Posted on Leave a comment

How to Keep Breathing when The World is on Fire

by Dr. Dori Skye Engel, ND 


It’s pretty bleak out there friends.

The world is literally on fire. The atmosphere is heavy and ominous.

We must keep moving forward.

We also need to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Even once the haze eventually lifts, which it definitely will, your body will need support moving forward to eliminate all the particles that have been inhaled.

And also, this will not be the last time. Let’s arm ourselves with tools and information.


We also need to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Potential symptoms of wildfire smoke inhalation:

  • shortness of breath

  • wheezing

  • coughing

  • phlegm buildup

  • asthma attacks

  • chest pain

  • increased heart rate

  • headaches

  • exacerbated allergy symptoms

  • runny nose

  • sore throat

  • skin irritations

  • eye irritations

  • fatigue

  • depression

  • reduced immune function

  • reduced lung function

  • aggravation of any preexisting respiratory and cardiovascular disease

  • all kinds of things we just don’t want, need, have time for, deserve


Also, I’d be remiss not to highlight why this is happening. It’s not a fluke. It’s Climate Change. It’s not a theory. It is our current lived reality and it’s only getting worse. Rising temperatures, decreased precipitation – our ecosystem just can’t handle it. VOTE IN ELECTED OFFICIALS WHO TAKE CLIMATE CHANGE SERIOUSLY and are committed to meaningful change, renewable energy and regenerative farming to stabilize the atrocities we have committed to this planet.

And now, some ideas to implement right away…..


1. Hydrate.

Think of it as flushing and diluting all the nasty particulates out of your lungs and blood stream.

  • Water is always the queen of the fluids, add lemon if you can to really up the free radical scavenging.

  • Electrolytes also have their place – commercially made or straight up bone broth and/or coconut water

  • Herbal teas are another great choice, especially ones that are also cleansing and support your body’s innate detoxification – I’m talking Nettle, Dandelion, Burdock

  • Demulcent herbsSlippery Elm, Marshmallow Root, Mullein – excellent for increasing the integrity of those mucous membranes while moistening and relaxing your lungs and esophagus

  • Don’t forget your plant friends – water them! Plants are what will help save our planet, don’t neglect

2. Rinse.

Target your mucous membranes directly by making them slippery and resistant to adherence. They are your first line of defense and the area that gets the most exposure to smoke.

  • Neti Pot nasal rinses – releases trapped pollutants in your sinuses, moistens your tissues

  • Saline Nasal Spray – flushes those particles out for immediate relief from sneezing and congestion

  • Steam inhalation with Thyme essential oil – easiest is to sprinkle on the floor of your shower. Diffusing works as well. Antimicrobial plant magic.

3. Food as Medicine.

It’s all about harnessing the natural detoxification and antioxidant power of your food

  • Ginger – natural detoxifier, anti-nausea, improves circulation. Use in food, tea or as a supplement

  • Vitamin C – natural antioxidant. Fruit is an excellent source, especially when in season. Supplementation can also be very effective

  • Broccoli & Broccoli Sprouts – this plant has robust evidence to support it’s ability to reduce allergic response to particulate pollutants in the air. Enjoy often.

  • Fermented Foods – key. If you’re local try this incredible resource for all things fermented.

4. Supplement

  • NAC – a precursor to Glutathione – the body’s master antioxidant – crucial for detoxification and respiratory health. Liposomal is a liquid suspension extremely effective for kids as well. This one comes in a tasty strawberry flavour.

  • Vitamin C – aforementioned antioxidant capabilities. Protects vessels from particulate matter exposure. Essential.

  • CoQ10 free radical neutralizer able to rebuild the damage caused by environmental pollutants. Our natural production decreases as we age.

  • Respiractin – an herbal tonic safe for children and adults that relieves coughs, soothes airways and provides clearer breathing.

5. Acupuncture

If your lungs, sinuses or head are aching and you are having trouble bouncing back, get some acupuncture for hands on support in moving stagnation through your body and opening up your channels for smoother flow of air, blood, energy, life force.


6. Castor Oil

Rubbed over liver and lungs – front and back – helps bring circulation to the area, supports your body’s natural detoxification abilities – get those particles out!


