With the fast-paced way of life on offer today, we are even more concerned about how to live a conscious healthy life, and how to stay true to what we know is good for us and our family. Maybe you are not sure what tools you need to be able to care for your family naturally? Alice Kleinsman, Naturopath from Be Well Naturally shares her advice on safe and effective homeopathy treatments for pregnancy as well as during and after birth. She covers nausea, exhaustion, heartburn, healing, mastitis and milk supply in her in-depth guide to homeopathy for mothers and babies.
- NAUSEA AND MORNING SICKNESS
The causes for this were commonly thought to be related to hormonal changes but it is now recognized that our emotional state also has a significant bearing on morning sickness. Doubt, ambivalence, fear resentment, disgust and denial can all contribute to the nausea or aggravate it. When trying to find a remedy yourself, it is important to be honest about your thoughts and feelings about the baby, and to take them into account.
Some possible homeopathic remedies for nausea:
Ipecac 30c – dislike of food in general. Dislike smell of food. Persistent violent nausea. Complaints recur periodically at regular or intermittent intervals. Vomiting with headache, worse after eating and bending down
Colchicum 30c – heightened sense of smell, especially with egg. Symptoms are worse after anger. Bloated feeling, no appetite
Cocculus Indicus 30c – the person is hungry but has a dislike of food. This is a remedy for complete exhaustion from lack of sleep, caring for sick patients, etc. There may be headache with nausea
- EXHAUSTION DURING PREGNANCY
Tiredness and/or exhaustion during pregnancy can take the edge off enjoying your pregnancy and may be easily rectified. Its major causes are hormonal and physical changes, unexpressed or unresolved emotional difficulties, and anaemia. You need to remember to look at the whole picture, bearing in mind that you might be anaemic or simply overworked. Be honest and realistic about why you are tired, and take common sense measures to look after yourself, as well as the appropriate remedies to hasten your recovery, whether they are herbal, homeopathic or other.
Some Possible remedies for exhaustion:
- Alternate Kali Phos and Calc Phos if you are suffering nervous exhaustion
- Alternate Ferrum Metallicum and Calc Phos if you have mild anaemia.
Either may be taken as often as necessary throughout the pregnancy as cell salts, stopping when there is an improvement
Remember that tea, coffee, chocolate, and smoking deplete the body of iron
- HEARTBURN IN PREGNANCY
In late pregnancy your stomach has a smaller space in which to expand and so indigestion and heartburn become more common.
Our whole digestion system works differently during pregnancy, due to hormonal changes. For example, hormones relax the sphincter of the stomach, making it easier for acid to escape into the oesophagus, resulting in the familiar burning pain of heartburn. Also our digestion slows down and the liver works differently.
Bearing these things in mind, there are a few things that you can do to relieve this uncomfortable situation:
- Eat smaller more frequent meals
- Eat slowly and chew thoroughly
- Cut down on fatty foods as the gallbladder and liver are working at a different rate
- Experiment with foods to find out which foods are more difficult to tolerate
- Squat where possible instead of bending over
- Lie down on an angle to discourage acid leaking into the oesaphagus
- Avoid drinking a lot with your meal
- Don’t take antacids without professional advice as they can upset the balance of acidity in the stomach even more, as well as affecting your iron absorption
Some remedies which may help:
BRYONIA 30 C: heartburn in conjunction with indigestion. This may be helpful when you are very thirsty, want to lie still and not move, and are worse from eating flatulent type food, such as beans, cabbages.
