Although I am in favor of natural childbirth and letting Mother-Nature take its course, I realize there are times when a woman may need medical assistance before, during or after labor and delivery. Familiar with the wonderful results with natural medicines, my first choice for childbirth is to try homeopathy.
Homeopathy is a form of holistic medicine that has been used since the 1700s, beginning in Europe. It is safe, gentle, and is one of the most common forms of alternative medicine practiced today worldwide.* (1) In addition, it can be used during delivery, while many herbs and medications are contraindicated. It is also safe in the event of surgery, as in a cesarean section.
According to a French double blind study, *(2) homeopathic medicine has been shown to shorten labor time and help prevent or minimize the possibility of a difficult birth if taken at the beginning of the ninth month daily. In the study, the pregnant women were selected regardless of age or number of deliveries. The analysis of 93 participants revealed that those women receiving homeopathic treated had an average delivery time of 5.1 hours compared to the placebo group of 8.7 hours, and difficult labors were 11% for the homeopathic group compared to 40% for the placebo group.
Homeopathic medicine is versatile, and can be taken at the end of pregnancy, or during labor and delivery. Because of the research, some women prefer to begin taking the remedies in the last trimester of pregnancy (week 37), while others choose to wait until labor. It is a personal choice! Personally, I found the remedies helpful during my home births. Although there are many factors that can influence our births, many women feel empowered by being able to participate in their healthcare.
Directions for Use
Third Trimester Protocol
Week 37 and Week 38, take each remedy once a week on alternate days (i.e. Arnica 30C (Monday), Caulophyllum 30C (Tuesday), Cimicifuga 30C (Wednesday) , Gelsemium 30C (Thursday) and Pulsatilla 30C (Friday).
Week 39, 40 and beyond, take each homeopathic medicine daily.
Remedies During Labor
Use Arnica 200C hourly. In addition, the most commonly used remedies would be Caulophyllum 200C and Cimicifuga 200C. They can be used as frequently as every 15 to 30 minutes.
Homeopathic medicines come in different strengths. For use in the last trimester, I prefer the 30C potency. During labor, the stronger 200C is preferable.
How to Use
Place 3 pellets under the tongue, no eating for 5-10 min. Alternately, the 3 pellets can be placed in a small bottle of water (one remedy/bottle). Shake and sip.
There are a multitude of homeopathic medicines that can be used in labor and delivery. The following are the more commonly used ones.
Routinely used every hour
For muscular-skeletal injuries/swelling of cervix
Caulophyllum (Blue cohosh)
Contractions with no dilation
Thick and closed cervix, "stuck"
Muscular weakness, exhausted, nervous
Also great for after-birth pains.
Cimicifuga racemosa (Black cohosh)
Sharp spasms, contractions feel like electric shocks
Black cloud - useful memories of a difficult previous birth, miscarriage, abortion. etc.
Failure to progress and dilate
Likely to be effective when Caulophyllum fails to act
End of labor
Good for anticipation anxiety (i.e. prior to birth)
Emotional, cries easily, anxious
Sensitive to pain
Feels better with open air/fan, lack of thirst
Kali carbonicum is one of my favorite remedies for back labor. Although it is not on the top-5 list, I like to keep it on hand during labor.
Back labor, better with pressure on the back
Posterior presentation (sunny-side up)
1 -American Medical College of Homeopathy. http://www.amcofh.org/Public/What_is_Homeopathy.html
2. -Dorfman, P. MD, Arnal-Lassiere, M. MD, Tetau, M. MD. Preparaton for Delivery By Homeopathic Treatment. Double Blind vs. Placebo Experimentation. T. Medicine Paris-Ouest. 1986.
3 - Moskowitz, Richard, MD. Homeopathic Medicines for Pregnancy and Childbirth. 1993.
4- Perko, Sandra, PhD. Homeopathy for the Modern Pregnant Woman and her Infant. 1997.