7. Greens

  • Chlorella and Spirulina are nutrient dense algae that bind to toxins in the body and evict them effectively. They are so rich in powerful chlorophyll they can cause unpleasant detox symptoms if you take too much at once without regulating to it first. Start low and go slow.

  • Cilantro and Parsley can be helpful food additions as well.

  • A high quality Greens powder makes access particularly easy

You can find many of these supplements on Fullscript. Links above or here


As always, this is not a replacement for individual care or personal medical advice. Please see your own practitioner for personalized advice.

Dr Dori Skye Engel is a Naturopathic Doctor and Birth Doula practicing in the Toronto area. She is a mama of 3 wild and wacky boys and is an avid traveller. Dr Dori believes strongly in the body’s innate healing ability and works to find the right combination of support to guide her patients in attaining optimum health, vitality, resilience and vibrancy. Through a combination of tools including clinical nutrition, lifestyle counselling, botanical medicine, homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture and hydrotherapy, she creates personalized treatment protocols for each individual.

Dr Dori has a special interest in the Perinatal period of a family’s life; Fertility support, Preconception Care, Pregnancy, Labour & Birth, Postpartum support as well as Babies & Children. Treating the whole person, as well as the whole family, she is honoured to support men & women through further life changes such as menopause, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, heart disease, skin conditions & all the curveballs life throws. She is certified in Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture and is a trained Birth Doula.
Dr Dori is also the co-host of Beyond Beautiful Birth a Podcast about the messy, intense and powerful and all-encompassing beauty of birth and beyond.

Want to get prepared for pregnancy, birth and postpartum? Grab our free Bump to Baby Checklist! This clear and thorough guide walks you through everything to expect from your first trimester to past your 6 week postpartum check up.

  • What tests and screenings will be offered and when
  • When to sign up for prenatal education and what types to consider
  • Things you should think about that your care provider may not mention
  • Links to helpful resources

Want to get prepared for pregnancy, birth and postpartum? Grab our free Bump to Baby Checklist! This clear and thorough guide walks you through everything to expect from your first trimester to past your 6 week postpartum check up.

  • What tests and screenings will be offered and when
  • When to sign up for prenatal education and what types to consider
  • Things you should think about that your care provider may not mention
  • Links to helpful resources
Posted on Leave a comment

Informed Consent

by Dr. Alisa Murli, ND 

Congrats, you’re pregnant!

Pregnancy is such an exciting time as you’re preparing for your newborn to arrive, but it can also be confusing or overwhelming. Whether this is your first pregnancy or subsequent, there is often so much to learn. In this article, we focus on informed consent and will go through all of the choices you may be faced with during pregnancy (and perhaps didn’t know you had?). By the end of this article, you should feel educated and empowered to seek out more information about your pregnancy and labour options.

What is informed consent?

Informed consent is when a healthcare provider presents you with all of the pertinent information necessary to make an informed decision. This means that they educate you about the benefits, risks and alternatives to any intervention or procedure. For informed consent to be valid, the patient must also be in a fully competent state and able to make a voluntary decision about said intervention (1).

Think back to a time you went to a medical provider; do you recall being given all of this information? You have the right to have all of the information clearly explained to you in a manner that you can understand, and you have a right to be given ample opportunity to ask questions and consider your options before making a decision (time may be limited in the event of an emergency).

Although this is something that all healthcare providers are aware of, in reality, informed consent is really lacking. This is particularly true of the interventions and procedures used for pregnancy and birth. This can be for many reasons, and more often than not healthcare providers are acting in your best interest and believe they are offering choice. What the lack of informed consent truly results in is the birthing person having a limited role in decision making of not only
their health but their baby’s as well. What this really means is the birthing person is void of basic human rights and bodily autonomy (2).

Informed consent is when a healthcare provider presents you with all of the pertinent
information necessary to make an informed decision.

Choices during pregnancy

Every choice during your pregnancy is ultimately up to you. Healthcare providers, whether it be your OB, family doctor, midwife, naturopathic doctor or doula, are there to guide you to make the best decisions for your health and safety. It is important to take their recommendations into consideration, however it is equally as important to understand that you have a choice and are provided with the benefits, risks and alternatives to each medical decision.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the choices you may be faced with during pregnancy and labour.

