By Judy Coldicott ADH RCHom
For most women, pregnancy is one of the most exciting times of their lives – they positively ‘bloom.’ However for others, the nine months of pregnancy can pose some niggling health challenges including falling pregnant in the first instance.
Homeopaths generally view the pregnancy and birth process as a period of time needing little intervention, using remedies only if they are required. Homeopathy can be extremely effective, both as an adjunct to other therapies and as an alternative when other therapies seem inappropriate, especially when women want to avoid the complexities of drugs while carrying their babies.
For those who strike difficulties in pregnancy, homeopathy can also be a life-line which enhances their experience. In many cases, something truly transformative occurs during a course of treatment, allowing for optimum health so that a satisfying pregnancy and birthing experience can take place! Homeopaths joke that it is the perfect time to treat a woman as not only she, but her unborn child, get the benefit of the a well chosen remedy. As well as this, the symptoms exhibited by some women seem clearer, pointing the way to a good prescription.
Many women also benefit from appointments preconception. Homeopathic treatment can help ensure that both partners are in their most optimum state mentally, emotionally and physically before the pregnancy. In some cases, appropriate remedies assist the body to attain regular and robust cycles ensuring ovulation and conception. Preconception is a time where both men and women can ‘clean up their act’ thus providing a strong starting point for the ongoing health of their baby. Due to the dilute nature of remedies, they are a safe, non-toxic choice for achieving a good healthy balance. An established relationship with a homeopath at this time can give a couple confidence, knowing that they have a health option where ongoing drug-free assistance is available through the upcoming stages of birth and beyond for themselves and their new child.
The need for remedy support will vary from mother to mother. An appointment with a qualified homeopath to put together a kit with instructions for mother, birth partners and midwives is a great idea in the last six weeks of the pregnancy. Small ‘Birthing Kits” with instructions are relatively inexpensive to purchase from homeopathic pharmacies or health stores and are great to have on hand to keep energy levels up, pain under control and for emotional and physical support at the time of birth.
Common issues where homeopathy is particularly helpful for a woman deal during pregnancy are morning sickness, heartburn, aching legs and veins or in encouraging the body to turn a breech baby as it approaches full term. It is also possible to help balance a woman’s state of health where there is difficulty in conception, or in instances of frequent miscarriage.
Birth itself is such a high energy process, often likened to a marathon, that it is helpful to learn the pictures of remedies which assist the woman through this process. They can be most effective when there is a clear indication for their use as the following examples illustrate:
Arnica: can help with exhaustion and soreness as well as any bruising that follows delivery. The woman is likely to reject any touch and support and say she is OK when clearly she is uncomfortable.
Bellis Perennis: is useful for sore aching pelvis and strained ligaments which make walking difficult and later for after-pains when feeding.
HyperCal lotion: great to bathe tears and broken skin – add to the bath to soothe and assist with healing of the perineal area for tears and discomfort.
It is also common to experience fluctuations in mood and anxiety levels during all stages of pregnancy. There are many ways of helping women to maintain the level of calm needed to cope with the upcoming birth. Mostly, this can be done with lots of physical help around the house and bucket-loads of reassurance. As well as homeopathic prescriptions, flower essences such as the well-known Rescue Remedy and other more individualized essences can be given with great success. They are gentle and safe to take during all stages of pregnancy, at birth and beyond.
Aconite: this is an excellent remedy to think of for the woman (or her partner) who goes into a state of fear and shock when the first contractions begin – it will help calm and centre them so that they can get on with the job without panic.
Gelsemium: often given to women prior to and during labour. It is an excellent remedy for nerves relating to the anticipation of a big event and also for the level of exhaustion, shaking or weakness often seen during contractions. It can help the woman to maintain her strength during the labour.
Pulsatilla: this remedy is useful at all stages of pregnancy from preconception to post birth. It is most suited to gentle, tearful types who are better for company and support and have some insecurities about the next stage they have to face. Usually these people will be better from some fresh air and do not drink as much as they should to keep hydrated.
Sepia: often given to the woman who is emotionally flat and physically exhausted. This remedy is a great hormone balancer. Those needing this remedy are just so tired, they prefer to be left alone – they would like some space to read a book or sit quietly although, if they can muster the strength to do it, they feel greatly revived from some vigorous exercise.
These examples of simple situations and remedies used, give a small indication of the potential homeopathy holds for all women at one of the most important times of their life. Optimum health at this time is highly desirable so consider engaging the support of a qualified homeopath who can look at the range of aspects, acute and chronic, that make you unique at this wonderful time. Homeopathic care will greatly enhance your birth experience.