Prayer For Grace Through A Difficult Pregnancy
Patron Saints of Pregnancy and Childbirth
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One piece of advice I’ve seen in several prenatal books is to have something to focus on (besides the pain!) during labour. Pamela England advises creating birth art or finding an image that inspires you with courage, confidence, and the strength you need during labour. As I thought about her advice, I knew where I could turn: to the patron saints of pregnancy.
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For Sunshine’s birth, I had a small photo album of random pictures that didn’t fit into any of my other photo albums.
I was actually surprised at how flipping through those pictures, and reliving some of the happy memories, did help me face the pain. For Lily’s birth, I asked St. Brigit of Kildare for intercession.
When I was pregnant with Jade, I found St. Gerard medal to wear, and have given similar medals to pregnant friends.
The Catholic Church recognizes several patron saints of pregnancy and childbirth. These saints offer the inspiration of their example, as well as their intercessions* for us here on earth. Here’s a list of my favourite prayer warriors, to whom I turn when I’m pregnant and approaching labour.
St. Margaret of Antioch
St. Margaret (also called Marina) of Antioch is the Patron Saint of Pregnant Women and Childbirth.
She was beheaded in 306 in Antioch by the Emperor Diocletian for refusing to marry to local prefect.
Legend says that while she was in prison, she was swallowed by a dragon, who then spat her up again because of the cross she carried. Little is actually known about her. Her feast day is July 20.
St. Brigit of Kildare (Ireland)
St. Brigit (or Brigid) of Kildare is the Patron Saint of Babies and Midwives. She lived from 451 to 525 in Ireland and knew St. Patrick. She was a nun who founded a convent and two monastic institutions. Her feast day is February 1.
St. Gerard Majella
St. Gerard Majella is the Patron Saint of Expectant Mothers and Unborn Children. He lived from 1726-1755 in Italy.
He served with the Redemptorists as a sacristan, tailor, gardener and porter and also counseled the local communities of religious women. He was known to experience levitation and bilocation.
Because of a miracle that happened when one woman in labour asked him to pray for her, many other women asked him to pray for them while they were in labour. His feast day is October 16.
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St. Ursus of Aosta
Saint Ursus of Aosta is the Patron Saint of Childbirth. He lived in Italy in the 6th century. He was a bishop in Aosta and opposed Arianism. St. Briget, his feast day is February 1.
St. Raymond Nonnatus
Saint Raymond Nonnatus (also known as Raimundo Nonato) is the Patron Saint of Childbirth, Expectant Mothers, Pregnant Women, Midwives, and Babies.
He lived from 1204-1240 in Spain and was a farmer who entered the religious life.
He is invoked by women in labour because he was born by C-section after his mother’s death (hence his name, “Nonnatus,” which means “not born.”) His feast day is August 31.
St. Erasmus (also known as St. Elmo) is the Patron Saint of Women in Labour. He was a bishop in Italy. St. Margaret, he died in 303 under the persecutions of the Emperor Diocletian. Part of his tortures involved having his intestines pulled out or having hooks embedded in his abdomen, so he is the patron saint of abdominal pains, including childbirth. His feast day is June 2.
St. Gianna Beretta Molla
St. Gianna Beretta Molla was a pediatrician, wife, and mom of four children. When she was pregnant with her fourth baby, she also developed a fibroid tumour on her uterus.
She refused an abortion or hysterectomy, and instead told doctors that if they had to choose between her life and her child’s, to save the baby. Surgery to remove her tumour was successful and Gianna carried her baby to term, then died from an infection after birth.
She is the patron saint of mothers, physicians and unborn children. Her feast day is April 28.
Blessed Virgin Mary
Jesus’ mother Mary is the most obvious Patron Saint of Childbirth. The story of Jesus’ birth is told in the Gospel of Luke.
Mary gave birth to Jesus alone (or with only her husband Joseph to help her) in a stable, and also endured a long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem while pregnant.
She can thus be looked to as a woman who understands difficult pregnancies and labours, and can intercede before God on behalf of women today. She has numerous feast days, most prominently January 1.
St. Anne, Grandmother of Jesus
St. Anne and St. Joachim are known as Mary’s parents, although they aren’t mentioned in the Bible. Church tradition holds that St. Anne was an older woman when Mary was born ( her relative St. Elizabeth). Mary is said to be their only child and was dedicated to God at a young age, much Samuel in the Old Testament. Her feast day is July 26.