Birthing environment

Choosing your birthing environment is dependent on how you view your labour and birth and your choice of practitioner. If you would like a home birth or to give birth at a birthing centre near you, a midwife would be your best choice (TIP: apply for a midwife as soon as you know you are pregnant). If you’d prefer a hospital birth, you’re often able to choose between your family doctor, an OB or a midwife.

Did you know you have the right to manipulate your birthing environment to suit your comfort? For example, you are able to ask them to lower the lights, use essential oils and music, bring your own blankets/pillows from home.


Physical examinations

Consent for physical exams might look something like this, “I would like to perform a cervical check for you right now in order to assess the progress of your labour. I will be checking for the effacement (how thin your cervix is), the dilation (how wide it has opened) and the position of baby. This will help us to determine the best next steps for moving forward. The risks of a cervical check would include bleeding, discomfort, vaginal infections and premature rupture of membranes. If you do not wish to do a cervical check, we can proceed without one. Here are the alternatives…”


Interventions during labour are used to start, support or assist with the progression of labour. Interventions can be anything from pain management to induction/augmentation methods to episiotomy to assisted birth techniques (ie. vacuum or forceps) and caesarean section. Believe it or not, you have a choice as to whether any of these interventions are used on you. For more information on alternatives to pain medications, visit

Labour positions/pushing

During labour, we often recommend various positions that can help with comfort and progression of labour. Here are some positions that are recommended for the various stages of labour.

People usually believe that the only way to birth is by laying on your back. While this may be the preferred option for some, it’s not necessary. There are several options for pushing positions and you may even use multiple positions. Some positions are better suited for your perineum and may lessen the effort needed to push (thank gravity). These are positions that tilt your pelvis in such a way that the birth canal is perpendicular to the ground rather than parallel.

Keep in mind that getting an epidural will limit the positions available to you, but that is okay! You can still use the peanut ball, sit up, turn from side to side and even try a supported squatting position for pushing.


Eating and drinking throughout labour

Contrary to popular belief, you are allowed to eat and drink through labour, even with an epidural. In fact, eating and staying hydrated through labour is necessary for increasing endurance. Imagine running a marathon without snacks and hydration! Of course it is not recommended to eat heavy meals, as this can increase risk of nausea, vomiting and increase your needs for digestion (and thereby shutting blood flow to your intestines).

The hospital might offer you jello and clear fruit juices for nutrition during labour, but here some great options you can bring yourself:

● Smoothies
● Bone broth
● Fresh fruit juices
● Natural electrolytes in water
● Coconut water
● Fruit
● Cheese
● Nuts
● Dark chocolate
● Protein bar
● Honey

Placenta delivery

Delivery of your placenta is often a passive experience that happens after your baby is born. Your doctor or midwife will be monitoring your placenta delivery and their job is to ensure it is completely removed.

Active vs expectant management of placental delivery:

In active management, the doctor or midwife may give you an extra push of pitocin to promote more contractions to help separate and push the placenta. The doctor or midwife may ask for a little push or may push on your uterus to help expel the placenta (and ask your consent first!). Active management was introduced to reduce the risk of postpartum hemorrhage, as the added contractions help to close off the footprint left by the placenta (3)

In expectant management, the practitioner will wait for the placenta to detach and deliver on its own, without the use of any added drugs.

Newborn management

After you give birth, there are several choices in which you may be faced with.

Cord clamping

The umbilical cord is meant to provide nutrients for baby in utero. Immediately after birth, the umbilical cord actually continues to provide nutrients until it stops pulsing (usually takes a couple of minutes). It used to be routine to clamp and cut the cord immediately. You now have the option of delaying cord clamping, which can be beneficial for the reasons stated above. The World Health Organization recommends delayed cord clamping in all normal birth outcomes (4). Keep in mind that you cannot do delayed cord clamping if you plan to donate or bank the cord.


The World Health Organization recommends 90 minutes of uninterrupted skin-to-skin contact with mom after birth. This maximizes positive breastfeeding outcomes, fosters bonding and increases oxytocin levels in both baby and the pregnant person(5).

