As women become more and more aware of the value of detoxing and natural forms of self-care, the question comes up “What can I do to detox while pregnant and/or breastfeeding?” The body will naturally detox itself when given what it needs. So as birth workers we should educate our clients about the good things they can do to trigger those detoxifying functions in their bodies.

In addition to proper nutrition, hydration, deep breathing, rest, movement, and healthy skin care, many of my clients have had amazing results with the ancient ayurvedic technique of oil pulling. With this technique toxins and bacteria are pulled out through the mouth and released out of the body with the oil.  By removing the extra toxins and bacteria in your mouth, you’re freeing up your immune system and other detoxification organs to attend to other business in your body.

There are great benefits to using oil pulling as a safe way of detoxing during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Some of the health benefits of oil pulling include:

  • Prevention of bad breath
  • Remedy for bleeding gums
  • Hydrates and lubricates lips, mouth, and throat, preventing dry mouth and cracked lips
  • Prevents gum disease, cavities, and gingivitis
  • Strengthens gums, teeth, and jaw

In the Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health they state that:

During pregnancy, you are more likely to have problems with your teeth or gums. If you have an infection in your teeth or gums, the chance of your baby being premature (born early) or having low birth weight may be slightly higher than if your teeth and gums are healthy.

Some pregnant women dealing with morning sickness or nausea may have difficulty with this technique but for those who do not, this can be of value. Here are the steps for oil pulling:

  1. Wake up and before eating, drinking, or brushing teeth prepare to oil pull
  2. Swish 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil or another all natural high quality grade oil in the mouth for 10 – 20 minutes. DO NOT swallow any of the oil as it is full of the toxins and bacteria from the mouth.
  3. Spit out the oil and rinse the mouth with salt water. Be mindful to limit spitting it out in your sink as over time it can lead to clogs.
  4. Brush your teeth as normal.
  5. Repeat 3 to 4 times per week for best results.

Add this technique to your doula toolkit and help mommies find safe ways of releasing toxins from their bodies during pregnancy and breastfeeding.