Below is my 15 minutes of fame, well that year May 8, 2000.. lol I was so excited! Especially since if it was NOT for the midwife or the herbs I would never have been able to deliver without inducing or a section!
Going natural: Women are turning to herbs to ease pregnancy
BY KIMBERLY VETTER
Herald Staff Writer
Copperas Cove resident Kriss Weekley had a healthy baby boy 10 days ago.
She attributes her smooth delivery to a healthy lifestyle, a good midwife and a concoction of herbs she took while pregnant.
But as a mother of five, Weekley, 32, said all of her children’s births weren’t as easy as the last.
Her first and second child were delivered by Caesarean section, and with her third and fourth, doctors had to induce labor. (this was wrong it was just with the third., The fourth I was induced only because my water had broken and no active labor was happening. It was herbs that allowed me to get to that point !!)
It wasn’t until she met her midwife Susan Crider at Darnall Army Community Hospital that Weekley learned how herbs could ease her pregnancy and improve her labor pains.
“I did a lot of research before I took anything,” Weekley said. “Herbs are not something to fool around with, but if taken correctly they can make a world of difference.”
Capt. Julie C. Lomax, a certified nurse midwife at Darnall, and 1st Lt. Allison McCarson, a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital, are scheduled to address the issues of herbs and pregnancy Friday during a daylong seminar called “Tradition Meets the New Generation,” at the Community Events Center on Fort Hood.
Sponsored by Darnall’s Department of Nursing, the seminar is an update of care in the maternal-child health specialty. In addition to a presentation on herbs and pregnancy, hospital staff are scheduled to give talks on cultural diversity; diabetes and the pediatric patient; Group B sepsis and the newborn; pain management during labor; and new perinatal procedures.
McCarson said this will be the second time she has given a talk on herbs and pregnancy, and hopes it will give women a better understanding of what herbal therapy has to offer.
Herbal therapy is defined as the use of crude plant-based products to treat, prevent or cure a disease.
Although it has been used throughout history to prepare for childbirth, enhance lactation and to aid with other problems that may occur during pregnancy or labor, herbal therapy in pregnant women is not yet backed by scientific data and is a much-debated subject.
“To use herbal medicine requires a departure from the idea that the only valid knowledge comes from scientific research,” McCarson, 26, said. “Tradition of use and knowledge of the plant based on observation and experience are validations used by modern day herbalists.”
Along with going over the most commonly used herbs during pregnancy such as red raspberry leaf and nettles, McCarson will discuss the precautions pregnant women should take when using herbs. She will also confront those highly debated issues such as professional responsibility in herbal use, herbs in research and the trends of using alternative medicine.
“The use of alternative medicine is not a fad that will slowly disappear,” McCarson said. “The trend over the last decade shows a sharp increase in the interest of alternative medicine, a practice that has withstood the test of time.”
According to a recent survey reported by the Journal of the American Medical Association, increased use and expenditures in alternative medicine has increased dramatically between 1990 and 1997. Some reports in the article state this increase is as much as 15 percent a year, a large amount of which was used for health promotion or disease prevention.
That same study reported in JAMA stated that 40 to 75 percent of patients do not tell their clinician they are taking herbs and other supplements.
“Even though herbalism in pregnancy is practiced primarily by midwives, all practitioners have an immediate professional responsibility to educate themselves regarding the principles of herbal therapies,” McCarson said. “Clinicians should include alternative treatment questions in their initial assessment and followup visits.”
Hennie Garza, a civilian clinical pharmacist with Darnall, said she and her co-workers are currently doing this. Along with asking patients what herbal or other natural supplements they take, workers in her office recently created a guide used by the entire hospital staff that shows what herbs counteract with certain pharmaceutical drugs.
“I am not against herbs,” she said. “But I don’t think we know how to use them correctly; there is still a lot of research that needs to be done.”
Crider agrees with the fact that more people are turning to alternative therapies in medicine and has seen an increase of practices such as herbal use in her midwifery, but she strongly urges women to consult someone who is knowledgeable about alternative therapies before using them.
McCarson realizes this lack of research, but she said she feels this is all the more reason for health care providers to be educated on herbal and alternative therapies so they can provide accurate information to their patients.
She said she hopes Friday’s conference can be a tool for health care providers and patients to gain more knowledge on these types of therapies.
The registration deadline for the seminar was April 28, but there are still a few seats left. For more or to register, call Alcira Etienne at 286-7210 or 286-7249. There is a $10 registration fee to cover materials and snacks.
The following is a list of some standard herbal preparations for internal and external use that McCarson will cover in her talk scheduled for Friday:
Infusions are made in the same way as a cup of tea. One to two teaspoons of dried herb — or two to four teaspoons of fresh herb — is added to a cup of boiling water and steeped for 10 minutes before straining. Infusions are made from leaves, stems and flowers.
Decoctions are similar to infusions but are prepared from bark, seeds, nuts and roots.
To create a decoction, beat or chop the herb and then place the substance in a pan of water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain while hot.
Tinctures are alcoholic extractions of herbs. Alcohol dissolves the active constituents out of a plant and acts as a preservative allowing a tincture to retain its effectiveness for up to two years.
To create a tincture, place four ounces of dried herb in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and add two cups of vodka. Leave for two weeks, shaking daily. Strain into a glass bottle with a tight lid, label, and keep in a cool, dark place.
Syrups can be made by mixing 12 ounces of sugar into a pint of either an infusion or a decoction. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves and refrigerate in a sealed glass bottle.
Tablets and capsules can often be bought from herb suppliers or health food shops. Capsules can be made by placing dry, powered herb inside empty gelatin capsules. Before making capsules at home, McCarson suggests consulting with an herbalist to receive information on dosage.
Compresses can be made by soaking a cloth in a hot decoction of herb. Squeeze most of the liquid out and apply the cloth tot he affected area. Once the compress has cooled, repeat the process several times for good results.
Oils come in two types — essential and herbal. Essential oils cannot be prepared at home, but can be bought from herbalists and other venues.
Herbal oils can be made by soaking finely chopped herbs in a pure vegetable oil for about two weeks. Store oil in a glass jar and on a sunny windowsill. Shake daily.
Herbal baths can be prepared by hanging a muslin bag filled with fresh or dried herbs under a hot tap. Herbal infusions or essential oils can also be added to the bath water.
Cream and lotions can be made by stirring tinctures, infusions, decoctions or a few drops of essential oil into an unscented base.