10 Ways to Use Mint During Pregnancy
When it comes to pregnancy and all-natural remedies, mint leaves are at the top of our list. With multiple health benefits, pregnant and breastfeeding mamas can count on mint to do more than add flavor to food.
What is mint?
Mint is a part of the Lamiaceae family, which includes both peppermint and spearmint. There are also 15-20 types of other plant species considered a mint, which makes it a popular choice for herbs in food, as well as candy, toothpaste, and even beauty products!
Immune system boost
Mint leaves contain high levels of phosphorus, calcium and vitamins like C, D, E and A. These nutrients improve your body’s immune system, as well as protect you on a cellular level, reducing the risk of chronic illnesses. Vitamin A in particular, helps remove free radicals that can cause damage to your organ tissue, thus reducing your risk of certain cancers, diabetes, and heart disease.
Fun fact: ¼ cup of spearmint provides half your daily need of Vitamin A!
Different types of mint plants offer a wide range of antioxidant health benefits, particularly those with irritable bowel syndrome. Some research has found that peppermint leaves are linked to inhibiting enzymes that promote tumor growth.
It’s no surprise that every toothpaste under the sun has a mint backing to it. Well, once again, you can thank the antibacterial properties of mint!
Keeping your mouth healthy during pregnancy is especially important because when pregnant, a woman is more prone to periodontal (gum) disease and cavities. Poor oral health during pregnancy can lead to poor health for not only the mother, but for her baby.
The American Dental Association Council on Access, Prevention, and Interprofessional Relations found that nearly 60 to 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis, an early stage of periodontal disease that occurs when the gums become red and swollen from inflammation that may be aggravated by changing hormones during pregnancy. The CDC found that periodontitis has also been associated with preterm birth and low birth weight.
We suggest using mint toothpaste during pregnancy can help inhibit the growth of bacteria and beat bad breath, keeping your mouth naturally healthy.
Indigestion & Upset Stomach
For thousands of years, people have used mint as a calming herb to soothe upset stomachs and indigestion. Research has linked the anti-bacterial compounds in the essential oils of various mints (limonene and carvone) to helping reduce the risk of potentially harmful bacteria. This bacteria is most commonly found in food and within the GI tract.
A study in 2019 found support that peppermint oil works as a remedy for a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions, including IBS, stomach pain in children, feelings of sickness after surgery, and indigestion. The authors of this study identified that mint helps regulate muscle reaction, helps control inflammation, and works against harmful microbes in the gut.
A different review in 2019 conducted 12 randomized controlled trials and found that peppermint oil was an effective pain reliever for adults with IBS.
Since indigestion is a common pregnancy symptom, mint during pregnancy is a helpful tool that can provide temporary relief from that burning sensation or pain in the chest.
Less Salt, More Flavor
Some of us LOVE their salt. It’s found in well-known places like bacon, or pretzels, but can even be found in surprising large amounts in your favorite bread or cup of hot chocolate. During pregnancy, you might be advised to cut back on your sodium intake.
A high level of sodium can lead to swelling of the face, hands, legs, ankles and feet, also called edema, a very common pregnancy symptom. When you have excess sodium, your body holds onto extra water in an attempt to “flush” your system. In turn, your body works harder than it should, and can increase blood pressure (gestational hypertension) which can lead to heart failure, kidney failure, stroke, osteoporosis, and more.
The good news is that if you love your extra “sprinkle” of salt on your food, you can add mint on any type of flavor profile! From veggies to fish, poultry or even fruit, mint can help limit your sodium consumption without sacrificing taste.
Those pesky pregnancy hormones bring on a double-down on acne. This acne isn’t special, or anything new, however. More likely-than-not, the culprit is an overproduction of sebum oil, which happens when your hormones go into overdrive.