I pray these patron saints of pregnancy and childbirth will bless you during this season of your life! If you know any other patron saints of pregnancy or birth, feel free to mention them in a comment.
Prayer Cards and Posters to Inspire You!
Subscribe to my email newsletter to receive FREE prayer cards for pregnant and expectant mothers! This PDF set includes three prayers to St. Gerard and one prayer to St.
Anne (Mary’s mother), in both prayer card / poster format and greeting card format. All the prayers are traditional prayers to patron saints of pregnancy and childbirth, including St. Gerard Majella, St.
Raymond Nonnatus, and St. Anne (Mary’s mother).
I’ll continue adding to this set as I find more prayers and learn more about the saints. If a particular saint or prayer has inspired you during your pregnancy or birth, please share your story with me! I love hearing from fellow moms.
To download these free printable prayer cards for pregnancy and birth, just subscribe to my email newsletter. Then you’ll also be the first to find out about new saint posts on the blog or prayers added to the printable.
May these prayers bless you during this time!
*As a Catholic convert, I struggled with the idea of praying to the saints. I’ve since come to view the saints as friends whom I can ask for prayer, the way I’d ask for many of my close friends here on earth to pray for me.Knowing that some of these saints went through unique circumstances that better able them to understand what I’m going through helps me trust them to pray for me—especially when I feel that I don’t even know what to pray for.
In particular, my first pregnancy helped me draw closer to Mary as I thought about what she went through as a single, pregnant mother (talk about a difficult pregnancy!). St. Brigit of Ireland was a great source of inspiration and encouragement during my second pregnancy.
Are You Struggling to Get Pregnant?
Another month passed, and my monthly cycle was late. Yet the stick screamed “not pregnant.”
Not pregnant? But I’m five days late. How can this be? Not to mention, I’m exhausted and beyond irritable. Clearly I should be pregnant. These are early signs of pregnancy!
Nevertheless after a year of praying for a baby, my womb remained empty. The question continued to be – do I trust God with my family size?
As we stood in grace waiting on the Lord to fill my womb with our second child, we prayed and researched ways to boost fertility. We eventually met a holistic-minded midwife who helped us learn a ton about getting my body ready for pregnancy, and lo and behold a short time later we conceived Timothy.
By the time we finally conceived, I felt I was in the best health I had been in a really long time, if ever.
Now, as we prepare my body yet again for another baby after recently going through a miscarriage, I’ve been diligently preparing my body for pregnancy and finding ways to boost my fertility.
If you’re struggling to get pregnant, or just want to prepare your body for a some day pregnancy, below are a few ways you can boost your fertility and prepare your body in a healthy, natural way for pregnancy.
By the way, I’m not a healthcare professional or anyone you should take any sort of medical advice from. I’m just a lowly woman who is a research fanatic and trying to steward her health for the glory of God.
1. Eat nutrient dense foods
Nutrition is a key part of boosting fertility and giving your baby the best possible start. A good diet can increase your odds for conceiving and help your body overall.
Nutrients that I to focus on when preparing my body for pregnancy are vitamins A, C, D, E, and K2, iodine, and omega-3 fats. Though there are several other important nutrients, these are a good place to focus my efforts.
Some Fertility Superfoods:
- Pastured eggs
- Wild-caught fish (Salmon is my favorite!)
- Cod Liver Oil
- Dark green leafy vegetables
- Citrus fruit
- Sweet potatoes
Tip: Research foods that are high in each of the vitamins and minerals I listed above. Type in your favorite search engine: “foods high in Vitamin A.” Repeat this for each vitamin and mineral. Then focus on getting as many of those foods into your diet as possible.
Another post you might find helpful:
- Fertility Diet from Natural Fertility and Wellness
2. Limit sugar and caffeine
In addition to eating nutrient dense foods, I also limit the amount of sugar and caffeine I consume when preparing my body for pregnancy.
By cutting down on sugar and caffeine, or eliminating it altogether, my body can work to balance my hormones and increase my chances of conceiving.
If you’re a coffee fanatic me, check out these alternatives to coffee that I use and love.
Other posts you might find helpful:
3. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise is just good for you.
