Although I am in favor of natural childbirth and letting Mother-Nature take its course, I realize there are times when a woman may need medical assistance before, during or after labor and delivery. Familiar with the wonderful results of natural medicines, my first choice for childbirth is to try homeopathy.
EFFECTIVENESS OF HOMEOPATHY
Homeopathy is a form of holistic medicine that has been used since the 1700s, beginning in Europe. It is safe, gentle, and is one of the most common forms of alternative medicine practiced today worldwide. In addition, it can be used during delivery, while many herbs and medications are contraindicated. It is also safe in the event of surgery, as in a cesarean section.
According to a French double blind study, homeopathic medicine has been shown to shorten labor time and help prevent or minimize the possibility of a difficult birth if taken daily at the beginning of the ninth month. In the study, the pregnant women were selected regardless of age or number of deliveries. The analysis of 93 participants revealed that those women receiving homeopathic treatment had an average delivery time of 5.1 hours compared to the placebo group of 8.7 hours; and difficult labors were 11% for the homeopathic group compared to 40% for the placebo group.
HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES FOR CHILDBEARING
There are a multitude of homeopathic medicines that can be used in labor and delivery. The following are the more commonly used ones.
Arnica Montana (Routinely used every hour) For muscular-skeletal injuries/swelling of cervix
Contractions with no dilation
Thick and closed cervix, “stuck”
Muscular weakness, exhausted, nervous
Also great for after-birth pains.
Cimicifuga racemosa (Black cohosh)
Sharp spasms, contractions feel like electric shocks
Black cloud – useful memories of a difficult previous birth, miscarriage, abortion. etc.
Failure to progress and dilate
Likely to be effective when Caulophyllum fails to act
End of labor
Good for anticipation anxiety (i.e. prior to birth)
Emotional, cries easily, anxious
Sensitive to pain
Feels better with open air/fan, lack of thirst
Kali carbonicum is one of my favorite remedies for back labor. Although it is not on the top-5 list, I like to keep it on hand during labor. Back labor, better with pressure on the back. Posterior presentation (sunny-side up)
Homeopathic medicines come in different strengths. For use in the last trimester, I prefer the 30C potency. During labor, the stronger 200C is preferable.
How to Use
Place 3 pellets under the tongue, no eating for 5-10 min. Alternately, the 3 pellets can be placed in a small bottle of water (one remedy/bottle). Shake and sip.
HOMEOPATHY DURING PREGNANCY
Homeopathic medicine is versatile, and can be taken at the end of pregnancy, or during labor and delivery. Because of the research, some women prefer to begin taking the remedies in the last trimester of pregnancy (week 37), while others choose to wait until labor. It is a personal choice! Personally, I found the remedies helpful during my home births.
Third Trimester Protocol: Directions for Use
Week 37 and Week 38, take each remedy once a week on alternate days
Arnica 30C (Monday)
Caulophyllum 30C (Tuesday)
Cimicifuga 30C (Wednesday)
Gelsemium 30C (Thursday)
Pulsatilla 30C (Friday)
Week 39, 40 and beyond, take each homeopathic medicine daily.
HOMEOPATHY DURING LABOR AND DELIVERY
Use Arnica 200C hourly. In addition, the most commonly used remedies would be Caulophyllum 200C and Cimicifuga 200C. They can be used as frequently as every 15 to 30 minutes.
HOMEOPATHY FOR POSTPARTUM
After birth is is not uncommon for moms to experience mood swings, crying and depression due to the change in one’s hormones and lifestyle and from lack of sleep, etc. Fortunately, homeopathic remedies are safe to use while breastfeeding.
The following remedies, Ignatia and Sepia, can be used for minor postpartum depression.
Copyright © 2008 Dr. Feder – All Rights Reserved
Lauren Feder, M.D. specializes in homeopathy, pediatrics and primary care medicine. Known for her holistically minded approach and for combining the “best of both worlds,” Dr. Feder is a frequent lecturer for parents and professionals and is the author of Natural Baby and Childcare and The Parents’ Concise Guide to Childhood Vaccinations.