics and other chemical substances.
By all means!
Herbal remedies may help boost treatment, stimulate immunity and inhibit the development of new infections.
Why use herbal remedies
Antibiotics have a number of drawbacks.
They kill bacteria indiscriminately throughout the body and when taken repeatedly they can weaken rather than strengthen the immune system, thereby causing infections to recur.
This is sometimes due to an old causative agent – bacteria, virus or fungus, but it can also be attributed to a weakened immune system, disturbance in the natural balance of the mucous membrane or bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
Due to their strong anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antiseptic properties, herbal remedies are effective in treating inflammatory agents.
They boost the immune system, keep mucous levels balanced and help the body regain strength to fight infections.
Their diuretic properties stimulate the excretion of fluid and, consequently, the bacteria from the body.
"Safe" herbs - allies in the fight against infections
1. Elder or Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) stimulates urine excretion (diuresis), has strong antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and boosts the immune system.
2. Cranberry (Vaccinium Vitis idaea) contains arbutin, an antibiotic and diuretic that is extracted from the cranberry leaves.
It helps against yeast infections, caused by the fungus Candida, common side effects of antibiotics.
It aids in the treatment of bacterial urinary tract infections, especially those caused by Escherichia coli.
It is also effective in treating other urinary infections and inflammation of the renal pelvis.
Cranberry leaves are more effective in treating urinary infections than the leaves of bearberry (Uva arsi), and is especially recommended to patients suffering from an upset stomach.
Pregnant women should not consume bearberry.
3. Nettle (Urtica diotica) stimulates urination, boosts the immune system and treats different types of allergies.
It is also used as an iron tonic, as it contains secretin, a hormone that helps stimulate red blood cell production, and is therefore a good remedy for anemia.
It treats various kidney diseases, urinary tract infections or bladder infections, such as cystitis, haematuria, kidney sand and kidney stones, preventing the formation of kidney stones and melting them.
4. Distaff or horsetail (Equisetum arvense) is indispensable in the treatment of urinary tract infections, lung diseases, skin disorders, lesions, inflammations and other infections.
It contains silicic acid (silica), calcium, magnesium and iron.
It is an excellent natural source of bodily vital minerals that nourish bones, hair, muscle tissue, nails and skin.
It boosts the immune system and is recommended for managing anemia due to high levels of iron.
Despite its beneficial effects, horsetail is not recommended as monotherapy during pregnancy. Pregnant women should combine it with other herbs, in small doses.
5. Common mallow (Malvae sylvestris) is a plant containing mucilage, a thick and gluey substance produced by nearly all herbs and some microorganisms.
It relieves mucous disorders and urinary infections. It contains anthocyanin, a pigment that occurs in all tissues of higher plants, including leaves, stems, roots, flowers and fruits.
It acts as a powerful antioxidant and has strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It also acts as a diuretic.
6. Chamomile (Matricaria Chamomilla) possesses strong anti-inflammatory properties that affect both external and internal inflammatory processes.
Stimulates urine excretion, relieves painful urination, fights bacteria in the urine. It also treats fungal infections, stomach and bowel disorders, cramps and nausea. Chamomile soothes the body, treats insomnia, boosts the immune system and fights colds.
All of the above mentioned plants may be used during pregnancy, but not individually, but in herbal blends.
This will help avoid harmful side effects and produce synergy.
Treating urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are fairly common during pregnancy. Research shows that up to 10 percent of expectant moms will get a urinary tract infection at some point during their pregnancy.
Thw relaxed muscles of the tubes that connect the bladder and kidneys (ureters) and enlarged womb (uterus) slow down the flow of urine.
This enables the bacteria to enter at the opening of the urethra and travel up to the bladder, where they attach and multiply quickly.
The bacteria Escherichia coli causes the majority of UTIs (70-90%). This type of bacteria is commonly found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, normally residing in the large intestine.
Located in the mucous of the urinary tract, Escherichia coli causes inflammation, lower abdominal pain, urinary urgency, burning during urination, mild fever and other discomforts.
Early diagnosis and proper treatment are very important because, if left untreated, the infection may spread and cause miscarriage, premature birth or intrauterine growth restriction.
Herbal tea for relieving urinary tract infections
- cranberry 20 g
- nettle 15 g
- common mallow 15 g
- elder 10 g
- horse tail 10 g
- rosehip 10 g
- hibiscus 10 g
- chamomile 10 g
Add two tablespoons of tea to a litre of cold water. When the water boils, let it simmer for a minute and then remove. Leave it covered for 5-10 minutes, filter and drink in the course of the day.
Herbal tea contents and the amount of liquid may vary depending on the patient's condition, age, diagnosis and symptoms.
This tea does not contain herbs that are contraindicated in pregnancy, such as blueberry fruits, parsley, sage, thyme, barberry, bearberry and other plants that may have harmful effects.
Herbal remedies for fungal infections
Candida albicans is the organism responsible for most fungal infections. The most frequent symptoms include itching, burning, rash, soreness and large or small amounts of vaginal discharge (often whitish grey and thick).
Should the infection occur, both sexual partners should be treated.
Pregnant women should eat a well-balanced diet, avoiding sugar, rolls (containing yeast), mushrooms, peanuts. They are also encouraged to reduce consumption of animal-derived foods, at least for a while.
We recommend two excellent spas for treating Candida. They are safe both for the expectant mom and the baby.
Tea bath therapy
- lady's mantle 10 g
- lavender 10 g
- oak bark 10 g
- common mallow flower 10 g
- European goldenrod (woundwort) 10 g
Add three tablespoons of the tea blend to a litre of water. Heat until it boils and cover the kettle. Leave it like this for half an hour, then filter and pour into a wash-basin. Wash your genital area every night.
Lemon juice and apple cider vinegar bath therapy
Apple cider vinegar helps to restore the pH level of vaginal mucous and prevent yeast infection. Lemon juice has similar effects, as it lowers the body's pH levels.
Squeeze half a lemon, pour the juice into a glass of water and drink it every morning. Doing that, you've already done quite a lot in your fight against fungi.
Prepare a herbal bath to treat your genital area. Pour the apple cider vinegar into water in approximately equal proportions and then use the mixture to wash your genital area.
Both baths - herbal bath and apple cider vinegar bath - may be applied alternatively every other night until the symptoms of infection are gone.
To enhance antimicrobial effects, you may also add a drop of tea-tree essential oil.
To treat chronic and more complex fungal infections, you may add tea and herbal drops.
Choose and stick to authentic and tested recipes
Treating infections during pregnancy by herbal remedies requires certain medical and phytotherapeutic skills, so you should not rely on everyone's expert advice.
Precaution is absolutely necessary and justifiable in this case.
Due to their hormonal activity, strong diuretic and laxative properties, essential oils and stimulation of abdominal circulation, some herbs may cause uterus contractions, bleeding and miscarriage.
Pregnant women should take special precautions during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Herbs not to be used during pregnancy
- aloe vera
- alder buckthorn (Frangula alnus)
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