Here are some common known reasons to exercise:
- Help maintain a healthy weight
- Better sleep
- More energy
- Improves mood
- Improves mind clarity
Exercise is a great stress reliever, and it’s very helpful in restoring hormonal imbalances. Therefore, when I’m preparing my body for pregnancy, I exercise at least 30 minutes a day, three to four times a week.
Other posts you might find helpful:
4. Create a habit of rest
Rest is not a sin. Let me say it again. Rest is not a sin.
As a culture built on productivity, it’s easy to think we are being lazy when we choose to rest. However, it’s simply not true. We were created for rest.
Lack of sleep, pushing my body to the maximum, and choosing self-sufficiency causes health problems. I’ve experienced both adrenal fatigue and infertility due to lack of sufficient rest. Rest plays an important role in the production and balancing of hormones.
Therefore, when I’m preparing my body for pregnancy, I always work to create a habit of rest.
Other posts you might find helpful:
5. Do 2-3 detox baths a week
Fertility cleansing is a common practice in non-western cultures. With all the toxins we throw at our bodies each day (some knowingly, some unknowingly), it’s a good idea to find ways to rid our bodies of the toxins on a regular basis, especially when you’re trying to conceive.
Personally, I take a gentle detox bath two to three times a week to help push toxins my body. Plus it helps to put me in a restful state, which aids in creating a habit of rest.
My personal favorite detox bath consists of a mix of Epsom salt, dead sea salt and lavender essential oil. I buy it from my midwife since it’s reasonably priced and I trust the source.
Before getting into my bath, I always drink a big glass of water so that I will be ready to pee when I get out. Then, I drink another glass of water upon exiting the bath tub to rehydrate.
A note: Not all Epsom salt is created equal. The kind you get from a grocery store is probably not sourced well, and many of the common boxed brands contain lead. So do your research and find a good source.
Other posts you might find helpful:
Please note that I do not agree with everything on each of these websites. But I found these articles helpful.
6. Drink herbal teas
Herbal teas are a great way to nourish your body. Herbal teas can give you a natural boost of vitamins and minerals all while hydrating your body!
I buy most all of my herbs from the Bulk Herb Store, or I get them from my backyard herb garden.
Herbs I for fertility:
- Stinging Nettles
- Red Raspberry Leaf
- Red Clover
- Lemon balm
Other posts you might find helpful:
7. Take vitamins and minerals
In addition to my herbal teas and a healthy diet, I to use specific supplements to boost fertility and contribute to my overall health.
Additional supplements I take:
Other posts you might :
8. Get a Maya Abdominal Massage
Among its many benefits, a Maya Abdominal Massage can help boost your fertility.
Let’s back up a few years.
After I had my first child, I had a hard time recovering physically. I experienced secondary infertility and on top of that was drained and fatigued. I would go to bed by 8pm and sleep until 8am the next morning.
I’d make breakfast, do the dishes, and be ready for a nap by the time 10am rolled around. I was exhausted all the time. I wasn’t able to get pregnant. My husband was traveling, and I had a toddler running around. I was sick.
This is when we met our midwife who introduced us to not only everything I’ve mentioned above, but the Maya Abdominal Massage as well.
She explained to me that my uterus was line and that so many of my health problems could be resolved with a simple 45 minute massage. I was skeptical, but I was also desperate to try it.I just wanted to feel better. And rested. Plus who in their right mind would turn down a massage?
Maya massage is a massage technique that is noninvasive way of repositioning internal organs that have shifted. A misaligned uterus can cause a lot of health problems, especially related to your fertility.
Symptoms of a Displaced Uterus (here are a few):
- Painful periods (Your period is not supposed to hurt! Extreme cramping is not supposed to happen. Not ideally!)
- Late, early, or irregular periods
- Dark, thick blood at onset and at the end of menstruation
- Headache or migraine with period
- Failure to ovulate regularly
- Painful ovulation
- Blood clots during menstruation and excessive bleeding
- Chronic miscarriage
- Premature deliveries
- Difficult pregnancies/incompetent uterus/spotting
- Painful intercourse
- Difficult menopause
“When reproductive organs shift, they can constrict normal flow of blood and lymph, and disrupt nerve connections. Just a few extra ounces sitting on blood and lymph vessels can cause havoc throughout the different systems in the body.
By shifting the uterus back into place, homeostasis, or the natural balance of the body, is restored in the pelvic area and the surrounding organs. Toxins are flushed and nutrients that help to tone tissue and balance hormones are restored to normal order.
