Fatigue and Mood Changes
Hormonal changes, emotional changes, physical changes, and all the attendant stresses of pregnancy may cause extreme fatigue and emotional swings, especially during the last trimester. One midwife advises: "This is the perfect opportunity to touch your own deep emotional truths . . . to acknowledge and resolve your inner disharmonies, and to recreate your life as you create another life. The emotional changes experienced during pregnancy are not to be avoided, but valued; they are cathartic and valid." Use exercise, relaxation, meditation, diet, and herbs to improve your energy and moods, but don't neglect emotional and spiritual work.
Feeling Energetic and Peaceful
* Regular moderate exercise combined with affirmations and creative visualizations tones the body and the mind. Ten minutes of exercise done regularly does more to prevent fatigue and depression than an occasional arduous workout.
* Deep relaxation is a powerful tool for easing emotional and physical stress. It can be done as a break in the day's demands, just before sleep, or just after waking. See page 62 for a complete relaxation to read or tape.
* Meditation refreshes and centers the mind.
* Affirmations, visualizations, and forms of active or guided meditation, are important emotional and psychic tools, and are easy to use. Check the resource listing at the end of this chapter for self-help guides to learning and using these skills.
* Indulgence (of yourself, not your obsessions) helps prevent fatigue and depression. Give yourself time to read and relax and create and be easy. Take a stern stand with your guilt about keeping the house clean, or making breakfast for everyone, or excelling at your work, or whatever you ride yourself about. There will be plenty to do when the baby is born; don't exhaust yourself now.
Diet and Herbs for Even Emotions
* Your body's need for minerals and proteins soars during pregnancy. Lack of either registers as a craving for sweets.
* Eating sugar may case blood sugar swings, fatigue, and depression. Eliminate white sugar, and restrict honey, fructose, maple syrup, etc. Focus on high protein snacks, such as nuts, yogurt, popcorn with nutritional yeast, sardines, and cheese.
* Raspberry leaf infusion calms; adds up to half as much Peppermint or Spearmint for a lift of spirits and a renewed sense of energy.
* Burdock, Blessed Thistle, and Sarsaparilla are bitter tonics. Occasional use helps keep your emotions on an even keel and makes a nice change from your daily Nettle or Raspberry leaf brew.
* Motherwort tincture calms without causing drowsiness, making it ideal as an ally at work and at home, whenever pressure and stress threaten to overwhelm you. Try five drops in a small glass of water to restore emotional balance. Allow fifteen minutes for the full effect to come on; repeat if necessary, as frequently as every two hours during times of particular upset. Motherwort tincture works best when combined with a short break from the day's routine to stretch, breathe, relax, and return to center.
CAUTION: Limit use of Motherwort if you begin to feel that you can't get through the day without it, as this calming herb may be psychologically habit forming.
* Skullcap tincture provides deep, refreshing sleep. Take up to thirty drops of commercial tincture (from dried plants) or 5-15 drops of fresh plant tincture half an hour before you go to bed. An infusion of the dried plant nourishes and strengthens the nerves. Drink two cups daily for several months if your nerves feel frayed and you are easily upset.
excerpt from Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year: