Natural Remedies for

Pregnancy and Childbirth

Using Natural and Homeopathic Medicines in Pregnancy and Childbirth


The guidance of your doctor and midwife is always recommended in pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.

ON THIS PAGE

Starting Labour Naturally: Stories

Homeopathic Remedies for Pregnancy and Childbirth
Including Caulophyllum


Nerves before Childbirth

Herbs
Clary Sage; Milk Thistle; Passion Flower; Raspberry Leaf

Safety of Natural Remedies in Pregnancy and Childbirth

Also read:
Homeopathy in Pregnancy and Childbirth

Women's Health

BACK TO Pregnancy and Childbirth Intro page and full list

Disclaimer
Information on this site is for educational and personal use only, and is not intended in any way as prescription or diagnosis. It is not a substitute for the advice of a doctor, midwife, or other suitably qualified health professional. If you have a medical condition, or take prescription medication, please seek medical advice.

The terms ‘treat’ and ‘treatment’, or similar, do not promise or imply cure.

Information given about products or their ingredients refers to research-based evidence; sources of references are on the Links pages. It would be impossible to fit the information in these references onto this website. Occasionally, information refers to ‘traditional usage’, this reflects well-documented common use, by average people, over many years, often in more than one country. ‘Traditional use’ does not imply any research evidence or safety level, it is included for information only, and is not a recommendation.
Statements about specific products are not paid for by any manufacturer or supplier, and have no commercial purpose. Products are widely available in shops and online; Helen Swan’s clients may purchase Viridian products from her.
Always follow instructions on any product. Do not neglect medical guidance or treatment.
Please read Terms and Conditions before using this website.


Starting Labour Naturally: Stories

inductionAll of these are just anecdotes, make of them what you will, I am not recommending them. They are all stories from various midwives.

Facts

Remember, normal full-term pregnancy can end anywhere between 37 and 42 weeks. You are not late because you pass your date. You are just 'after your due date'.

Statistics indicate that first babies of white mums most commonly (but not always) arrive between 40- 41 weeks. Black, Afro-Carribean and Asian mums, 39-40 weeks. (We tend to use the mother’s background; one study confirms that differences are more strongly associated with the mother's rather than the father's race.)

The one day you are relatively unlikely to start labour is your due date! Relax, go to the pictures, spend some time with your loved one/s, or take a walk. Babies come when they are ready, and the more relaxed you are, the readier the hormones come. That’s why labour often begins when you are asleep!

Excluding medical or congenital conditions, risks in general do not increase until after 42 weeks. It is possible that for black, afro-carribean and asian mums, we should consider risks may increase at over 41 weeks.

Stories

One midwife recommends this to start your labour: “wear your best ever pair of knickers, the ones you definitely do not want to be ruined. Your waters should break real soon.”

Eating pineapple is alleged to help soften the cervix prior to labour. It must be fresh pineapple. Please only eat sensible portions.

Some midwives have used Omega 6 oils to help prepare the cervix, which must soften and widen before labour can truly begin. Omega 6 oils contain GLA, gamma linoleic acid, a pre-cursor of the prostaglandin hormones which soften the cervix, and are commonly used in the first stage of hospital inductions.

Evening primrose oil, Borage (starflower) oil and Blackcurrant oil are all rich sources of Omega 6 and Borage oil is the richest. A midwife can apply the oil directly to the cervix, and some midwives have recommended a capsule to be dissolved in the vagina overnight. Do not do this yourself. I am not recommending this. If your midwife does use this, make sure you wear those special knickers to catch the drips (above). Of course no-one with any vaginal or cervical problems should insert anything into the vagina.

Try Omega 6 oil capsules by mouth, this has no adverse effects in pregnancy, and 2 or 3 500mg capsules a day for a few days might just give your cervix a bit of encouragement.

This is from midwives in Texas, USA. Cumin tea, called ‘comino’.
Put one half-inch cube of raw potato in the bottom of a mug, add 1 teaspoon cumin seed, and top with boiling water. Infuse 5 mins and drink slowly. No more that 3 x day. If you are near to going into labour, this may just tip you over the edge.

