5 Reasons to See a Naturopathic Doctor during Pregnancy
By Dr. Vishaala Singh, ND
Pregnancy can be an exciting but also overwhelming time in a woman’s life. There are many changes that occur during pregnancy, and with these changes can come new symptoms and even more questions. With so much information out there to navigate, a naturopathic doctor can become an invaluable member of your healthcare team. Here’s why!
- Care in the first trimester
Most women don’t see there OB’s or midwives until 10-12 weeks of pregnancy. However, symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, headaches, constipation and heartburn can start well before that first visit. A naturopathic doctor can help manage these symptoms with acupuncture, herbal medicine, specific supplements or even simple lifestyle changes.
- Know what natural health products are safe to take while pregnant.
Natural doesn’t necessarily mean safe, and this is particularly important to keep in mind when pregnant. There are certain herbs and supplements that are a no-go during pregnancy, but there are also many that are both safe and useful. Herbs such as ginger, chamomile, echinacea, and cranberry can be used safely in pregnancy to treat various symptoms if taken at the correct dosages and during the appropriate stage of pregnancy.
- To help manage more serious pregnancy complications
Some conditions such as pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes may require conventional treatment, but your ND can also help improve birth outcomes by making appropriate recommendations that are safe to combine with medications. Naturopathic medicine can also be used to reduce the likelihood of a group-B strep diagnosis by supporting a healthy vaginal flora and gut microbiome, making infection transmission to baby less likely and decreasing the need for antibiotics.
- To prepare for labour
Starting around 36 weeks, your naturopathic doctor will start shifting treatment towards preparing for labour and delivery. Acupuncture is commonly used to prepare the body for labour and has been shown to decrease labour time by 2-4 hours and decrease your risk of an unplanned c-section. Not a fan of needles? Specific herbs and supplements, such as red raspberry leaf and evening primrose oil can also be used to facilitate a smooth labour.
- To optimize post partum care
The postpartum period is full of ups and downs and a little support can go a long way towards easing this transition for both mom and baby. Naturopathic postpartum care is very important in helping prevent and support postpartum blues, postpartum depression/anxiety, milk supply, iron and nutrient levels, stress management and thyroid health.
Many women go into pregnancy having no idea what to expect. Naturopathic doctors can be an excellent resource for both education and support through each stage of pregnancy and beyond.