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How Herbs Can Interfere with Pregnancy
Making sense of it all

Many of the herbal (or vitamin) options available will do the job by themselves. But sometimes it is helpful to use a combination of herbs, knowing and understanding how they affect the body can help you in making the best choices for yourself. Choosing herbs which complement each other's actions is more effective than using herbs which have the same general effect on the body.

When herbs are used with the intention to end pregnancy caution must always be exercised. The safest time to utilize herbs is before the pregnancy actually takes hold. There is a small window occurring just after fertilization thou the next week, before the egg attaches to the wall of the uterus. The goal is to prevent it from doing so. This is why it is vitally important that you have some clue where you are in your cycle every month. The egg will implant in the week before menstruation normally occurs.

Herbs have their own methods of affecting the body, each is different, unique. Herbs will be most effective when the user knows how to use them and when to use what. Some are best taken at the time of ovulation while others are taken just before menstruation is due, or when its late.

Pregnancy is a delicate thing, although those of us who have tried or are trying to disrupt pregnancy might not agree. Our sisters who struggle with infertility can tell you, it does not take much to throw the balance off. When we choose herbs, there are many avenues of approach, a variety of ways to attempt to disrupt that balance.

As a rule, the more established a pregnancy becomes the harder it is to disrupt. As soon as the fertilized egg touches the uterus, a spongy network begins to form, this is the chorionic villi, day by day this network grows, expanding to involve more and more of the uterus. Before long, capillaries bridge the distance between mother and developing egg. It starts out very small, (keep in mind, the non-pregnant (or just barely pregnant) uterus is about the size of a walnut or plum.) When contact is made between the fertilized egg and uterus, the egg is still very tiny, not visible to the eye. Every day this spongy network grows, more and more of the uterus becomes involved each day, the physical connection grows, the more time it has the stronger it becomes. Time is of the essence, the sooner action is taken to prevent or disrupt pregnancy, the better chances are for success.

If you choose to use herbs to end pregnancy or the possibility of, you need to be clear that you don't want a child at this time. Herbs will not always work. They work for some people and not for others.
If they don't work it is very important to follow up with a clinical abortion or menstrual extraction. The effects the herbs will have on the development of the fetus are unknown, birth defects are a definite possibility.

The consistent use of implantation inhibiting herbs in the beginning stages of pregnancy, from conception until implantation, until just before menstruation is due. Herbs, such as Queen Anne's Lace seeds, Vitamin C, Rue/Rutin, or Cotton Root Bark block, alter, or interfere in the production of progesterone. The lining of the uterus does not grow enough to be supportive or nourishing to a fertilized egg; thus preventing implantation. The connection not being made, the egg begins to break down along with the uterine lining, menstruation occurs and may be normal to heavy. What is left of the microscopic egg passes unnoticed amidst the menstrual blood.

If the egg implants and the pregnancy continues, the placenta begins to form, progesterone blocking herbs may be useful in stimulating the placenta to detach, but may not be enough. The addition of a strong uterine contracting herb, would probably be beneficial at this point, such as Dong Quai, Tansy, Pennyroyal, Angelica or Mugwort.

Stimulating herbs can be used in conjunction with uterine contracting herbs to increase their effectiveness. An easily obtainable one is Ginger, found just about anywhere in the world. If you can get a fresh root use that, if not powdered will do. These herbs are often called carrier herbs, they move the blood, get circulation going. By choosing stimulating herbs which also affect the uterus, we can help other herbs find there way there in a speedy fashion. Other uterine stimulating herbs are: Angelica, Black Cohosh, and Queen Anne's Lace Seed.

By the time menstruation is late an early detection pregnancy test will give a positive reading. At this point I would suggest confirming the pregnancy actually exists. If it does not, milder herbs can be used to start menstruation. If the test is positive then herbs from the abortifacient category can be worked with. Herbs like pennyroyal, vitamin c, Rue or Rutin, Tansy, or Cotton Root bark.

Some emmenagogual/abortifacient herbs are believed to be teratogens, substances that cause the development of abnormal structures in the embryo. Teratogens in the woman's system during the first two weeks of pregnancy usually cause the pregnancy to terminate. However if the pregnancy continues, they may have damaged the embryo, causing birth defects or other unknown complications during the pregnancy.

Midwives and other practitioners have reported herbs used in the early stages of pregnancy have caused complications in the pregnancy when it was continued inspite of the warnings to discontinue pregnancy following the use of herbs used with the intent of causing abortion. Some of the complications were serious and life threatening. Continuing the pregnancy after ingesting herbs with the intention to end pregnancy is NOT recommended!!!

Other common abortive herbs, like Blue Cohosh, Pennyroyal, and Tansy stimulate uterine contractions which help to expel the uterine contents. Some herbs like Blue Cohosh, have oxytocic properties. The body also produces oxytocin, a hormone which stimulates contractions during labor. When an egg is fertilized another function of progesterone is to prevent the body from producing its own oxytocin, which may disrupt the pregnancy. So using herbs which interfere with progesterone is a good thing. And combining a uterine contractor with the progesterone inhibitor makes it just that much harder for the egg to maintain its grip.

For more information
Terminating Pregnancy - what you need to know
Pregnancy Week-by-Week by Uni Tiamat. To follow the egg through the process of conception, implantation in the uterus and the subsequent development and how herbs can be applied to disrupt this process.
For more details of the development of the fertilized egg from the day of conception to the implantation and subsequent development check out
In-Utero Development

Fertility Awareness
Preventing and
Ending Pregnancy

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