CALC CARB 30C: helpful when you feel bloated, and your abdomen feels hard, and you are making sour belches. A keynote of calc carb is the desire for strange and indigestible things during pregnancy like chalk, coal, etc
MERC SOL 30C: the stomach feels empty and out of sorts with hiccups and burping
NAT M 30C: when the heartburn is worse after eating starchy foods. There may be watery belching, desire for salt and a bitter taste in the mouth. Especially relevant when there is suppression of emotions
NUX VOM 30C: this remedy may be useful for chilly people who are prone to getting angry, and who overeat, drink a lot of coffee or are under a lot of mental strain. For these people, they feel better for hot drinks and for the warmth of bed
ZINC 30C: for heartburn with sweetish belches, and a metallic taste in your mouth. This remedy is suitable for people who are run down and weary from stress and overwork
As always, remedies need to be matched as closely as possible, and all emotional and mental states need to be taken into consideration. The remedy can be taken 10 minutes after food, and repeated every 1 to 4 hourly if required. If after 6 or so doses, there is no change it may not be the correct remedy for you at the time. Seek help if it remains an ongoing problem
- REMEDIES FOR USE DURING AND AFTER THE BIRTH
ARNICA 1M – To support mother at all stages of labour and with her recovery afterwards. Arnica is used to heal bruising, pain relief and shock.
BELLIS PERENNIS 30C - To heal damage to deep tissue
CALENDULA 30C – for healing of any wounds
CAULLOPHYLLUM 200C - To help if contractions slow or stop. The mother may be tired, chilly, shivery and thirsty.
GELSEMIUM 30C - To help if the mother feels anxious in anticipation of the birth. There may be 'flu' like symptoms - Shivering / Lethargic / Aching / Dazed
HYPERICUM 1M - To heal pain in the spine. Also Hypericum is used to heal any after effects of epidural, episiotomy, forceps delivery or Caesarean section.
KALI PHOS 30C - To support mother and birth partner if very tired.
PHOSPHORUS 30C - To help stop heavy bleeding after birth. Also, to help recovery from anaesthesia.
PULSATILLA 30C - To support mother when she is discouraged and may be tearful and needy.
SABINA 200C – When there is profuse forceful bleeding with dark clots. The slightest movement seems to trigger more flow
- MASTITIS – BLOCKED DUCTS/BREAST INFECTIONS
Prompt treatment when a blocked duct is suspected can prevent a more serious situation from developing.
Soreness and a lump in the breast are some of the signs of a blocked duct. Once you have a fever, this is a sign that an infection has begun and you need to deal with it immediately. Homeopathy is very quick and effective at dealing with breast infections and abscesses. I took a remedy on about the 6th day after Ina was born and within 5 minutes of having felt very sick – I didn’t want anyone around, I wanted to just lie in bed, I had a fever – I was up and fine again. Homeopathy is far safer to use than antibiotics, but you do need to act fast if you don’t want to use orthodox medicines.
Other things which may help are:
- The use of hot and cold compresses alternately. Cabbage leaves put over the affected area of the breast as a compress can also help
- Increasing your fluid intake
- Changing positions of the baby when breastfeeding – someone can help you to find a position that will drain the breast effectively
- Drain the affected breast as completely as possible with each feed and start breastfeeding using the affected breast first
- Massage the area gently from the outermost point in towards the nipple
Some homeopathic remedies which may help and are useful to have on hand before you get into the situation of a blocked duct are :
- Bryonia 30c– as soon as the first symptoms of pain or hardness come on. This remedy will often stop the process immediately
- Phytolacca 30c– if Bryonia fails to stop it within 48 hours, use phytolacca
- Belladonna 30c– if there are red streaks
If an infection does eventuate,
- Hepar Sulph 30c– with compresses as above followed by
- Silica30c– once the infection has gone down
- INCREASING YOUR MILK SUPPLY NATURALLY
It can be very distressing to be in the situation of feeling like there is not enough milk for your baby. Desperation and lack of confidence in your own abilities to satisfy this beautiful little being with the nourishment they need is a really difficult place to be for any mother, whether it is their first, second, or even tenth child.
In situations like this, advice from well meaning “experts” – and most people seem to consider themselves to be experts in this area for some reason – so often just isn’t helpful, and can even be damaging
Whatever the reason is for there “not being enough milk” there is always a way to increase your milk supply, and to be mothering your child in EXACTLY THE WAY YOU WANT TO. Homeopathy is one of the easiest most effective tools you can use which will help ensuring you have an abundance of the best milk that your precious baby could have.
