Pregnancy is a beautiful thing – there’s absolutely no doubt about it. But let’s face it - not all women have an easy breezy pregnancy. There’s the nausea that is deceivingly named as ‘morning sickness’ (yes, you can get it in the evening, night and all day too!), heartburn, acne, spotting… the list goes on.
In fact, according to the Health Promotion Board of Singapore, about 3 in 4 women experience nausea and other unpleasant symptoms in early pregnancy.
So what can a pregnant woman do to help with these not-so-nice pregnancy symptoms?
Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM) – a helping hand during pregnancy
Living in Singapore, most of us are familiar with the role of Chinese medicine in treating various illnesses and ailments. But did you know that Chinese medicine can also offer relief for various pregnancy symptoms?
TCM during pregnancy can also be used successfully to treat or prevent certain ailments. However, only certain herbs can be used, as others may be toxic for the pregnancy.
Here are 5 TCM herbs that can help ease unpleasant pregnancy symptoms.
1. Wen Dan Tang for nausea
This Chinese remedy is a combination of Poria and Bamboo that can alleviate severe nausea during pregnancy. It is also good for reducing excessive heat, which is undesirable while pregnant. Wen Dan Tang regulates the function of the stomach and gallbladder. It can also treat other issues like insomnia, dizziness or anxiety. However, the remedy is not suited for ‘cold type’ women who can use ginger tea instead to help with their nausea.
2. Xu Duan for bleeding
The Xu Duan remedy is also known as Japanese Teasel Root, and it is used for pregnancy bleeding. It is a pungent herb that can prevent uterine bleeding, and therefore a miscarriage. It can be eaten raw or fried, but the fried version is recommended for prevention of miscarriage. Women who have had recurrent miscarriages can take this remedy before getting pregnant again. Xu Duan also repairs bone tissue, and is a good remedy for back problems and arthritis.
3. Fu Ling for edema
Fu Ling or Poria is an excellent Yin tonic that can be used to alleviate edema during pregnancy. Edema or swelling due to water retention is very common during the last trimester. Poria regulates bodily fluids, and strengthens the kidneys, spleen and bladder, thus preventing water retention. This tonic is also good for heart problems and anxiety.
4. Zi Su Ye for vomiting and nausea
Zi Su Ye or Perilla leaf can be used for vomiting, nausea or restless foetus during pregnancy. This remedy clears Qi stagnation by influencing the lung and spleen meridians. It is also a useful remedy in case of seafood intoxication. It can be used as a single remedy or combined with other herbs on the advice of a TCM practitioner.
5. Bird's nest for bloating and constipation
Bird's nest contains a lot of nutrients that are beneficial for pregnant mums. It contains a lot of amino acids, as well as a good amount of calcium. This delicacy is recommended during pregnancy. It is a very nutritious and known as a skin rejuvenation food. It also helps improve digestion, which may offer some relief from morning sickness, bloating and constipation.
When using Chinese herbs during pregnancy it is always best to consult with a certified practitioner as he/she will know which herbs and herbal combinations cannot be used during pregnancy. A TCM practitioner can also recommend the best remedy based on your constitution.
Also, if you are taking any kind of Chinese herbs and need to take Western medicine at the same time (or vice versa), do tell your doctor, as sometimes, herbs and drugs can interact in a way that may make you very ill.