No-one knows why the potato is added but it is traditional. You may sweeten the tea if you wish.

Blow up a few balloons. This is a great safe way of increasing your intra-abdominal pressure, which just may stimulate the womb. Also you can save those balloons for the baby party!

Dance, dance, dance. Find some music that moves you, and go for it. Dancing is great in labour too.

Kerb crawl! Not what you think. Find a kerb or similar, somewhere you can walk with one foot up and one foot down. This tips and opens the pelvis wonderfully. Remember to walk back the other way.

A vigorous go on the playground swings has been known to get things moving.

TOP

Homeopathic Remedies for Pregnancy and Childbirth

For a free guide to how to take homeopathic remedies in childbirth, send me an email.

Arnica

arnicaArnica Montana or ‘fall-herb’, a plant remedy.
Arnica is one of the first homeopathic remedies most people try.
It is an easy remedy to understand.

General indications:

• Injuries to soft tissues, bruising, bleeding
• Shock and pain
• Afraid of being touched, or of more pain
• Unaccustomed physical work or exercise: tired!
• Says she is OK when she isn’t really; makes light of it

In pregnancy:

• You have been overdoing it and feel tired sore and achy, but maybe you cannot sleep
• Your baby is bouncing around actively and wearing you out
• Your bed feels hard, you cannot get comfortable
• TAKE One dose Arnica 30C as needed. Remember to use other ways of relaxing too: yoga; quiet reading; a warm bath; meditation or music. This is not the time to read a stressful book about childbirth!

Special indications in childbirth:

• In labour, tired and flagging
• SUGGESTED Homeopathic Arnica 6 or 30C one dose as required; partners and midwives can have some too
• After childbirth, very tired, placenta does not come (if everything else is OK, allow 30 minutes minimum).
• SUGGESTED Homeopathic Arnica 200C, 2 doses 10 minutes apart, in between take some food to boost blood sugar. Stay upright.
You may also find HERBAL Arnica useful, the tincture can be rubbed onto bruised or sore muscles. Not for broken skin.


Bellis Perennis

bellis perennisDaisy, a plant remedy.
Very useful for ligament pains during late pregnancy. Deep pains in the groin or under the tummy.

The ligaments naturally stretch during pregnancy, because or the hormone Relaxin, but in some women this is painful.

Pains are worse while walking and may make walking impossible.

 
SUGGESTED Homeopathic Bellis Perennis 30C one dose as required.

Caulophyllum

caulophyllumThis remedy is made from a lovely North American flowering plant, commonly called Blue Cohosh, or Squaw Root. It is often routinely recommended to women approaching childbirth, and has a long history of safe use. Caulophyllum is traditionally used to ‘tone the womb’. On the face of it, this sounds like a good idea, but your womb may not need it. Let’s look at some guidelines.

The best remedies are not routineLY given, they are given when there is a specific problem. This goes for both natural remedies and prescription medicines. Unfortunately, our natural anxiety in pregnancy (especially a first pregnancy) may lead us to take remedies we do not need.


Caulophyllum helps women with poor muscle tone.
If you are average-fit, you probably don’t need it.
It may be right for you if:

• You have a sedentary lifestyle
• You know you have poor muscle tone generally

Generally, indication for this remedy include feeling:
• Chilly
• Exhausted
• Shaky
• Thirsty
• Anxious
• Or depressed

In pregnancy Caulophyllum may help if:
• You have a lot of irritating Braxton Hicks contractions
• You are well past your due date but nothing is happening. Remember, normal = 37-42 weeks and in a straightforward pregnancy, risks do not increase until after 42 weeks. Talk to your midwife.
• SUGGESTED Caul. 6 or 30c, 3 x day for 2 days. More frequently or higher potencies only if advised by a homeopath.