Since you want to be a little more careful about what you put on your skin during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, mint leaves provide a safe method for clearing your skin. Mint contains salicylic acid, an anti-inflammatory agent that works great at clearing clogged follicles. Salicylic acid is commonly found in your traditional acne cleansing and skin peeling solutions. Compared to retinoids, which should be avoided during pregnancy, it causes less irritation on your skin.
Again, since mint is anti-inflammatory, mint leaves help prohibit bacterial growth, which leads to less outbreaks in general.
You can make your own mint leaf paste for acne by following these recipes. Not only will they help reduce the amount of acne-causing bacteria on your skin, but it helps reduce any acne scars you may have as well!
If you’re a mom, or mom-to-be, you either know about, or will soon experience the dreaded “pregnancy brain”. Maybe not the worst of all pregnancy-related symptoms, it’s still annoying!
There studies that claim aromatherapy techniques utilizing mint essential oils has been found to improve brain function. One study of 144 adults showed that inhaling peppermint essential oil for five minutes prior to a test produced significant improvement in memory retention.
Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. If you are a fan of the smell of mint essential oil, what would it hurt to use mint during pregnancy to jog your memory?
Congratulations, mama. You’ve delivered your little one and the hard part is over, right??? Haha, just kidding! Welcome to sleepless nights and if breastfeeding, cracked and sore nipples. As Ecocentric Mom, we are here to support each mother in her quest to breastfeed (if she so chooses). That being said, if you are experiencing tender and cracked nipples, try applying mint!
Multiple studies have shown that applying mint to the skin can help relieve pain associated with breastfeeding! In the studies, breastfeeding mothers used an essential oil either on it’s own or mixed with gel or water. Another study showed that peppermint water after finishing breastfeeding was more effective than applying expressed breastmilk in preventing areola and nipple cracks.
Even more fascinating, was a study that showed only 3.8% of mothers who applied a peppermint gel experienced nipple cracks after breastfeeding. In the same study, 6.9% women used lanolin and 22.6% of women who used a placebo experienced nipple cracks.
If you are experiencing breastfeeding pain, it may be worth a shot to try a mint essential oil on your nipples!
Morning sickness and nausea
Since we’ve already established mint is a great natural remedy for stomach aches and pains, it’s worth mentioning that mint during pregnancy can be great for treating morning sickness and nausea. The mint activates the enzymes in your digestive tract that beats nausea.
One research group found that mint during pregnancy was used to reduce morning sickness in 41% of cases. Another study found mint essential oil aromatherapy was not effective in reducing gestational nausea and vomiting, however it did decrease the intensity of nausea, especially with consistent use.
Allergies, asthma and the common cold
Whether it’s the changing of the seasons, or just the time of the year everyone has a cough, if you’re struggling with a cough or congestion, try mint! The antibacterial properties of mint help clear the congestion from your nose, throat and lungs, in turn helping treat your cold and breathing.
Pregnancy can make your seasonal allergies worse, or if you’re one of the unlucky few, during your last semester, you can develop a condition called “rhinitis of pregnancy” which can cause similar symptoms to seasonal allergies.
Something you can try to alleviate congestion or a sore throat is peppermint tea. Peppermint is a natural coolant that can help soothe your stomach muscles, as well as your chest and throat muscles.
If you’re feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, using aromatherapy may help you relax. A natural sedative, the aroma of mint helps relax your brain and body by calming your mind. Mint’s anti-inflammatory properties help reduce your body temperature and blood pressure, which relaxes your muscles and makes you feel tranquil and serene.
An easy way to utilize the aromatherapy of mint to use it in an everyday item like lip balm. B True Essentials has an organic skincare company that utilizes peppermint oil in it’s Mint Lip Remedy. Mint Lip Remedy was featured in our July 2021 Ecocentric Mom Subscription Boxes.
Mint for the win!
There you go - 10 reasons why using mint during pregnancy makes it so much more than cool, it’s like a no-brainer! With all it’s antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, sedative, healing and aromatherapy properties, it’s really no wonder why mint is a favorite natural remedy for all sorts of pregnancy ailments.