Complementary therapies for pregnancy and childbirth
Choosing complimentary therapies for pregnancy and childbirth can be confusing, especially if you have never used them before. Think of them as extra support that can safely cure and alleviate many ailments of pregnancy and childbirth as well as empower and enhance the health and well being of you and your baby. By choosing to use complementary therapies you are not rejecting the expertise of your midwife or obstetrician, simply building up your own health on the foundation of their care.
Pregnancy is not an illness – For much of the 20th century pregnancy was regarded as an illness. The reason was that with the advent of industrialisation came the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in which many women lived. Often they did not have good health to start with and a rapid succession of pregnancies, hard physical labour both at work and at home, lots of children to look after and poor nutrition, meant that women weakened rapidly, which sadly led to many deaths of mother and child in childbirth. Improvements in sanitation and nutrition as well as huge technological and medical advances mean that today we rarely hear of tragedies in childbirth. However, the down side of these advances has been the over- medicalisation of pregnancy. This often leaves many women feeling disempowered, so over the last decade there has been a recognisable shift in the medical profession towards women taking a pro-active role in the choices they make for their pregnancy and labour. Obstetricians now concentrate on the pregnancies with complications and the midwives look after all the healthy ‘normal’ cases. Women are encouraged to eat a well balanced diet, take supplements, if necessary, and exercise regularly. Many midwives actively encourage women to use complementary therapies and some are even trained in the use of a complementary therapy, for example, massage, homeopathy, acupuncture and shiatsu. Delivery rooms are now geared more towards active birth. The days of inactive, passive pregnancies and trying to give birth on your back with your legs in stirrups are hopefully well and truly over!