Every Wise Woman

Real Food, Real Health, Real Birth

Remedies for Prenatal Anemia and Postpartum Hemorrhage Recovery

Poor preconception health and poor prenatal nutrition can contribute to prenatal anemia.  It is essential to remedy anemia before labor, as prenatal anemia is a leading cause of hemorrhage during and after birth.  Even if you do not have symptoms of anemia (which begin with fatigue) or diagnostic confirmation (low hematocrit and hemoglobin readings in proportion to increased blood volume), it is never a bad idea to feed your pregnant body the nutrients necessary to avoid anemia.

Herbal Anemia Prevention Tea

(from Susun Weed's Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year; you can order dried herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs online)
½ oz nettle leaves
½ oz parsley leaves
½ oz comfrey leaves
½ oz yellow dock root
¼ oz peppermint leaves

Place herb mixture in half gallon jar, fill jar with boiling water, cap tightly and allow to brew for 8 hours minimum.  Drink up to four cups daily for one week a month.

Yellow dock is a rich source of easily digestible iron, and aids in liver detoxification.  The nettle and parsley are also excellent iron sources.  Parsley provides folic acid and comfrey provides vitamin B12.  All the herbs contain vitamin C, aiding with iron absorption.  The mint is a digestive and analgesic, and it just tastes great.

Postpartum Hemorrhage recovery

Hemorrhage prevention is a cornerstone of the midwifery model.  Regular consumption of pregnancy tea tones the uterus and helps build mama and baby’s body; if the tea contains nettle and alfalfa, it can be an essential tool for hemorrhage avoidance, as the vitamin K contained in those plants builds the blood supply by increasing hemoglobin content.  (Spoonfuls of fresh nettle juice have been used by herbalist midwives to slow profuse bleeding.)

If you lose more than a “normal” amount of blood during the birth process or afterward, you need to help your body recover.  A general rule of thumb to consider is that it takes the body one month to replenish one pint of blood (between four and six weeks to renew red blood cells).  Depending upon the severity of your hemorrhage, you may not be back to "normal" for many months.  Conventional approaches usually include iron supplementation, but that can be problematic.

Many iron supplements (inorganic iron sources) can be hard on your system,  causing constipation and nausea, and be poorly absorbed.  It is far better to receive nutritional iron from food sources, such as dark green leafy veggies (like kale), dark red veggies (like beets), sea veggies (like kelp), molasses, and dried fruit (particularly figs).  And remember that a lack of certain dietary nutrients, such as calcium and protein, will reduce your body’s ability to absorb and use iron.  (A good liver tonic can contribute to proper assimilation of iron and other nutrients.)

An herbal iron tonic is crucial for rebuilding your blood supply and supplying your body with the fuel and energy it needs to fully recover from the trauma of the blood loss.

Yellow dock syrup is one of the best and easiest ways to aid postpartum hemorrhage recovery.  Yellow dock root is high in bioavailable iron.  Herbalist/midwife Susun Weed shares that women who use yellow dock after hemorrhage can see an increase in hematocrit up to a point a day.  Additionally, yellow dock can help the body eliminate toxins by stimulating bowel elimination and bile flow in the liver (due to yellow dock's anthraquinone glycosides).   The systemic waste removal properties of yellow dock makes the herb an efficient blood purifier (and an outstanding remedy for jaundice, liver disease and bilious maladies).

Yellow dock syrup

2 oz. yellow dock root
4 Tb honey

Boil and pour a quart of water into a jar containing the yellow dock root.  Steep for 8 hours.  Then strain and heat (just under a simmer) on stove to reduce liquid to one cup.  Add honey, stir to dissolve.  Store in refrigerator and take 2 Tb. daily.

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Another excellent hemorrhage recovery treatment is chlorophyll, which aids in the production of hemoglobin, and contains basic nutrients that speeds cellular production.  Chlorophyll is useful for red blood cell restoration (considered a blood builder).  You can purchase liquid chlorophyll and take up to 3 tsp. daily.  Floradix is an iron-rich German herbal tonic that can also be helpful in replenishing the body after hemorrhage.

Anemia/hemorrhage recovery is accelerated by the continued consumption of pregnancy tea for six months postpartum, at least one cup daily.  Make sure the tea contains nettle leaf and alfalfa, which are highly nutritious and help to build blood stores.  The pregnancy tea helps the uterus to heal completely and more quickly than it will on its own. 

EWWHerbals                                                                              "Every wise woman builds her house..."  Proverbs 14:1

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