In labour Caulophyllum may help if:
• Contractions are very painful but after several hours, your cervix is not dilating. Take care here, and ask your midwife if this is to be expected in your case. Early labour commonly takes many hours to get going, especially if it's your first baby or first vaginal delivery.
• Labour pains dart round the abdomen
• Labour slows up. Remember, if you have recently changed something, eg. had a surprise or shock, or just arrived at hospital, this is normal.
SUGGESTED Caul. 6 or 30C, 3 doses in an hour.
• After childbirth, the placenta does not come (if everything else is OK, allow 30 minutes minimum). Caulophyllum may help the womb contract.
SUGGESTED Caul. 200C, 2 doses, 10 minutes apart. Stay upright.

These guidelines refer to HOMEOPATHIC Caulophyllum. It is also used herbally, but there are different guidelines and some safety warnings.


TOP



Nerves before Childbirth

For a free guide to how to take homeopathic remedies in childbirth, send me an email.

Homeopathic treatment: suggestions only. It is always best to talk to a qualified homeopath.

Self-prescribing, SUGGESTED one dose of 200C, or 3 doses 30C in 24 hours.

Aconite
Panicky. Afraid you or the baby will die, or that some calamity will happen. Hot and cold. Restless, with vivid dreams.

Argentum Nitricum
Anxious restless and agitated. Worried something will go wrong or you can’t do it. Maybe sleepless, maybe diarrhoea.

Gelsemium
Anxious about the birth, the pain or difficulty, worried something will go wrong or you can’t do it. The anxiety slows you up, paralyses you and makes you feel like you can’t do anything. Maybe sleepless, maybe diarrhoea.

Nux Vomica
Tense and irritable, snappy, worried about how well things will go, how soon can you be up and working again. Restlessly worrying about all there is to do, can’t sleep, may be constipated, or have indigestion. May want alcohol or spicy foods.

Sepia
Worn out, doing too much, too tired to feel worried; miserable, resentful and weepy but don’t want to talk to anyone. Irritable and snappy. Too tired and fed up to face what’s coming.

See also Passion Flower under Herbs.


TOP


Herbs and Oils

The guidance of your doctor and midwife is always recommended in pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding.

Clary Sage

Delicious smelling herb, most easily used as an essential oil. Traditionally used as a stimulant to begin labour, and to encourage contractions, so do not use it until you are ready (ie. not earlier in pregnancy). I have not found any research at all to back the use of this oil, but it has a long history of traditional usage.

Traditionally, Clary Sage has been used not only to encourage labour but also for difficult periods, hot flushes of menopause, and post-natal depression. A true women’s herb.

Do not use it undiluted on the skin; mix with a carrier oil such as almond, or even olive oil from your kitchen. Apply to your pulse points (temple, wrist or anywhere else not too sensitive). Put 3 -10 drops of pure oil in a bath, or use in an oil vaporiser, in a little water.

Make sure the oil you buy is 100% pure essential oil and not a blend. Organic oil is available.

Milk Thistle

milk thistleA wonderful herb for indigestion or gall bladder problems in pregnancy.

Milk Thistle's active ingredients are compounds collectively called silymarin. Sylmarin acts in several ways. It is an antioxidant, and it stimulates the liver. It assists the liver to digest fats, detox poisons such as alcohol or caffeine, and sustain our energy.

This herb may help with gallbladder problems during pregnancy, problems which may lead to intense itching, and dangers for both mother and baby. Milk Thistle has been shown to improve the solubility of the bile.

Warnings: Milk Thistle is non-toxic and can be taken long-term. It appears to be safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Recommended: Use the purest formula you can get, capsules or tincture, to avoid the added ingredients in tablets. Viridian produce Milk Thistle vegecaps, both organic and non-organic, and an organic tincture (drops). BioHealth Milk Thistle is very good quality and good value. Vogel produce Milk Thistle Tincture.

Passion Flower

This herb is traditionaly believed to be safe in pregnancy, though we have no research on that. Some sources say it is safe and some do not commit themselves. My opinion is, with sensible moderate use, in a straightforward pregnancy, it is likely to be safe. It has a long history of traditional use, and also modern research to back its effectiveness.

