In a very short while my wife and I will be welcoming our first child into the world! It’s a phase a life I am met with humility, excitement, and of course, fears. Perhaps it’s fear of the unknown, or hope that all will be well, or the overall uncertainty of how life will change. As any friend, colleague, or family member has told me, life will undoubtedly change.
Through any change that pregnancy, childbirth, or parenting may bring to our life, I can confidently rely on homeopathy to help bring some balance and healing. I especially want to dedicate this blog to the all-important phase of having a healthy pregnancy and childbirth.
This is certainly a new phase in our life, but is also a time of claiming what is truly important for us. There are so many facets of this new journey. But, when it comes to healthy pregnancy and childbirth there are innumerable opportunities to forgo one’s convictions about how they want the pregnancy to go, or the childbirth experience to unfold.
My wife and I recently watched a movie produced by Ricki Lake entitled “The Business of Being Born.” It, along with Ina May’s book “A Guide to Childbirth” have been great resources for us that support our idea of how we’d like pregnancy and childbirth to go. We’ve also attended childbirth classes with a brilliant doula, as well. All this to say this is our choice, our route, that makes sense to us.
What also makes sense to us is using homeopathic remedies to help aid and support my wife and developing baby through this process. Homeopathy is very safe and effective for pregnant women and their developing baby. Homeopathy is natural and has no side effects or toxic substances in them.
And we choose to make this as natural a process as possible. Pregnancy and childbirth, after all, has been a natural occurrence since time immemorial and without the use of toxic substances or invasive procedures, at least until very recent times.
Nonetheless, I dedicate this blog to the women who are looking for natural support in their own lives for a healthy pregnancy and childbirth using homeopathic remedies.
For a more detailed look into what homeopathy is, what homeopathic remedies are, etc. please follow the links to each of them. For now, I will give the reader insight into some of the most frequently used and most effective homeopathic remedies during pregnancy and childbirth.
First, I’d like to break down certain phases of pregnancy and childbirth for educational purposes and for ease of use.
The most important ‘remedy’ during this time is practicing relaxation through breath-work. Visualize the kind of birth you would like. Communicate to the baby your love for them; that you are going to work together for your mutual health and benefit. Perhaps they know not, consciously, what you’re communicating, but most certainly they will take in your voice, love, and information somewhere in their being.
Practicing yoga frequently will help you breathe, stretch appropriately, and accomplish pelvic floor exercises that will prepare you for healthy childbirth. I’d recommend the DVD “Shiva Rea’s Prenatal Yoga.” It is a safe and effective prenatal practice that is modified for each trimester. My wife frequently does this video and I’ve accompanied here on a few occasions, even. It’s an excellent practice to maintain throughout the pregnancy.
I’d also recommend taking pre-natal classes on childbirth from a doula or midwife. This will help you begin preparing for how you want your childbirth experience to go. In Austin, there are many resources available. I’d recommend going to the Central Texas Doula Association for more information.
There are many nutritional guidelines that could be mentioned here. That would take an entire blog in and of itself. So, I’ll just mention that drinking raspberry leaf tea (not before the sixth month of pregnancy, though) will help tone the uterine muscles.
Additionally, doing Kegel exercises will prime the muscles necessary for childbirth. Kegel exercises will also help you recover more quickly from childbirth and to also help avoid any complications after delivery (such as post-natal incontinence, for example).
The following sub-sections will describe the various phases of delivery:
Symptoms of pre-labor frequently involve the mother-to-be experiencing extra energy, perhaps she has a backache, she may have diarrhea, and may have a “show” (streaked mucus from the vagina). Not exclusively, but this stage is frequently when the water breaks.
During this time, it commonly occurs to the woman and birth partner to rush to the hospital. Yet, this is a time that could be dedicated to sleeping or resting as much as possible. Eat light, nourishing snacks if you’re hungry, move around on an exercise ball, breathe, go for a walk, or take a bath (or shower if the water has broken). The key ingredient here is to breathe and relax as much as possible.
At this stage, use a Bach Flower Rescue Remedy. A recommended amount would be 20 drops in a glass of water and sip whenever you feel called to.
