by Janine Whitfield
• One in six couples find it hard to conceive.
• Miscarriage reportedly occurs in 20% of all pregnancies.
• Morning sickness and nausea are common to about 70% of pregnant women.
• Over 20% of labours are induced.
• During labour about one third of women have an epidural, general or spinal anaesthetic.
• Over 10% have prolonged or difficult labours requiring one or more interventions such as a forceps or ventouse delivery.
• 13% of women require an episiotomy.
• Almost a quarter of all births are by caesarean.
• Many new mothers give up breastfeeding after only a few weeks.
• 10% of women experience post natal depression.
(NHS Maternity statistics September 2008; Patient UK statistics 2008)
I believe that homeopathy can help to avoid a lot of these problems. I have recently launched a new service to help local couples through all the stages of starting and raising a family, offering individually tailored homeopathic consultations and treatment programmes for pre-conception health and fertility, pregnancy support, labour and birth, and babies and children.
While my husband and I were trying for a baby and getting nowhere for over 18 months, I read in a wonderful book, by the obstetrician Dr Gowri Motha, that you wouldn’t expect to run a marathon without doing appropriate preparation! This struck a chord with me, and I started thinking about what changes I might need to make in order to conceive.
We used homeopathy to address any ongoing health issues that might be reducing our chances of conceiving, to raise our general wellbeing, energy and immunity, to promote balanced hormone levels, and to help manage our levels of stress and anxiety. At the same time, we worked on our diet to ensure we were getting a good balance of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients, and added more regular gentle exercise into our lifestyle. It all paid off and I became pregnant.
The logical next step was to think about supporting our pregnancy, birth and new arrival in the same way. I used homeopathy for physical, mental and emotional support throughout. It helped me to stay healthy and problem-free, energetic, positive and in control. I’m keen to help other couples, based on my own experiences and my training as a homeopath.
The idea is to get ‘match fit’ in preparation for all stages. Of course the unexpected can and does happen. But there’s so much that you can do naturally to make sure you have the best possible chances of conceiving, maintaining a healthy pregnancy, and having a positive, natural birthing experience.
So what is homeopathy? Homeopathy is an alternative system of medicine which uses carefully selected natural remedies to stimulate the body’s own forces of balancing, healing and recovery. It recognizes that health problems are the body’s response to physical, mental and emotional disharmony, and seeks to treat the underlying cause of any imbalance rather than just the symptoms of the illness.
Homeopathic remedies work on an energetic level within the body. They are a unique, non-toxic form of treatment, with no associated side-effects or risks of addiction, safe to use even where conventional drugs would be inadvisable. This makes them an ideal choice for use in pre-conception, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and early years.
Pre-conception and fertility
The causes of infertility are many and varied. Homeopathy addresses the root causes of problems, helping to bring the body back into balance. This can positively effect hormone production and balance, regulating periods, sperm count, production and motility.
There is a strong body of evidence to show that homeopathy aids fertility. In one German study, more than half of women with fertility problems experienced improved ovulation or pregnancy after taking prescribed homeopathic remedies.
Pregnancy and the ante-natal period
During pregnancy, conventional medicines are advised against, yet there are many complaints that occur commonly such as nausea and vomiting, low energy, cystitis and thrush, varicose veins, swollen legs and ankles, constipation and piles, blood pressure problems and gestational diabetes.
Homeopathy is safe to use in addressing these problems, and the health benefits that are achieved in terms of boosting general energy and immunity can benefit the baby too. Homeopathy addresses both physical symptoms and mental and emotional aspects, which can help you to approach the birth of your baby feeling calmer, more positive and in control.
Childbirth and the post-natal period
During the birth, a well-stocked homeopathic remedy kit can be an invaluable support. The remedies can help with reducing fear and anxiety – therefore helping with the management of pain and intensity, lifting flagging stamina and promoting regular contractions. This can help to keep interventions to a minimum, which can preserve the delicate balance and exchange of hormones between mother and baby, essential for the birthing and bonding processes.
Post-natally, remedies can help the mother with her physical recovery and healing, as well as encouraging good milk flow, relieving any symptoms of mastitis, and helping with any breastfeeding difficulties. Remedies can also be used effectively to help deal with any feelings of depression in the days, weeks or months following the birth.
For babies and children, homeopathy can provide safe, gentle, yet powerful help with common problems such as colic, teething, nappy rash, weaning issues, childhood illnesses, sleep disturbances and night terrors, behavioural problems and developmental issues.