This is essential for healthy pregnancy, labor, and delivery.” ~Arvigo Therapy, Definition and History
Since having a miscarriage, the Maya massage has been crucial to my recovery. Plus, they feel amazing!
9. Get a vaginal steam
Yep. You read that right. I do vaginal steam baths to prepare my body for pregnancy.
In addition to the Mayan massage, my midwife creates a concoction of herbs for a vaginal steam that I do before ovulation. I go to her office and let her pamper me, but you can easily do a vaginal steam bath at home.
Note: Vaginal steam baths are also helpful post miscarriage to help clean out the system and aid the uterus in recovery.
Basically, a vaginal steam bath cleanses, tones, and nourishes your uterus, cervix, and tissues. Vaginal steam baths aren’t just helpful for fertility, but if you experience PMS, painful menstrual cycles, hemorrhoids, and other monthly cycle symptoms, then a vaginal steam bath could really help.
Herbs Used in My Vaginal Steam Bath:
- Partridge berry
- Lemon balm
You can buy the vaginal steam herbs here, if you’d rather not make it yourself.
Other posts you might find helpful:
- Traditional Vagina Steam for Healthy Fertility from Natural Fertility Info
Thoughts on being a Christian and Using Natural Means to Boost Fertility:
You might be wondering why a Christian would use Maya massage and vaginal steams and diet to boost fertility. Aren’t these methods associated with spirituality and such? Isn’t it wrong to use healers? Is this voodoo or something?
I always sigh heavily when I get these questions. It’s much the question, “Won’t your baby drown if you do a water birth?” to me. It annoys me a little bit to be completely honest, but I also realize that it’s ignorance that poses the question. We simply don’t understand that which we’ve never encountered.
Do people talk to spirits and such when conducting Mayan massages and vaginal steams? Yes. They do.
To be honest, I think my midwife (who is not a professing Christian) has rituals and prayers that she s to use when preparing her remedies and healing treatments.
It’s my understanding that they are seeking to connect with the soul of the baby and they communicate with one another through meditation.
But me – a Christian? I see it as an AMAZING way God has provided for our family through natural means to heal my body and boost fertility.
For me, I see the herbs growing from the ground, the water running in the streams, and the gift of knowledge He has given my midwife as just that – a gift.
A gift that reminds me of how great He is and how He has provided for us through His natural creation. Also, my midwife has never done anything against my beliefs in front of me. She respects my beliefs 100%.
Personally, I wish more Christians talked about natural healing and methods we can use to boost fertility. I wish it all wasn’t so taboo. I think it’s an area where God is left out, and it makes me sad.
Therefore, if you’re looking for ways to boost fertility, try one of the tips above. I said at the outset, this is what I do and has worked well for us. Every case is different, and even though we do “everything right” our fertility is ultimately in the Lord’s hands. He gives and He takes away. And all of it is grace!
Additional Resources You Might Find Helpful:
Naturally Knocked Up – Donielle is highly researched and reliable source. I followed her blog for years when I first entered the world of natural fertility.
Making Babies Book by Shoshanna Easling from Bulk Herb Store – I love this book and DVD series. You can read my full review here.
Bulk Herb Store is my go-to resource for all things herbs.
What about you? What ways have you used to naturally boost fertility?
This post contains my affiliate links. See my full disclosure policy here.
10 Prayers for the Departed and Dearly Missed
Death and dying are parts of life. While some people fear them, others draw inspiration from death.
As nurses, it’s inevitable for us to see some of our patients die and their families deeply grieve for them. Although we can’t bring back their loved ones, there are still ways for us to provide comfort, strength and guidance to the families our patients left behind.
Here are 10 powerful prayers for the departed.
For the recently deceased
In your hands, O Lord,we humbly entrust our brothers and sisters.In this life you embraced them with your tender love;deliver them now from every evil
and bid them eternal rest.
The old order has passed away:welcome them into paradise,where there will be no sorrow, no weeping or pain,but fullness of peace and joywith your Son and the Holy Spirit
forever and ever.
Prayer for the souls in purgatory
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Prayer for deceased relatives and friends
Almighty Father, source of forgiveness and salvation, grant that our relatives and friends who have passed from this life may, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints, come to share your Eternal happiness through Christ our Lord. Amen
Prayers for the deceased for forgiveness and peace and for mourners
Lord Jesus, our Redeemer, You willingly gave Yourself up to death so that all people might be saved and pass from death into a new life. Listen to our prayers; look with love on Your people who mourn and pray for their dead brother/sister.