By far the biggest reason for insufficient milk flow is the emotional state of the mother. Nursing provides a strong connection between the mother and her baby, on a similar plane to the connection via the umbilical cord during the pregnancy. Strong emotions experienced by the mother are thus transmitted to her baby. As any nursing mother knows and will tell you, when she is upset, her baby will often be tense, agitated and upset, and her emotions will be reflected in her milk flow
So, MOTHER NATURE TO THE RESCUE. There is always a solution. There have been instances of mothers who have adopted babies being able to breastfeed the child, even without carrying them through the pregnancy. There are also stories of women using homeopathy to increase the milk flow, and they have been able to breastfeed a baby when they haven’t managed to breastfeed earlier children. Women were known to swap babies, so that a strongly suckling baby would increase the supply of a mother, while the other baby was able to nurse from someone with a plentiful supply. Women have always managed to find a way to nurture their babies in the best way they could.
- GET SUPPORT
- Have a nutritioussnack with every feed
- Feed your baby often
- Drink plenty of nourishing fluids– water, iced water, iced drinks made with fresh fruit. Yoghurt shakes, hot or cold herbal teas (with caution) grain coffees like dandelion and roasted barley, vegetable or meat broths, coconut cream smoothies
- Take Lots of rest
- Do relaxation exercises
- Switch your baby from one side to the other often
- Imagine milk flowing freely, maybe while lying in a warm bath
- BREATHE SLOWLY AND DEEPLY
- Listen to music, read an inspiring book, watch something relaxing, and take time
- Go somewhere quiet and make sure you are not interrupted
- DEAL WITH ANY EMOTIONAL DIFFICULTY YOU ARE EXPERIENCING, since shock or distress can affect your let down reflex. Talk to someone you can trust, who will listen without giving unsolicited advice
- TRUST YOURSELF AND YOUR BABY and don’t take notice of unhelpful remarks from relatives, or from professionals who are obsessed with weight gain. YOU WILL KNOW IN YOUR HEART IF THINGS AREN’T RIGHT. Trust your intuition, and follow your baby’s cues
SOME HELPFUL REMEDIES:
CALCAREA CARBONICA: Despairing of getting well, anxious about health, melancholic, fearful, slow sluggish. Breasts may be large and uncomfortable or small with minimal flow. Better for heat, lying down, being constipated
CHAMOMILLA: They are angry and excitable, and depressed. They like being alone and don’t want to be touched. They are irritable and quarrelsome, and very sensitive to pain.
IGNATIA: The picture for ignatia is that of suppression of emotions – whether that is grief from loss or bereavement, shock, anger with anxiety, being “told off”, punished or contradicted – and extreme disappointment. The physical symptoms themselves may be contradictory. Generally, they are averse to fresh air, dislike fruit and milk, have hot sweat on single parts of the body. They are better for eating and for heat and worse for drinking coffee and using tobacco
LAC CANINUM: The mother may be extremely sensitive to light and noise, and is very sensitive to her surroundings. The indicators for Lac caninum are that the flow may diminish from first one breast and then the other. This remedy is also an important one in the drying up of an overabundant supply of milk
LACTUCA VIROSA: Delirium and sleeplessness, coldness. Great restlessness, ill humoured fretful and peevish. A specific remedy for developing the flow when no other remedy is indicated
NATRUM MURIATICUM: when the milk flow stops due to an acute emotional experience. The mother will usually withdraw, physically or emotionally, and reject any help or consolation. The milk either dries up or the baby does not thrive. The physical indications are thirst, extreme, desire for salt, better for lying down and resting, better after sweating; worse after eating, after exposure to the sun, heat, and for physical exertion
PULSATILLA: Swollen and painful breasts, and a tearful mother. A weak and insufficient flow that is changeable and variable. Worse for cold, damp, or chill, such as getting hot and then taking a cold shower and the milk flow slows; or for getting her feet wet. Pain when the baby nurses. Better for fresh air
RICINUS COMMUNIS: This is a specific for increasing the quantity of milk in breastfeeding mothers. It is also said to work wonders in developing milk if applied externally to the breast as castor oil
URTICA URENS: This remedy is useful when there is simply non-appearance of milk, or no let down of the milk, and there is no apparent reason for it to be so, and there are no other symptoms indicating another remedy.