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Natural First Aid Options for Pregnant Women

Sunburn's no fun...but there are some natural ways to help

Now that it’s warm outside, it’s likely that some small things may happen: sunburns, scrapes, cuts, insect stings, etc.  These are no fun!  When you’re pregnant, it’s important to be careful what you take or put on your skin, too.  Luckily, there are plenty of safe, natural remedies for these minor, acute conditions.

Please note: if you have any serious condition, seek immediate medical attention.  These remedies are intended for minor, acute conditions only!

Sunburn

Unfortunately, sunburn is pretty common in the summer months — ouch!  If you are very red or have blisters, talk to a doctor about what to do.  If your burn is minor, however, the following remedies may help:

Aloe vera: If possible, find pure aloe vera, or even use a fresh leaf of it.  Smear it onto your burns as needed to relieve pain.

Cool bath: Sunburn is hot, and a cool bath may reduce pain temporarily.

Loose, light clothing: There’s nothing worse than restrictive or itchy clothing on a burn.  Choose a light dress and, if you have to, skip the bra and panties (just stay in the house for a day or so!).

Coconut oil: This can help to nourish your skin as well as soothe and heal the burn.  Bonus, it’s totally edible too!  (Some swear it works as a sunscreen, but don’t take my word for that.)

Cuts and Scrapes

As usual, if the cut is deep or bleeding heavily, seek medical attention.  For minor cuts and scrapes, however, try this:

Wash the cut: Use a mild soap (like castile soap) to carefully wash the cut, then put a bandage on it.

Hydrogen peroxide: This stings, but it can help wash the cut of bacteria.

Tea tree oil: Always dilute this in a carrier oil.  Tea tree oil is a natural anti-bacterial that can help clean a cut and avoid bacteria.  It is safe in pregnancy when applied topically.

Honey: If necessary, cover the cut with honey (preferably raw) and then apply a bandage.  Honey is used in many areas around the world, because it helps kill bacteria and dry out a cut, promoting healing.  It is also edible, of course!

Bee Stings

If you are allergic, get immediate medical help.  If you are not, however, you may try the following remedies:

Credit Card: To remove the bee stinger, if needed, without squeezing any additional poison into your system.  Tweezers are not recommended because of the poison left behind.

Apis: A homeopathic remedy which can counteract the poison from the bee.  Be aware: there is some controversy on whether or not this is safe in pregnancy, and it is best to skip it if you can.  If you are experiencing pain and swelling from the bee sting, consult a trained homeopath or naturopath to see if this remedy is appropriate.  If you are not comfortable with this, please call your doctor to ask if Benadryl or another antihistamine is a better option for you.  Do not take any remedy without consulting a doctor.

Nettle tea: This is an herbal tea which is safe and even beneficial in pregnancy, and it can also reduce the symptoms of allergic reactions (including seasonal allergies).

Baking soda: Make a paste with water and spread it on the stinged area.  This may help reduce swelling.

Citronella essential oil: This can be used safely in a diffuser or in a candle (there are products on the market) to keep insects at bay to prevent bites/stings.  Diluted citronella may be used on the skin, but if at all possible, use it in a diffuser or candle instead.

Dehydration/Sunstroke

If severe, get immediate medical attention.  If, however, you simply “don’t feel right,” try these things first (but don’t hesitate to seek medical help if these are not working quickly):

Rehydration drink: If you have been sweating a lot, your electrolyte balance may be off.  Rather than drinking pure water (which further disrupts this balance), choose a rehydration drink.  A homemade version is simple.  Mix 1 quart water, 1/4 tsp. sea salt, 2 – 3 tbsp. honey, and the juice of 1/2 a lemon.  Other juices may be substituted if desired.  Drink this chilled until you feel better.

Get to a cool location: If you are outside, go into an air-conditioned building immediately.  At least get into the shade and try to get where you can feel a breeze.

Cool compresses: Cool wash cloths can help you to cool off, too.

Rest: Don’t overdo it.  Don’t stay in the sun too long or move around too much.  Sit down when you need to, and make sure to stay hydrated!

Unsafe Remedies

Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s safe.  The following remedies, while safe under many conditions, are not safe to use in pregnancy:

Comfrey, may stimulate the uterus.  (It is good for postpartum use!)

Calendula, another popular herbal salve, is also not safe (as it can affect menstruation).

Goldenseal, as it may stimulate the uterus.

Most homeopathic remedies: seek the opinion of a trained homeopath before choosing to take any remedies while pregnant.  If they are prescribed to you they can be safe, but do not self-medicate.

Many essential oils: only a few are safe in pregnancy (like tea tree, noted above).  Many can stimulate the uterus.  Many more cause photosensitivity, or increased sensitivity to the sun (not something you want!).  Always use these diluted in an appropriate carrier oil, such as olive or coconut oil.

What are your favorite natural remedies?

Top image by blmurch

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