Fact or Fiction: Maryam booti for a smooth delivery

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Dear Nano,

I am seven months pregnant and excited to see my little angel soon. I have had a ball shopping for tiny socks and t-shirts but throughout the nesting period a dark cloud has followed me: the dread of labour pains. Ever since I was a teenager  and saw the scene in Nine Months when Julianne Moore screamed down the hospital as her contractions got worse and worse I have been afraid of my own.

I have seen dozens of recommendations for an herbal remedy called maryam booti. I am not sure what it’s background and significance is. All I know is that many girls bring the leaves from Medina and sell them online saying they help with conception and labour pains.

I do not want to ingest anything that will harm my baby but I am desperate to try anything will ease the contractions. Should I try the herb?

Fraidy Cat Mum 

Dear Brave Mama,

Let me be honest, labour can be painful. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. But the magic of a new baby (and epidurals) has a way of making us all stronger than we ever knew was possible. Face your fears by educating yourself about your body and your new baby. When you are feeling nervous about D-Day, look up some facts that will help put your mind at ease. You have two months to go until you meet your little one. Take this time to meditate and reduce any anxiety that you may have. The more calm you are, the less likely you will be to require medical pain management.

Do you prefer alternative medicine? Or is this herb something you have seen online and are curious about? In either case, think twice before experimenting with the ancient remedy of maryam booti (or Mary’s Hand).

The science (or lack thereof)

Maryam Booti has been passed on from generation to generation in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan as an herbal tea during pregnancy and delivery. The scientific name for the plant is Anastatica Hierochuntica and is most commonly found in the Sahara-Arabian deserts and is widely available in Middle Eastern societies.

The seeds sometimes germinate and sprout new plants while still seated in the fruit on the dead parent plant – which is one reason it has come to be associated with life and fertility. The plant has calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and iron; in particular, calcium and magnesium work together to regulate smooth muscle contractions.

There are no proven negative side-effects to ingesting the tea.

Just Breathe: 

Patterned breathing can become an automatic response to pain. The popular “pant-pant-blow” or “hee-hee-who” style is used by pregnant women  help them relax when they feel overwhelmed. You can experiment with different styles to see what technique helps you calm down. The breathing technique has many benefits:

  • The steady rhythm of breathing is calming during labor
  • It provides a sense of well being and control
  • Increases oxygen and energy for both the mother and baby
  • Brings purpose to each contraction, making contractions more productive

Do you agree with Nano? Send in your questions to nano@mamasayso,pk for advice on parenting in modern Pakistan.

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