I have turned to a naturopath for the first time in my life. In an effort to make my birthing experience as natural and synthetic-drug-free as possible, I wanted to naturally reduce my on-again off-again high blood pressure that was putting me at risk of needing a medical induction, and I wanted to naturally induce labour before blood pressure became a problem again.
My naturopath is the same person who led the hypnobirthing classes I took. She specializes in pregnancy, and is also a doula. I saw her today for acupuncture, and she also gave me more recommendations to add to my list of natural induction techniques. She treated for both induction and hypertension today. The induction needle points felt like a light prick and a momentary throbbing. But as soon as the first needle went into a blood pressure point (I think it was the one between my toes), my blood pressure dropped dramatically and I almost fainted. When she saw me go white and sweaty, she took my blood pressure reading at 105/60. My (pregnant) normal is 160/85. This was a huge drop for me, and she took the needles out and tried acupressure instead until my body acclimated. Eventually I was able to handle the needles again and the session felt like a success. I immediately went from skeptical to a believer in the power of acupuncture.
For blood pressure regulation
The naturopath recommended:
- eat one clove of garlic per day, in food
- take 500 mg of magnesium (twice what I am already taking for restless legs) along with 1000 mg of calcium daily
- walk for 30 minutes per day
- drink nettle tea
- take a warm bath daily, with 1/4 cup epsom salt and 5-10 drops of lavender essential oil
I also researched on my own and have added beet juice to my routine. New research has shown that drinking a glass of pure beet juice a day significantly lowers blood pressure at the same rate as prescription medication (albeit among mostly male samples, because medical research is androcentric). Beet juice is disgusting though. This one is much less enjoyable than the prescription for nightly relaxing baths…
For labour induction
The naturopath first assessed whether or not my body appeared ready for labour. Based on the pre labour symptoms I had experienced, the fact that I am currently 38 weeks and 3 days (in the safe zone), and the fact that I am facing a possible medical induction any day now, she went ahead and treated me like she would someone who was past due. Here is what she recommended:
- an herbal tincture with black and blue cohosh and ginger. I am to drink it 3 times a day and try to make it coincide with nipple stimulation.
- nipple stimulation – since my pumping experience so far has elicited some mild cramps, she suggested I keep at it, but for a longer duration. I am to use the pump for 10 minutes each side, then rest for 10 minutes, and repeat this pattern twice more.
- squatting for 1 minute 10 times per day
- Evening Primrose Oil – 1000 mg orally 3 times per day, and vaginally once per day
- continue hypnobirthing scripts with focus on opening and softening visualizations
Other things I have been doing:
- Walking. I became a mall walker (and a Walmart walker, and an any-box-store-with-air-conditioning walker).
- Climbing the stairs sideways. The pelvic tilting is supposed to help get baby’s head to stimulate the cervix.
- Bouncing on the yoga ball. Same logic as above.
- Daily orgasms. Can’t complain about this one.