Lord Jesus, You alone are holy and compassionate; forgive our brother/sister his/her sins.
By dying You opened the gates of life for those who believe in You; do not let Your brother/sister be parted from You, but by Your glorious power give him/her light, joy, and peace in heaven where You live for ever and ever. Amen.
My brother (sister) in faith, I entrust you to God Who created you.May you return to the One Who formed you from the dust of this earth.May Mary, the angels, and all the saints come to meet you as you go forth from this life.May Christ Who was crucified for you bring you freedom and peace.May Christ, the Son of God, Who died for you take you into His kingdom.May Christ, the Good Shepherd, give you a place within His flock.May He forgive your sins and keep you among His people.
May you see your Redeemer face to face and enjoy the sight of God forever. Amen.
I commend you, my dear [name] to almighty God, and entrust you to your Creator.May you rest in the arms of the Lord who formed you from the dust of the earth.May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints welcome you now that you have gone forth from this life.
May Christ who was crucified for you, bring you freedom and peace.May Christ who died for you admit you into his garden of paradise.May Christ, the true Shepherd, embrace you as one of his flock.May he forgive all your sins and set you among those he has chosen.
May you see your Redeemer face to face and enjoy the vision of God, forever.
Prayer for unexpected death
Heavenly Father we know and believe that our times are in Your hands, but Lord it’s so often such a shock to us when a dear loved one meets with a sudden or unexpected death – through an accident or perhaps due to some unforeseen tragedy, which takes the life of someone they loved – long before it would be expected.
Lord, we bring before You today those who are having to go through such a tragic loss and pray that You would be very close to each one that is in mourning today over such a loss – and are perhaps confused or even angry that such a devastating occurrence has overtaken them – without any apparent warning.
You are the God of all comfort Who comforts us in time of need and we pray that for those that are facing such a difficult trial today. Uphold them we pray, and ask that You draw very close to them … raise up we pray, the right people to minister to them and to be a genuine comfort and support at this time of tragedy and grief.
Lord, we don’t understand why our loved ones should suddenly be removed from us through a sudden, unexpected death – but Lord we trust You to soothe away the hurt in time – for shall not the God of all the earth do right…. In Jesus name, we pray,
Prayer for deceased parents
O God, Who has commanded usto honor our father and mother,have compassion in Thy mercy,on the souls of my father and mother;forgive them their sins,and grant that I may see themin the joy of eternal brightness.
Through Christ our Lord.
Prayer after violent death
Father, we bring before You those that have had the devastating experience of having someone close to them that they know and love, suffer a sudden, violent and needless death. Lord how we grieve for those that are having to experience this right now, and we pray that in Your grace You would look down with pity and mercy and meet them right at their point of need.
Lord, You are the one Who was sent to heal the broken-hearted and comfort those that mourn and are heavy-laden.
You are the One Who promised that Your grace is sufficient for every eventuality – even for those having to face the sudden and violent death of someone close to them.Draw near to them we pray and lift them up into You arms of love and carry them during this time of suffering and grief for You have promised that underneath are Your everlasting arms.
Lord, as we lift up in prayer those that are having to come to terms with the sudden and violent death of a loved one – we pray that You would use this tragedy to be the thing that starts to draw each suffering soul into the tender arms of their Saviour – the Lord Jesus Christ, in Whose name we pray,
Prayer for a deceased brother, relative or friend
You are, O God,quick to pardon and desire man’s salvation.In Your goodness we ask You to grant our deceased brothers,relatives, and friends everlasting happiness.With the help of Blessed Mary ever Virginand all Your saints,
we ask this through Christ, our Lord.
Prayer to say on the day of a person’s death
O God, Whose property is always to have mercy and to spare, we humbly beseech Thee for the soul of Thy servant N…, which Thou hast this day commanded to depart this world, that Thou wouldst not deliver it into the hands of the enemy, nor forget it unto the end, but wouldst command it to be received by the Holy Angels, and conducted to Paradise, its true country; that as in Thee it hath hoped and believed, it may not suffer the pains of hell, but may take possession of eternal joys.
Through Christ our Lord.
See Also: 10 Inspiring Songs To Help With Grief
Share these beautiful prayers to friends or family who need them.
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