This stage is characterized by low adrenalin; a time of waiting while the body does the work of opening up. Try not to resist it. Breathe in when the rush (“contraction”) comes and breathe out during it. The birth assistant should frequently remind you to continue breathing and relaxing. Our doula had a helpful reminder for this. The saying goes “As above, so below.” This refers to our jaws. If we are tense in our mouth, jaw, and neck, so everything will also be below. Tension is not recommended here. Relax the jaw and everything below will follow suit.
Time the rushes (“contractions”). Stay upright as much as you can and keep moving! Work with gravity and the direction the baby will come out. Also, minimize distractions and interruptions. This is a sacred time shared by the lineage of women throughout all of time. This is a time to be supported with maximum comfort, support, encouragement, and reassurance.
To help with energy levels, sip watered down fruit juice between rushes to keep blood sugar levels up. Continue to use the Rescue Remedy as needed.
This is the point where the cervix is fully dilated and the rushes will now begin to help push the baby out. Frequently, this is where a desire for drug intervention is most desired. An alternative, though, is to keep moving, change scenery by moving to other parts of your birthing location. Continue to breathe! Visualize the baby coming out as you would like. Talk to it. Remember to take the Rescue Remedy as needed.
High adrenalin levels come on and action is taken for delivery of the baby. The pushing will just happen. If the rushes have many peaks, divide the out-breath; as if blowing out separate candles.
This is the delivery of the placenta. Note: it’s not unusual for contractions to stop for a while before pushing the placenta out.
There’s so much more that could be said about each of these stages. This is intended to give you a brief overview for educational purposes. For more detailed information, I’d highly recommend reading “A Guide to Childbirth” by Ina May!
Throughout each of the above phases, several different homeopathic remedies can be used to assist the mother and baby should anything come up.
Because of the innumerable unknowns for each childbirth, and the fact that each mother and baby is an individual, I’ve highlighted here just four of the most commonly used remedies and their uses. Please note this list is not comprehensive. There are many, many more remedies and situations in pregnancy and childbirth not mentioned here.
What an amazing remedy! Arnica is our favorite trauma remedy and is frequently the most known remedy to those first learning or hearing about homeopathy. Nearly every woman can benefit from Arnica during labor.
Arnica encourages healing, controls bleeding, reduces swelling and the likelihood of pus formation. It can help reduce exhaustion and produce a ‘second wind’ during long, slow and painful labors where tiredness makes rushes (“contractions”) weak or ineffectual.
Given after birth, Arnica will speed recovery and alleviate a bruised or sore feeling. It is also given when someone is in shock; when they say they are alright, but clearly aren’t. Arnica can also reduce excessive bleeding where there is a traumatic or unusually long or unusually short birth.
People who need Arnica are worse from being touched, from any jarring movements, or from lying or sitting on the injured part. They may remark “the bed feels too hard.”
The following are some common complaints during certain phases for women who may benefit from Arnica:
Before Childbirth: Exhaustion. Use Arnica after taking a fall and having a resultant state of shock. Other uses will be after a kick from the baby that causes soreness or bruising. Premature labor after a fall. Transverse position of the baby (at the 36th week).
During Childbirth: Preventative for bleeding that may occur during long, slow, or difficult labors. States of denial. Exhaustion during long or difficult labors. Forceps delivery. Long, slow, or painful labors that cause exhaustion. Delivery of large babies or if the baby’s shoulder gets stuck. Straining (excessively!).
After Childbirth: Pains that feel worse if the baby is feeding. Any bruised or sore feelings. Bruising of any kind; after cesarean births, after epidurals, or after-effects of a forceps delivery. Inflammation of the penis of a newborn. Retained placenta after exhausting labor. Shock of the mother after learning the baby is an unexpected sex. Sore uterus. Urine retention of the mother. Overall weakness after long, slow, or difficult labors with much bruising and soreness.
Sepia is such an amazing remedy for women during these phases of their life!
Sepia is most suiting for a woman with severe, dragging down pains that are much relieved with exercise.
Emotionally, she feels irritable or indifferent to loved ones, and is averse to any sympathy. She feels sluggish and weepy. Sepia is useful for uterine prolapse, with strong bearing-down sensations.
Sepia may really help a mother who has children born too close and the body hasn’t had sufficient time in between to recover. Generally, she feel worse from fasting, touch, or staying in the same position. Overall, she feels better from eating and moving around.