Vitamin K administration

Babies are born with very little vitamin K. Vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting and is not available in significant amounts in breastmilk. It is a regular procedure for babies to receive a vitamin K shot after birth to decrease the risk of a spontaneous bleed in the first 6 months of life. You do have options and alternatives for this, such as a preservative-free shot or an oral option.

Erythromycin eye ointment

This antibiotic eye ointment is given to every baby in the event that baby gets conjunctivitis (ie. pink eye). Most commonly pink eye can occur when the birthing person has an untreated infection with a sexually transmitted infection (chlamydia, herpes or gonorrhea), however other bacteria can cause this infection and can be picked up during birth or from exposures in the hospital or home (6).


Bathing of baby

The World Health Organization suggests wiping the newborn clean and delaying the first bath for 24 hours (7). This is because when babies pass through the birth canal, their skin is populated with beneficial bacteria that are needed for optimal health, including immune function, gut health and dermatological health. However, the decision is still yours!

Evidence Based Birth is a great resource for learning more in depth information about these management practices. I encourage you to read through the evidence surrounding thesepractices before making your decision. It is recommended that you review all of these choices and have them made as a part of your
birth plan before labour.

Informed consent and doula care

A lack of informed consent is one of the reasons that pregnant people seek out doula care. As naturopathic doctors and doulas, we truly understand the need for informed consent and see the negative effects of lack of informed consent in everyday life. Uncertainty can cause a lot of anxiety around pregnancy and birth. There is a universal lack of knowledge and education around pregnancy and labour. We are firm believers in evidence-based maternity care, and we strive to educate and empower our patients to remove this uncertainty and fear and make the best decisions for themselves and their babies.

Tips for prompting informed consent from your healthcare provider

Here are some ways you can ask for informed consent or more information from your healthcare providers (including your doulas!). Understandably, some patients are afraid to speak up because they are afraid of affecting the relationship. Don’t worry! There are respectful ways of asking for more information, and most often practitioners are happy to answer your questions.

● Can you please explain the benefits and risks of this intervention?
● Are there any alternatives to this?
● What happens if we do not do this intervention?
● How long do I have until I have to make a decision?
● Are you able to send me resources where I can find more information about this?
● Can you please ask my permission before doing physical exams?
● Are you able to explain the process of this procedure?
● I am feeling a bit nervous about this, can you please help me understand why it is
necessary for me/my baby?

Overall, the main takeaway from this article is that the choice is always yours! Advocate for yourself and never be afraid to ask questions about your body, your health, and your baby.

This article is meant to provide information only, it does not substitute for personalized medical care.

Hi, I’m Alisa! I am a Naturopathic doctor, birth doula and pelvic floor therapist. Pregnant womxn are my favourite population to work with, both as an ND and a doula. Being a doula is exciting and meaningful to me. I love being able to share such a memorable time in your life with you. I pride myself in providing personalized care and supporting you in the ways that you need. Education about the birthing process is key, and providing parents-to-be with informed healthcare is an integral part of what I do. I have experience with various types of births and birthing practitioners (OB, midwives) and am there to advocate for you.
Background and experience: I am a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, who graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. Prior to this, I achieved an Honours Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences (minor in psychology) at McMaster University. I completed my naturopathic internship with a focus in pediatric health, where I gained experience treating infants and children. I have additional training and certifications as a birth doula, in prenatal acupuncture, and in pelvic floor therapy. This allows me to help you with preconception to postpartum and beyond. Pregnancy and birth is beautiful and meaningful and it brings me joy to be a part of your journey!



4. chrome://external-file/WHO-MCA-17.07-eng.pdf

Posted on Leave a comment

Birth without fear

Think about the last movie you saw that featured someone giving birth. I’m guessing there was a woman screaming, a man freaking out, and a doctor yelling “Push, push push!”

Now tell me how many of your friends are terrified by the thought of giving birth? Maybe you’re included in that group!

Popular culture does a really good job propagating the culture of fear around birth.

And that translates into our everyday lives.

You hear negativity about birth all the time. Even friends who haven’t had kids say things like “oh, you’ll be screaming for the meds” or “are you ready for your body to be destroyed”. Seriously, Sarah heard both of those things while she was pregnant.

I remember in my first maternal and newborn care class, so many of my friends whispered to each other during lecture about how scared they were.

I was scared too - how could I block out all that negativity?

