Pregnancy in a woman’s life comes along with many dos and don’ts. Some of this information may come in the form of advice from friends and family who have had a similar experience. Other sources offer more evidence-based guidelines. While your mom and grandma may offer sage bits of wisdom, it’s always best to do the research in regards to medications, supplements, and herbal remedies. With new research being revealed constantly, it can often be hard to keep up with new trends and determine what is safe and appropriate for pregnant women.
Moringa During Pregnancy
One herbal remedy that pregnant women may wonder about is Moringa. As a huge advocate for Moringa and someone that incorporates it into my daily practice, this article is intended to help bring some clarity and understanding for new mommas considering this adaptogenic plant which has been used for many years in a variety of cultures to treat health concerns like anemia, allergies, thyroid conditions, migraines, gastrointestinal issues, ulcers, and infections. The good news is that a variety of research shows that women and their babies can still experience these benefits during the prenatal and postnatal periods.
MORINGA CAN ENCOURAGE NEWBORN GROWTH
One study compared the impact of Moringa leaf powder, Moringa leaf extract, and folic acid capsules on newborn growth patterns. These supplements were given to mothers for the last three months of their pregnancy and one month following childbirth. Results showed that the newborns in the two Moringa leaf groups demonstrated lower levels of malnutrition, stunting, and wasting.
Another study also suggested that Moringa extract may help newborns to gain weight and increase in length. While these studies focused on newborns that were underweight for the first six months of their lives, there seems to be enough evidence to explore the use of Moringa for typically developing infants.
MORINGA MAY PROTECT THE BODY FROM THE EFFECTS OF STRESS
Cortisol is one of the body’s most prevalent stress hormones. This has many negative effects on the nervous system, which makes it crucial to regulate how much cortisol is in the body. Research looked at the effectiveness of Moringa leaves and iron supplements in regulating the cortisol levels of pregnant women. Data showed that the pregnant women who regularly consumed Moringa leaves experienced a greater decrease in cortisol levels than the pregnant women who received iron did. This particular benefit did not extend to women who were breastfeeding, but there appears to be promise in the area of stress reduction and management.
MORINGA CAN HELP RELIEVE DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS
Many pregnant women complain of uncomfortable pregnancy-related constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and cramping. Moringa contains up to 9% fiber, which aids in improved digestion and nutrient absorption. Improved digestion helps eliminate harmful substances such as parasites and bacteria from the intestinal tract. Additionally, Moringa contains Vitamin B (among many others) that assists in the prevention of further digestive concerns.
Digestive health is key to the healthy function of other areas in the body. Pregnant women commonly experience higher levels of cholesterol, which can be regulated in part by improved digestion and supplementation. Pregnant women are also at risk of developing gestational diabetes during their term. This is another health concern that Moringa can indirectly help by improving digestion and regulating hormone levels that control appetite, metabolism, and sleep. These functions balance blood glucose levels to prevent diabetes and manage weight.
MORINGA CAN STIMULATE MILK PRODUCTION
Up until recently, Moringa and lactation studies have focused on animal subjects and yielded good results. Data showed that Moringa leaves increased milk production in dairy cows to the point that it replaced their previous whole concentrate diet. Similar results were seen in studies on pregnant rats. More up-to-date and extensive studies analyzed Moringa’s impact on milk production in women who recently gave birth. This research has shown that mothers who took Moringa leaves in the postpartum period displayed a greater increase in lactation than women who did not take Moringa. These changes were most notable four to five days after the supplementation began, which indicates that regular consumption of Moringa can be beneficial for this purpose.
MORINGA OFFERS A NUTRITIOUS BOOST OF ENERGY
This herbal remedy has long been hailed as a nutritious supplement based on the wide range of vitamins and minerals it contains. While percentages vary based on the form of Moringa (powder, capsule, etc.), this adaptogen contains protein, iron, fiber, potassium, calcium, and magnesium along with Vitamins A, B6, B12, and C. An analysis of nutrients showed that one Moringa leaf is composed of almost 30% protein. It is also low in fat, which makes it a good addition to a heart-healthy diet.
These nutrients are crucial for almost anyone, but they are especially beneficial for pregnant women who often need extra supplementation to ensure the proper growth of their babies. Such a wide range of vitamins and minerals can assist women in managing or preventing persistent fatigue that usually accompanies pregnancy. An increase in energy that may result from taking Moringa can be a helpful alternative to caffeine products, which pregnant women are typically discouraged from using.
MORINGA CAN HELP FIGHT FREE RADICALS
Whether you know what free radicals are or not, you are likely aware they aren’t good. Free radicals are unstable cells that can cause large-scale damage in the body. These interactions are more commonly referred to as oxidative stress. Research shows that foods and supplements with antioxidants are the best way to fight these free radicals.
In addition to the range of vitamins and minerals within Moringa, the leaves also contain high levels of antioxidants. Research shows that Moringa can be used for its antibacterial and antioxidative properties. For this reason, Moringa has also been regarded as a good way to prevent diseases such as cancer, macular degeneration, and heart disease, which have all been connected with the presence of free radicals.
MORINGA MAY FORTIFY THE BLOOD
Nutrients such as iron and folate become even more crucial to the body during pregnancy. Moringa leaves have been analyzed as good sources of both of these minerals. Some research has been done on Moringa leaves to determine how they influence the body’s hemoglobin levels. Hemoglobin is a good indication of the body’s short-term iron storage contents, so these levels are regularly monitored in pregnant women. Results from one study show that, when compared to pregnant women who took iron supplements, pregnant women who took Moringa leaves showed a more significant increase in hemoglobin levels. These benefits also extended to other symptoms associated with anemia, including muscle formation and a healthy weight.
What to know about Moringa
The information included here focuses on the benefits of Moringa leaves, which have been studied extensively. At Moringa Vinga, we only add the raw USDA-certified organic leaves to our infusions (no root or bark which can have high levels of antibiotics, which can be harmful if used incorrectly).
The benefits of Moringa can be maximized by pairing the leaves with similar herbal remedies to create an infusion. This is an easy and delicious way to get your daily dose of Moringa along with other anti-inflammatory and antioxidative supplements such as ginger, rosemary, and elderberry. There are mixed reviews on the use of lemongrass during pregnancy, so new moms should opt for our Spearmint & Rosemary or Elderberry & Holy Basil infusions until after your little one is born.
Moringa has played a huge role in helping me stay healthy during and after my pregnancy. And as an added bonus, incorporating it into my lifestyle was easy and didn’t add to my stress. As new mommas, we have enough to worry about!
From our little family to yours, we hope you’ll consider adding Moringa to your daily routine. (fun tip: I loved adding one ounce of Spearmint & Rosemary Moringa Vinga to about 8 ounces of coconut water to stay hydrated and energized!)
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