The following are common complaints women experience who may need Sepia.
During Childbirth: Half open or hard cervix. Rushes (contractions) feel fine and needle-like up from the cervix, or “hour glass” contractions. Exhaustion where she feels better from moving around. She may have feelings of despair with weepiness, but isn’t better from any consolation or sympathy. Her feet are cold, she may feel overall chilly, yet have flushes of heat and feel better from warm covers. Sepia may help a woman experiencing slow labor who is irritable at any attempts of sympathy for her. This state is characterized by an absence of any affection.
After Childbirth: She’s very irritable, weak and weepy, but is worse from any consolation. Retained placenta with a bearing down sensation. Uterine prolapse. Subinvolution (uterine fails to contract down).
An equally beneficial remedy for women during these phases is Pulsatilla. It is best used from the 36th week onward to encourage a breech or transverse position of the baby to turn.
Pulsatilla can be quite easy to spot because of the marked emotional symptoms. She is weepy, clingy, and pleading for help.
Rushes (contractions) can be short, weak, or stop entirely. She may have back pain, exhaustion, faintness, thirstlessness, nausea and vomiting. She is worse from a stuffy room; at twilight; or getting her feet cold or wet. She feels overall better from fresh, open air; moving around; and from sympathy and company.
The following are common complaints for women who may need Pulsatilla at various phases.
Before Childbirth: Breech or transverse position of the baby (at the 36th week or beyond).
During Childbirth: Bleeding that alternates with contractions; contractions cease, then bleeding begins. Pulsatilla is useful for slow labor with back pain, when there is a lack of an expulsive power (especially during the second stage). She feels depressed, helpless, and restless. She is weepy and much better from consolation and sympathy. She may feel exhausted with weepiness. Nausea that’s better from open air. Abnormal positions of the baby.
After Childbirth: She may experience after pains with weepiness and feel better from company and sympathy. After pains appear when the baby feeds. Pulsatilla may help a woman producing too much milk. It will help a woman with retained placenta where there is weak or non-existent contractions. Subinvolution (uterus fails to contract down) with weakness and weepiness; better from sympathy and consolation.
This remedy is useful in the first stage of labor to establish strong productive contractions. It is NOT meant to be used routinely. Think of caulophyllum if the contractions are located in the lower half of the uterus, while the top (fundus) feels flabby. The contractions will feel sharp and painful, but are short, ineffective, spasmodic, and/or unstable. The contractions move around the bladder, groin, or thighs. Sometimes the contractions will slow or stop completely, due to exhaustion.
Caulophyllum is also useful if the cervix fails to dilate. Overall, she feels chilly with shivering, trembling, and irritability. She may be thirsty during contractions.
The following are some common complaints during certain phases for women who may benefit from Caulophyllum.
Before Childbirth: Caulophyllum is a great alternative to induction.
During Childbirth: Labor pains around the bladder, or labor pains that extend to the groin and/or thighs. To be used if the cervix fails to dilate or if it is half open or hard. Contractions are atonic (flabby), are slow or stop altogether due to her exhaustion. She is chilly and feels feverish with shivering and/or trembling. She may also be thirsty in between contractions.
After Childbirth: Retained placenta with shaking. Subinvolution (uterus fails to contract down).
As you may notice, some symptoms appear to be helped by multiple remedies. It’s always best to consult with a professional for guidance and support.
Homeopathy is a beautiful art and science of healing. A well chosen remedy will act instantly and the desired effect will ensue. It is so helpful, there are no toxins or side effects, and it is safe throughout pregnancy, during childbirth, and after - both for mom and baby!
I hope this information is helpful for you and please contact me for any questions.
Disclaimer: This blog and the contents herein are for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure any disease. For questions about your health, please contact a medical doctor.
2/6/2012 02:40:04 am
Wonderful overview Noel. I wish you and your beloved all the best with the birth. This may be of interest to you or your clients http://www.homeopathyworld.com/homeopathy-kits/your-childbirth-kit.html
2/7/2012 04:30:23 am
Thanks Mary. I'll have to take a look at your resources. Sending you my best, Noel.
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8/13/2012 05:53:05 pm
Pregnancy is an absorbing and interesting time for most women, and also involves a lot of stress. Many emotional, hormonal, and physical changes take place in the body.
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