But those lectures taught us about physiology. About how pregnancy is not a medical condition, it’s normal.

This drove me to look further, to learn more.

So, I dove head first into the birth world. Reading books, articles, watching videos. This lead me to a doula training. Everything confirmed what I learned in those first lectures.  

Birth doesn’t have to be scary. It doesn’t even have to be painful!

My education and understanding of physiology took away my fear.

It also got me incredibly excited! I NEEDED to learn how to help parents achieve empowering birth experiences.

Get our Top 5 Tips for LOVING Your Birth!

This lead me to HypnoBirthing. This training taught me techniques that help parents remain calm and relaxed. Techniques that work WITH our physiology, to facilitate empowering birth regardless of circumstances.

How we view things matters.

So, that crazy pop culture birth scenario doesn’t have to be my experience. It doesn’t have to be anyone’s experience.

The more I go to births, the more I see how beautiful these moments could be. Labour can be a sacred space. Parents can connect with each other and welcome their babies into warm, nurturing environments.

All of these experiences have completely change my outlook about birth. Now, I look forward to becoming a mother and naturally birthing my baby. There is no more fear.

Posted on Leave a comment

Reasons why you SHOULD have a doula!

What is a doula anyway? 

Doulas are companions who provide non-clinical support and care to a person during their pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period. Doulas work with people in labor, their families, and their health care team to ensure effective communication and understanding of their bodies and the many different elements of the pregnancy and birthing process. Doulas have a collective motivation to ensure that families have a secure, comfortable, positive birth experience.

Why should you consider having a doula?

Your doula’s main priority is YOU.

You may already have a few people in mind to support you on your upcoming labor and birth and the weeks and months leading up to it. Your partner, your family members, your midwife, your doctors, your nurses; they all have a role to play on your big day. However, they may not always be with you to ensure you are comforted throughout your labor and birth. A doula’s job is to provide you with physical, emotional, and informational support. Doulas make sure that expecting parents (1) feel safe and comfortable, (2) they are aware of their choices, (3) and that they are making fully informed decisions when it comes to their birthing experience. 

The same can be said for a full-spectrum doula or a postpartum doula. A full-spectrum doula offers support to people during the full spectrum of pregnancy – from preconception, to birth, to abortion, to miscarriage, to adoption, to postpartum. A postpartum doula can help people feel comfortable and confident in caring for their newborn and make sure they get enough sleep, be nourished, and take enough time for themselves to fully recover. Doulas help parents transition smoothly into parenthood.

Your doula can be a personal resource guide.

You will likely be in touch with your doula well before labor even begins. Doulas can help expectant parents process conflicting pregnancy, labor and birthing, postpartum advice and figure out what is best for them and their family.

Doulas are educators. While it can be easy to simply go online and find answers quickly, doulas are more hands-on and offer non-clinical advice that is thoughtful, non-judgmental, and specific to their clients’ pregnancy experience.

You deserve to feel confident and have constant support

Having doulas in birth and in postpartum is associated with many benefits such as (1) reduction in the incidence of C-sections, operative vaginal deliveries, and likelihood of birth complications involving mothers or children; (2) reduction in the number of low-birth weight babies; (3) reduction in the duration of labor; (4) reduction in the need for pain-relief medications; (5) increase success of breastfeeding; (6) increase parents’ satisfaction of the birth experience; (7) reduction in the incidence of postpartum mood disorders; and (8) increase new parents confidence in the care of their newborn.

While no one can possibly predict how birth unfolds (no matter how much planning and preparation are done), having continuous advocacy provides a whole other level of comfort and confidence in a person’s ability to cope and thrive. Everyone is deserving of a chance to get the support they need.


If you have worked with doulas before, do share with us and help spread the word. If you have questions and/or are curious about how doulas and naturopathic medicine can help you have a positive birthing experience, don’t hesitate to reach out!


Dr. Kim Abog, ND


Posted on Leave a comment

Getting a Handle on Prenatal Health

by Dr. Yasmin Amini, ND

Pregnancy is a time of anticipation, preparation and excitement about many things to come! Nine months worth of questions and answers is what we, at Your Downtown Doula, are here for.

The prenatal period is unique for every family!

