The holistic approach
Homeopathic medicine treats the person as a whole, rather than treating specific conditions in isolation. This ‘holistic’ approach is one of the main differences between homeopathy and conventional medicine. For example, if during your pregnancy you were suffering from morning sickness, backache, pelvic pain and itchy skin the conventional route might involve separate courses of treatment for each symptom; by contrast a homeopath will consider all symptoms together as a whole (whether mental, emotional or physical), possibly addressing them with a single prescription.
Is homeopathy safe for pregnant women?
Homeopathic treatment has an excellent safety record overall. During pregnancy some women choose to live with the discomfort of minor complaints such as morning sickness or heartburn, rather than seek treatment, because they are rightly concerned about the possible effects of conventional medicines on their unborn child. However, because homeopathic medicines are non-toxic and only minute amounts of active ingredients are used in the preparation of homeopathic medicines, they can be used safely in cases involving babies, children, pregnancy and breast-feeding mothers, when the use of conventional drugs would be inadvisable.
The role of homeopathy in pregnancy
Homeopaths provide consultations for women with minor pregnancy-related conditions such as nausea, backache and constipation, as well as providing support for more severe pregnancy-induced symptoms. Homeopathy is widely used and recommended by midwives across the world for a wide range of symptoms and complaints both during and after pregnancy. You may wish to use homeopathy for emotional changes you are experiencing during this exciting but challenging time in your life.
Homeopathy can also be used for health problems which are unrelated to your pregnancy such as allergies or hay fever. Women with pre-existing health problems such as these may have to stop their usual conventional medication when they become pregnant, so homeopathic treatment might be a useful option to consider. Any use of conventional medication during pregnancy should be discussed with the prescribing doctor, your midwife and your homeopath.
Homeopathy during labour
There are homeopathic medicines which appear to be effective in helping during childbirth. There is some preliminary evidence to suggest that these can help with irregular or slowly progressing contractions as well as reducing bleeding after delivery. However, more research is required to be sure of how effective homeopathy can be during childbirth.
I can advise you and your partner on the use of remedies that might help during and after labour; I can prepare or recommend a homeopathic labour kit for this purpose too. Alternatively you may wish to ask me if I am able to attend the birth and help support both partners during a potentially stressful time.
Homeopathy after childbirth
Women seek homeopathic treatment for a variety of problems during the post-natal period – both physical symptoms such as post-delivery healing or sore nipples, and emotional symptoms such as anger or weepiness associated with the ‘baby blues’. Post-natal depression however is a more serious condition and treatment options should be discussed carefully with your health visitor, doctor and homeopath.
There are also homeopathic medicines available for minor symptoms your baby may be experiencing, such as teething pains, colic or nappy rash.
What about seeing my doctor or midwife?
If at any stage of your pregnancy you are concerned about changes in your symptoms, you should contact your doctor and midwife immediately.
Can I treat myself with homeopathic remedies?
You can use some homeopathic remedies at home to help in acute and first aid situations and for minor self-limiting conditions which develop during pregnancy. Ask me for further information or find your nearest class or seminar on this subject.
There are a number of good books available to help you use homeopathy at home or just find out more about homeopathy:
Homeopathy for Mother and Baby: Pregnancy, Birth and the Post Natal Year by Miranda Castro RSHom, Homeopathic Supply Company (April 2005)
Homeopathic Medicines for Pregnancy and Childbirth by Richard Moskowitz MD, North Atlantic Books, US (April 1993)
The Homeopathic Childbirth Manual by Betty Idarius, Idarius Press, USA (2010)
These home-prescribing books give guidance on using homeopathic medicines to treat common minor complaints such as morning sickness, piles and heartburn. However if your symptoms are severe or chronic (persistent), consult your doctor or midwife or a homeopath.
If you are already undergoing a course of homeopathic treatment, it is advisable to check with me before prescribing for yourself, even for minor conditions.