Passion Flower, or Passiflora, may be used to reduce anxiety and tension. Passion flower is a mild sedative and relaxes the central nervous system. It tends to lower blood pressure. It helps restlessness and insomnia, with no after-effects the following morning. It is also and anti-spasmodic, and anti-inflammatory, and useful for nerve pains.

Warnings: avoid with MAOI anti-depressants as there is a theoretical (not proven) possibility of interaction.

Recommended: It is available as herb tea (sometimes in combinations) and as capsules, which are purer than tablets. If taken in combination remember to check the other ingredients for safety.

Raspberry Leaf

raspberry leafLike Caulophyllum (see Homeopathic Remedies), Raspberry Leaf is very well known as a ‘womb toner’. And just as with Caulophyllum, I prefer not to suggest it routinely.

2 studies in recent years suggest that Raspberry Leaf is safe, and probably positive. Trends are positive, but results are not always clear. One study was retrospective, looking at women who had used Raspberry Leaf in any form, at any time in pregnancy. The other study was double-blind, randomised and placebo-controlled. Results suggest that labour may be shorter, less likely to be ‘early’ or ‘late’, and involve fewer complications (such as artificial rupture of membranes, forceps, ventouse or caesarean birth).

Warnings:Avoid before 32 weeks as it may have a mild stimulant effect on the womb.Raspberry Leaf should not be taken if you use the following drugs, as its tannin content may make them less effective:
Atropine; Codeine, or Paracetamol (Acetaminophen) with Codeine; Lomotil/Lonox; Theophylline/Aminophylline; Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine, or drugs containing them, such as some hayfever preparations.Always check with a doctor or pharmacist.

Recommended: Raspberry Leaf is available both as tea and as capsules. Capsules are purer than tablets. Always follow the instructions on dosage for pregnancy. You could make your own from fresh raspberry leaves, but it needs skill and accuracy to regulate the dosage.

Safe Use of Natural Remedies in Pregnancy, Childbirth and Breastfeeding

Do not neglect medical guidance and treatment.

Homeopathic remedies are suitable in pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, if used according to instructions. They contain no chemicals. They do not interact chemically with prescription drugs. For more info see Homeopathy with Prescription Medication.

Always monitor the effect carefully, write down what you take and what happens, or ask someone else to do this. If your remedy helps, but symptoms return later, repeat what you took. If your remedy does not help, look for a different one.

You can buy remedies in the 6 or 30 potency in shops. Childbirth remedy kits often contain the 200 potency, this is fine, but I would not recommend it for home use outside of childbirth.

It is always best to consult a professional homeopath.

Herbs may be safe, or may not. They have a long history of traditional use, but some lack the research to prove it. Equally, herbs may be unsafe, but we do not know because of lack of evidence. It is always best to consult a professional herbalist.

If you take prescription medication, herbs or supplements may interact with them. Be especially careful about warnings, and if in doubt consult your doctor or a pharmacist.

You can get more detailed advice with the Natural Health Answers REPORT.

and Terms and Conditions of this website.


Also read:
Homeopathy in Pregnancy and Childbirth

Women's Health

How to Take Homeopathic Remedies
A guide to getting the best results, from over-the-counter remedies and treatment by your homeopath.

Crying Babies
More help for babies who cry a lot, including digestive problems teething and colic.

Is Baby OK? Encouraging baby into a good position for labour
Optimal Foetal Positioning may contribute to an easier labour

Breastfeeding: Natural and Homeopathic Remedies
Tips to encourage breast milk, and more

Blocked Milk Ducts Commonly called mastitis, but may not be.


BACK TO
Pregnancy and Childbirth Intro page and full list

TOP


Text only
creative commonsCreative Commons license, some rights reserved. You may use or share this text for certain non-commercial purposes, subject to conditions. Read more here.

Images copyright belongs to the individual artists, not to me. Do not copy or use images without their permission. Please see Picture Credits.