Homeopathy, an alternative medicine that’s been around of 100s of years, can be used as a complementary therapy for labour.
So, what is it, how does it work and how can homeopathy making an impact during your child’s birth?
Everything you need to know about homeopathy for labour…
What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a 200-year-old practice is based on the concept of ‘like cures like’, using very diluted plant extracts to prompt the body’s own healing processes into action and accelerate recovery.
It has a real mixed reception in UK medical circles: some doctors see homeopathy as complementary to traditional medicine and may even practice themselves, others may dismiss it out of hand as nonsense.
So, while it might be something to explore as part of your birth plan – it certainly shouldn’t replace traditional medicine in emergency situations, and we’d definitely suggest discussing it with your midwife beforehand.
How does homeopathy work in labour?
During labour, homeopathy may help you progress by relaxing you and relieving physical tensions, or by giving you a mental and emotional boost when the going gets tough.
It’s not likely it’ll help loads with pain relief – so you may want to consider all of the other pain relief options available to you, as well.
To use it in labour, you should really consult a (properly accredited) holistic practitioner.
Practitioners typically assess you and take into account the physical symptoms, but also your physical and emotional well-being to produce an overall picture of symptoms.
There are also several set remedies typically used during labour, which they can explain and go over with you in detail.
However, if you’re already a pro, you can potentially treat yourself with homeopathic methods.
When can I use homeopathy?
You can use homeopathy at any stage during labour and birth.
You might find you want to change remedies to deal with new situations, physical pains and emotions as your labour progresses.
There are remedies to help speed up contractions, relieve pressure, combat dizziness, reassure and calm, re-energise and so on.
Is homeopathy safe to try during labour?
Homeopathy is thought to be safe to use during pregnancy and labour as it uses low potency remedies with no side-effects.
If you’re already experienced in self-prescribing by the time labour comes along and have consulted a practitioner specifically on remedies for labour, then in theory, you will be able to self-prescribe on the day.
In practice, you may need to delegate responsibility for this to your birth partner as you’ll likely have other things on your mind during the labour itself!
So, keep in mind that your birth partner needs to be clued up, too…
It may be the case that your medical team or midwife has experience of homeopathy, in which case they may be very supportive of your decision to use homeopathy – or it might be the case they know little about it at all.
That said: we really think that, to be on the safe side, you should tell your midwife about any remedies you’ve used, or plan to use.
Whenever you take any homeopathic remedy, you should avoid food in the half-hour before and after and avoid strong substances such as mint toothpastes, mints and coffee.
This shouldn’t present much of an issue during labour itself – but still, worth knowing ?
Where can I find a homeopath?
As we’ve noted above, you should always speak to a pro when trying complementary therapies for your labour – and make sure your pro really is a pro.
The Society Of Homeopaths and the British Homeopathic Association can provide you with contact details for your local practitioners so that you can have an initial consultation.
When you’re comfortable with self-prescribing, there are several books with specific recommendations for pregnancy and birth including:
- Dr. Richard Moskowitz’s Homeopathic Medicines for Pregnancy and Childbirth, North Atlantic Books (1992)
- Birth and Beyond by obstetrician Dr. Yehudi Gordon.
The British Homeopathic Association also has a guide to labour and childbirth, which you may want to read – if only to get an idea of what possible options there are.
Mums share their homeopathic experiences
We haven’t heard from many MFM mums who’ve used remedies DURING labour, though we have heard from a couple who say it helped bring their labour on.
“An hour before i went into labour, I took pulsatilla homeopathy tablets (aimed for people in slow labour or if your labour has started and stopped),” says MFMer Charliemummy.
“So I’d say that you try homeopathy because it worked for me!”
And a few mums said that after labour, they tried Arnica tablets, bought from Boots, to help with bruising post-birth.
(Apparently, you need to take ’em without touching the tablet…)
“Yes arnica is wonderful. I am not sure why you are not to touch them but I just tip one into the cap and then straight under my tongue. It will make such a difference to your healing! x” says Petunia T.
Babs4 adds: “I took them after all three of my babies and yes its strange not being able to touch them, I used to pop the lid and tip one in a bit of tissue so not to get ‘germs’ on the lid!!!”
“They def helped with healing as I’ve had stitches 3 times and oooh they did smart just a bit LOL.”
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Images: Getty Images