Monthly Archives: December 2012

Advice on safe use of herbs & aromatherapy in pregnancy. Also a look at other beneficial therapies for pregnant women.

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Herbs in pregnancy

Herbal remedies are for the most part quite safe to be taken during pregnancy; some are useful alternatives to drugs both in chronic illness and for acute minor problems that may arise during pregnancy.

Caution It is still preferable to take no medication whatsoever in the first three months, unless there is a specific problem that needs treatment. There are herbs that should never be taken in pregnancy because in large amounts they can cause uterine contractions and thereby risk miscarriage. Always check the herbs you wish to take are safe for pregnant women.

Herbs which are safe to take in culinary doses but not as a medicine during  pregnancy:  Celery seed, cinnamon, fennel, fenugreek, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, saffron.

Many herbs can simply be prepared at home, but do consult a qualified medical herbalist if you need reassurance. As a general rule, a tea is made from a few teaspoons of the dried herb in boiling water; a decoction is made by boiling a beneficial root or bark and drinking the resulting liquid and a tincture is a pre- prepared, concentrated liquid form of the herb that is taken a few drops/millilitres at a time. A good book to have at hand is, ‘The complete Woman’s Herbal – a manual of healing herbs and nutrition for personal wellbeing and family care,’  by Anne McIntyre. She is the herbalists’ herbalist and well-respected throughout the profession. Much of the information on herbalism in my blogs comes from her book.

Aromatherapy in pregnancy

It is advisable not to massage essential oils or place essential oils in the bath for the first three months of pregnancy. Always check that an essential oil is safe in pregnancy. Julia Lawless, an aromatherapist who has written several books, is always reliable and Purple Flame, a good quality essential oil supplier, will always give you good advice over the phone.  Never use oils without diluting them in a base oil (usually almond or grape seed oil). The general rule for none pregnant users is 12 drops of essential oils to 30 ml of base oil. In pregnancy  use a smaller proportion of essential oils (about 6 drops essential oil/ 30 ml base oil). If putting oils in the bath or foot bath mix a maximum of 6 drops in a little base oil or milk before adding to the water. When vaporizing oils, add 6 drops of essential to hot water and place the dish over the burner.

Bach flower Remedies:  Very helpful for emotional transitions. Rescue Remedy, a combination of remedies, is a key player in keeping calm at times of stress. Good for both mother and partner throughout labour and birth. Add a few drops to a glass or bottle of water and sip regularly.

Acupuncture: Helps most problems in pregnancy and is useful as an aid to childbirth.

Reflexology: Helps most problems in pregnancy.

Chiropractor / Osteopathy/ Bowen:  These therapies can help many back and joint problems.

Massage therapy:  A well-trained and experienced massage therapist that has specialised in pregnancy massage will be able to help alleviate muscle aches and tensions. A good massage therapist will help you relax, sleep better, enhance the general well-being and the immune system of you and your baby, and give advice on beneficial exercises you can do at home. They should also be able to advise you on pain relieving massage techniques for your partner to help you in pregnancy and labour.

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An introduction to Homeopathy for Pregnancy and Childbirth. How can it help?The basic principles.

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Homeopathy in pregnancy

Homeopathy is excellent for pregnancy, childbirth and babies.  Provided you find
yourself a good book and follow the guidelines it is safe.  Better still, find yourself a
homeopath.

A highly recommended book is, ‘Homeopathy for mother and baby – pregnancy
birth and the post natal year’ by Miranda Castro.  She is the homeopath’s
homeopath and well respected throughout the profession.  The book not only explains
how to use homeopathy, gives remedies for ailments but also very good down to earth
advice on diet, mental and physical health in pregnancy, labour and birth, breast
feeding and early motherhood. Much of the information on homeopathy in this blog is from Miranda’s book.

What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a gentle yet highly effective form of complementary medicine that can
offer support on many levels – physical, emotional, and mental.  It works by
stimulating the body’s own healing power so that it can clear itself of many symptoms
of illness and reach a balance.  It cannot harm you or your baby because there are no
toxic side effects.  It is therefore and ideal treatment at a time when most conventional
drugs are prohibited.  It also has the added benefit of boosting the vitality and health
of your baby.

General rules when taking homeopathy
Homeopathy comes in different strengths.  It is usually sold as tiny pillules.  From the chemist you can buy pillules with strength 6c or 30c. 6c is the lowest dose.
If you buy a birth kit, the strength will be 200c.  The larger the number, the stronger the dose.
Homeopathy should be kept away from strong smells.  Never touch the tablet.  Tip
one into the lid and then tip the lid into your mouth.  If you drop a tablet, throw it
away, never put a dropped or handled tablet back in the bottle.
Let the tablet dissolve under your tongue.  Leave at least ten minutes between taking
and tablet and eating, drinking and brushing your teeth.
Strong smells, coffee, peppermint and camphor can anti-dote homeopathy.
You will know quite quickly whether a remedy has worked.  Take another pill when
you feel symptoms returning.
Homeopaths talk about your ‘picture’- this means the symptoms and emotions you are
displaying.
A ‘constitutional’ remedy acts on a very deep level.  It is a remedy that is given to you
by a professional homeopath.

Pre-conception
Homeopathy can be highly successful in treating infertility and regular homeopathic
treatment prior to conception helps maintain a good level of health.

Pregnancy
Self-subscribing homeopathy can treat many of the less serious symptoms of
pregnancy such as morning sickness and constipation.  It can also help with emotional
symptoms that may arise in both parents adjust to approaching parenthood.  More
serious complaints such as raised blood pressure, symphisis pubis dysfunction and a
baby in breech position are best helped by a professional homeopath.

Birth
Homeopathic remedies are an excellent way of managing birth.  It helps mothers to
relax and follow the natural birth process and giver partners a role as they help to
choose the remedies.  Birthing packs are now available from the Homeopathic
pharmacies, Helios and Ainsworth.
They contain 18 most commonly needed remedies for pregnancy, childbirth and
recovery.  They also contain a mini materia medica, a booklet
which helps you to decide which remedy is needed.

Pain relief in labour
Homeopathy can provide pain relief, give energy to an exhausted mother and ensure
the smooth progression of labour.  It can also be used to induce labour and speed up
flagging contractions once labour is underway.

The use of homeopathy before and after labour can reduce bruising for mother and
baby, can heal nerve damage to the vagina and coccyx, and help heal tears and
stitches.

Mastitis and cracked nipples
Respond wonderfully to homeopathy.  The correct remedy can bring about relief
within a few hours, avoiding the use of antibiotics so early in the baby’s life.

Colic
If the baby has colic, constipation or sticky eyes, they can all be swiftly cured using
the appropriate remedy.

Post natal depression
Can be greatly helped with homeopathy.  The correct remedy will help a woman
rebalance after one of the biggest changes in her life, smoothing the way into her new
role.