Treating Illness Naturally

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There’s never a good time to catch a cold, and being sick during your pregnancy can be especially difficult.  From seasonal allergies, stuffy noses, and general fatigue, the last thing that a pregnant body needs is more physical and mental stress.  However, while many of us have heavily relied on prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals to alleviate our symptoms in the past, these drugs are often best avoided during pregnancy (and beyond!).  And so we’re left with the question of how to help ourselves.

Help yourself? That’s the very answer to the question!  Getting “that bug that has been going around” might just be the opportunity to realize that we can best help ourselves through prevention and natural health.

In the words of Desiderious Erasmus, “prevention is better than the cure.”  By feeding our bodies (and our growing babies!) healthy and nourishing foods, getting enough rest, keeping stress to a minimum, stretching and/or exercising on a daily basis, and staying hydrated, we can dramatically decrease our body’s chance of contracting an illness. I’m reminded of a nursery rhyme by Wayne Fields:

 The best six doctors anywhere

And no one can deny it

Are sunshine, water, rest, and air

Exercise and diet.

These six will gladly you attend

If only you are willing

Your mind they’ll ease

Your will they’ll mend

And charge you not a shilling.

But because prevention is often difficult with our personal, professional, and social lives, it is also important to look at how we can best help ourselves when our bodies tell us to slow down. Rather than running to the pharmacy at the first hint of a cold, consider the many home remedies that are safe and effective during pregnancy. For example:

  • To treat a common cold, try using a gentle saline nasal rinse, eating nourishing and homemade broth or soup, and making sure you get enough fluids and rest can help speed your recovery for simple colds.  These remedies are free of the potential side effects of steroids, antibiotics, and decongestants.

  • For headaches, try using warm and cool compresses with a drop or two of calming lavender or cooling peppermint essential oils as an alternative to Tylenol or Advil.

  • For stress, discomfort, and muscle strain, consider getting a massage, doing yoga, or stretching for relief.

There are natural remedies for a multitude of ailments – understanding them and applying them is up to you. Need a good starting point? Email us at, or consider discussing your lifestyle or ailments with a Midwife, Herbalist, or Naturopath. There is also a wealth of books about natural health during pregnancy, many of which are available to borrow free of charge from MPR’s library.

Remember: your body is your responsibility! Treat it well and it will be well.