As Naturopathic Doctors and doulas, not only do we provide education and information, we also provide therapies and treatments. The prenatal period is unique for every family, and the challenges and milestones are experienced differently. Some common areas of service during the prenatal period include and are not limited to:

  • Proper supplements: doses and brands
  • Nutritional guidance: what to eat and what to avoid
  • Exercise: beneficial positions for mom and baby, healthy movement
  • Symptom management of all things pregnancy
  • Physical therapies with acupuncture, cupping, massage

As pregnancy progresses, you may be confronted with an overwhelming amount of decision making, from labour and delivery, to baby products, physician referrals, and the list goes on! At Your Downtown Doula, we are here to help you sift through the noise of decision making and give you the information you need to feel prepared and confident heading into the next steps of your journey.

We can help you prepare with the following individualized prenatal services offered at Your Downtown Doula:

(Click the links above to get connected with support today!)

Want to get prepared for pregnancy, birth and postpartum? Grab our free Bump to Baby Checklist! This clear and thorough guide walks you through everything to expect from your first trimester to past your 6 week postpartum check up.

  • What tests and screenings will be offered and when
  • When to sign up for prenatal education and what types to consider
  • Things you should think about that your care provider may not mention
  • Links to helpful resources

Dr. Yasmin Amini ND
Dr. Yasmin offers naturopathic and doula care in English, French, Farsi and Spanish. She also has a focus in postpartum care.
Posted on Leave a comment

Top 3 Pregnancy Reads

by Dr. Sarah Winward, ND IBCLC

Given the MILLIONS of books out there on pregnancy and childbirth, it can be hard to decide where to invest your time as you prepare for this new adventure!

Here is a list of my top 3 favourite pregnancy reads that I recommend to my clients.

The list is short & sweet but packed with great information to help you feel prepared!


By: Deepak Chopra M.D.

Available on Amazon for about $21

Why I love it: This book combines the latest in evidence based medicine and the ancient wisdom of Ayurvedic medicine in a way that only Deepak Chopra can. Providing a holistic and spiritual approach to pregnancy and childbirth, including simple exercises you can do in your home to help you feel more connected and aware during all stages of your pregnancy and 4th trimester.


By: Ina May Gaskin

Available on Amazon for about $20

Why I love it: Ina May Gaskin is single-handedly responsible for reviving the midwifery movement in North America, with more than 30 years of experience she is a veritable guru. This book starts with a fantastic collection of birth stories written by women from every walk of life that really help to normalize the whole process of birth and inspire incredible confidence in what a woman’s body can do. The second half of the book is full of information from Ina May on everything from inducing labour to pain management to orgasmic birth, all with an emphasis on restoring woman’s faith in their ability to navigate natural childbirth


By: Aviva Romm M.D.

Available on Amazon for about $20

Why I love it: As an MD with many years of experience in alternative medicine, Aviva Romm is staple in the field of holistic women’s health. This book provides a knowledgeable introduction to the world of natural remedies during pregnancy.



By: Penny Simkin

Available on Amazon for about $25

Why I love it: I consider this book to be an essential read for anyone who is attending your birth. It covers every topic from how to prepare for labour right up to newborn care, in a wonderfully inclusive way. It provides invaluable information on every possible birth path including medical interventions so that you and your partner are in the know before you need to make decisions. The also has pages marked for quick reference, so it’s great to have on hand during that birth itself.

Posted on Leave a comment

Herbal Medicines during Pregnancy

by Dr. Sarah Winward, ND IBCLC

There is a lot of wisdom in traditional herbal medicine, but with health food store selling more products than most people know what to do with, it’s hard to know what to take. This is why, if you are using herbal products, it’s important to have a practitioner, like a Naturopathic Doctor, who is knowledgeable and who is familiar with what is safe during pregnancy. Here, we’ve provided you with some good information and a place to start!

(This doesn’t replace individualized medical advice!)

