Monday, July 05, 2010

Inquisition Monday

Brittney asked, "You keep talking about these home-remedies for pregnancy-related problems-- swollen feet, "pregnancy brain", etc.-- and I want to hear all your methods! What do you like and use to help your body, besides medicine."

Well, I talked a little bit about supplements I take here.

When I first got pregnant, Margaret had 2 colds within a month. Then I started taking cod liver oil which has omega-3s and vitamin D. Margaret hasn't had a cold since. I'm guessing that's a result of the extra vitamin D. The omega-3s helped my pregnancy brain. More good oils for the baby's and Margaret's brains mean I get more good oils for mine and it works better.

As for swelling, it's usually associated with pre-eclampsia. In many cases, a high protein diet can help prevent pre-e, though there are cases that are simply not related to protein and can be serious if it doesn't get under control. My feet never swelled last time, so this time I wasn't exactly sure what to do, especially since I had no other signs of pre-eclampsia: my blood pressure was fine and protein wasn't spilling into my urine. I tried to simply hydrate myself more, which can help swelling, but that didn't seem to work either. I then wondered if it was just something that happens when you are pregnant in the summer instead of the winter. But part of me didn't believe that's what I had. As I was stressing myself about this, I remembered that my urine tests were indicating a UTI. That didn't originally bother me because I pretty much always have a UTI and I wasn't in pain or feverish, so I didn't think it was an issue. But as I was mulling over my swelling feet, I felt very distinctly, "Take care of the UTI, then deal with any swelling." I told McKay that prompting and so we decided to do that. UTIs sometimes need antibiotics, but because I want to avoid those as much as possible since I'm breastfeeding and I don't want thrush, I went with a different option. I tried cranberry juice: unsweetened 100% cranberry juice. I drank 2 cups before bed for a few nights. And suddenly, it was gone! As was my swelling! But then I ran out of cranberry juice and my urine was still indicating that the UTI was there. In fact, there was a day when my back right kidney had me lying in bed for a few hours. I was pretty sure that this UTI was in my kidneys or I had a kidney stone. I needed to get a little more serious about it, so I bought some D-Mannose. D-Mannose is what is in cranberry juice that works for UTIs, but I got some capsules so I could have it concentrated. I'm still taking them regularly with cranberry juice. My swelling has diminished overall, though I always get it on Sundays because our church building doesn't have air conditioning and the RS room is on the second floor (darn heat!). I haven't had any pain in my kidneys lately either. I do still get indications of a UTI on my urine tests, so I keep using the D-Mannose and will continue until a few weeks postpartum to make sure I get things under control.

I also take floravital and liquid chlorophyll for energy and for building up my iron to prevent hemorrhage.

As for other remedies I've used that aren't pregnancy-related:
Breastmilk (topically): scrapes, burns, runny noses, goopy eyes, umbilical cord wounds, etc.
Lavender essential oil: burns. Unlike most essential oils, you can use lavender directly on the skin instead of having to dilute it in a base oil like olive oil.
Clove oil: teething. This you MUST dilute otherwise it'll burn instead of numb the gums. A couple of drops to a tablespoon of olive oil. Then you put it on the gums as a numbing agent.
Grapefruit seed extract: I've taken this orally to combat a mastitis infection, though I know people who have used it topically for mastitis and thrush. It's very bitter to the taste.
Echinacea: for shortening the length of colds.
Chamomilla: for teething. It's a homeopathic and I know lots of people don't put a lot of weight in the effectiveness of homeopathics, but it seems to help Margaret. She's less irritable and cranky with it. I've even read that you can take it while in labor to reduce irritability. I might try it if I feel like it.

That's it for now that I can think of. We have an herbal first aid kit that I really should take better advantage of, which reminds me: I just learned about castor oil packs for cramps and healing and I wonder if that would be a good thing postpartum. I'll look into it since we have some castor oil that I don't know what to do with. I also bought a sitz bath mixture for perineal healing this time around.

Of course, I took acetaminophen the other day to deal with a headache that refused to let me sleep. That was the second time I've used it this pregnancy, so I don't use it regularly, but I do use it when needed!

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