Homeopathy: Pregnancy, Postpartum, and Newborn Care
By Jen Wittes and Tana Harahan
Let’s jump right in. Yesterday we explored the basics of homeopathy. Now we hone in on the specifics of treating those nearest and dearest to the Welcome Baby Care staff—moms and babies!
Pregnancy…there are so many contradictions and recommendations. An expectant mother is likely to have her fears and doubts about starting any new treatment. Are there any safety issues for pregnant women?
Homeopathy is extremely safe for mom and baby. There are few, if any, absolute contraindications to homeopathic treatment. In fact, I would wholeheartedly advise that homeopathy be the first line of defense, as it is the most gentle. It’s not only safe…it’s the safest treatment for a woman with child.
What are some examples of conditions commonly and successfully treated by homeopathy during pregnancy?
Chronic miscarriage, nausea, vomiting, anemia, malnutrition, emotional problems, headaches, yeast infections, fatigue, digestive issues, bowel complaints, hemorrhoids, bleeding, hypertension, and edema. There are actually many, many more! Pre pregnancy, homeopathy can even alleviate fertility struggles.
What are some examples of common remedies for pregnancy issues?
As discussed yesterday, no remedy is used for a specific condition without the whole picture (mental, emotional). Sometimes we will simply suggest nutritional changes. This can be especially beneficial with morning sickness.
While we do look at the whole picture, we have a broad knowledge of possible remedies and a good starting point for each case. There are a handful of typical solutions to every problem and we use the whole health picture to lead us to the right one. Also, we try to achieve a complete goal of health with our treatment. For example, with hypertension we often lean on sulphur and apis, but our typical practice would be to treat the mother’s emotional state with remedy and to, additionally, monitor her diet.
What about actual labor and delivery issues? How is homeopathy used in preparation for and during childbirth?
Homeopathy works wonders with childbirth and labor! We can slow and stop premature labor and false labor. There are gentle ways to induce labor with remedy. There are homeopathic remedies for changing the baby’s presentation, believe it or not, as well as ways to help with prolonged labor, back labor, and difficult labor.
After delivery healing?
Homeopathy can treat most post postpartum complications, even the pain of a C-section recovery. Most people have heard of arnica and after delivery is a great use for it. It helps with bruising, pain and swelling. Another is bellis perennis, which treats the same but is wonderfull for soft tissue like the uterus. Perineum healing would be treated like other lacerations and contusions on the body, the most common remedies for such injuries include calendula, arnica and staphysagria,which is commonly used for infection prevention. There isn’t much we can’t treat with homeopathy. Even if surgery or other interventions are required, homeopathy can and will help afterward.
Is homeopathic treatment available to help new moms with postpartum mood disorders?
It is actually particularly helpful to have the mother treated with homeopathy to avoid drugs being passed through the milk. Babies need a healthy mom, physically and emotionally. A lot of people fail to recognize the effect it plays on baby when mom is not well.
I have treated many mothers with postpartum difficulties. One mother I worked with was so depressed that she wanted to run away, leave her family behind, and give up. She actually did this several times. After treatment, she did a complete 180—healthier and happier than ever.
Another example…a mom brought her baby in for trouble with breastfeeding. Baby was wanting to feed frequently, getting very upset, and screaming. As a result the mother became stressed and doubtful. In this situation, many would assume the baby needed to be treated. Mom needed to be treated as well. In actuality, the mom was depressed and not able to handle the demands of the new baby. The baby was receiving that energy from Mom and became desperate for more contact. Both were treated and breastfeeding continued. Mom was able to move through this and form a healthy bond with her baby.
So homeopathy is definitely safe for breastfeeding mothers?
Homeopathy is extremely safe for breastfeeding mothers. The best part is, Mom’s use will actually help the baby. Whatever the mom is experiencing, chances are, baby is experiencing it as well. The baby may not have the physical aspect but will certainly be picking up on Mom’s distress. When Mom is happy and healthy…so is her baby!
And does homeopathy treat breastfeeding issues? Low supply? Mastitis? Thrush?
Absolutely. Belladona is used for cases of mastitis that come in quickly and bryonia if it is a slower progression. Belledona is one of our more well-known remedies and it is incredibly effective.
If proper care is given, the chances of low milk supply are slim, however, any of our remedies could be used for low milk supply. The mother’s mental and emotional state is usually at the root of supply issues. We have many remedies made from the milk of mammals. These can help with involution, milk supply, and engorgement. Calendula and pulsatilla can help with sore and cracked nipples.
Now we know that treating Mom helps Baby. Can babies take remedy directly as well?
Right off the bat, again, would be proper treatment of the mother. I can’t emphasize this enough. Mom and baby are one. If mom is thriving on all levels, baby will too.
We do treat babies, but use as little remedy as possible and first approach the problem through treatment of the mother. We also look at things differently than a pediatrician might. We play with diet. We embrace a rash, understanding that the body is eliminating something not working well with the baby’s constitution. We would much rather see an external expression of symptoms than internal. In the case of a diaper rash we would provide topical homeopathic comfort measures such as calendula.
Some common reasons for treating newborns include umbilical care, jaundice, hemorrhagic disease, conjunctivitis, colic, and milk intolerance.
For common baby problems homeopathy can help but there are things that are better left alone. That is one of the greatest things about homeopathy for moms and babies. If we know that a situation can work itself out, we leave it alone. We don’t over-treat.
Like many natural health practices (placentophagy comes to mind), homeopathy is extremely gentle. Under the advice of a licensed homeopath, the practice cannot hurt you. With so many possible benefits, you might want to consider establishing a relationship with a homeopath to compliment to your standard family medical care.