Herbs that you may want to keep on hand during your pregnancy

Red Raspberry leaf

Why? Nutritive- nutrient dense, high in vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium and magnesium; uterine tonic- helps prepare the uterus for labour

How? Drink as a tea, 2-3 cups/day

When? Last trimester of pregnancy to help get your body ready for labour

Research: Shortens labour and leads to fewer interventions

Traditional wisdom: Speeds childbirth

Stinging Nettle Leaf

Why? Nutritive tonic, also high in vitamins and minerals, including chlorophyll, vitamin A, C, D and K, and iron; contains protein, helps to bring in mother’s milk, anti-inflammatory

How? Combine with red raspberry leaf to drink as a tea

When? Can be consumed safely throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding

Research: No clinical trials, but experiential and observational evidence show benefit in anemia, preventing postpartum hemorrhage and preeclampsia

Traditional wisdom: Pregnancy tonic, improves kidney function, prevents postpartum hemorrhage, reduces hemorrhoids, increases milk supply


Why? Urinary antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, preventing and treating urinary tract infections by blocking the ability of E. coli to stick to the lining of the bladder

How? As an extract in capsules form or as juice (not cranberry cocktail), 1-2 cups/day for preventing UTI, consider capsules for an active UTI

When? Good to have on hand for the first signs of a UTI/bladder infection, combine with increased fluid intake to help flush the urinary tract. **If symptoms don’t resolve in 1-2 days, or if you develop severe symptoms (fever, low back ache, visible blood in urine) contact your health care provider immediately.

Research: Preventing and treating UTI, safe for use in pregnancy

Traditional wisdom: Preventing and treating UTI


Why? Antiemetic, helps with morning sickness, anti-inflammatory, carminative- soothes pain from gas/bloating

How? Fresh or dried root steeped in hot water, drink as a tea 1-2 cups/day

When? If you are experiencing nausea or vomiting in pregnancy. Caution with doses higher than 2 g/day as this is traditionally considered an emmenagogue (brings on your period).**If you are having very severe or frequent vomiting, contact your health care provider

Research: very strong evidence in favor of use in nausea and vomiting in pregnancy

Traditional wisdom: warming tonic, useful in nausea and vomiting in pregnancy


Why? Promotes relaxation, relaxes the nervous system, relaxes the smooth muscles of the digestive system, soothes pain from gas/bloating, anti-inflammator

How? Drink 1-2 cups as a tea, especially soothing in the evening

When? Can be consumed throughout pregnancy, at any time but especially if you are feeling nervous or anxious**Caution with this herb if you have a ragweed allergy, they belong to the same family of plants

Research: Sedating, sleep inducing, some evidence in treating mild anxiety, decreases gas and soothes digestive spasms

Traditional wisdom: nervousness, muscle spasms, gas and colic

What to Take & what to Avoid

Safe Herbs

  • Garlic (Allium sativum)
  • Senna (Cassia senna)
  • Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
  • Echinacea (Echinacea spp.)
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
  • Ginseng (Korean) (Panax ginseng)
  • Raspberry Leaf (Rubus ideaus)
  • Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)
  • Bilberry Fruit (Vaccinium myrtillus)
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

*Despite these herbs being listed as safe, it is important that you advise your medical practitioners regarding any supplements that you are taking. These herbs can have other adverse effects such as raising blood pressure that may be important in your individual case. This list may change based on ongoing research and safety studies.

Unsafe Herbs

  • Dong quai (Angelica sinesis)
  • Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
  • Arnica (Arnica montana)
  • Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
  • Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)
  • Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
  • Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus)
  • Guggul (Commiphora mukul)
  • Goldenseal (Hydrastis Canadensis)
  • Chaparral (Larrea tridentate)
  • Gypsywort (Lycopus europaeus)
  • Bugleweed (Lycopus virginicus)
  • Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium)
  • Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
  • Boldo (Penmus boldus)
  • Poke root (phytolacca Americana or Phytolacca decandra)
  • Jamaica dogwood (Piscidia erythrina)
  • Pasque flower (Pulsatilla spp)
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis)
  • Pau d’arco (Tebebuia avellanedae)
  • Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
  • Thuja (Thuja accidentalis)
  • Tylophora (Tylophora indica or Tylophora asthmatica)
  • Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa)

*Please do not take any of these herbs unless prescribed by a licensed practitioner that will carefully monitor your health and the health of your baby. This list may change based on ongoing research and safety studies.

This article is meant to provide information only, it does not substitute for personalized medical advice.

Are you preparing for your best possible birth? 

Keep up to date on all things pregnancy, birth and baby! Sign up for our monthly newsletter.