* Claims based on traditional homeopathic practice, not accepted medical evidence. Not FDA evaluated.

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Safe and Sound in Pregnancy

Safe and Sound in Pregnancy

by Miranda Castro, FSHom, CCH

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A few years ago I received a call from a patient, Mary, who was three months pregnant. She had been involved in a minor car accident and had suffered some abdominal bruising from banging into the steering wheel. She was bleeding a little from the uterus and her whole abdomen felt sore and bruised. Her doctor had prescribed bed rest for a day or two or until the bleeding stopped. Although Mary expressed some concern that she might miscarry, she said she was basically OK. She wanted to know if it was safe to take Arnica.

I am often asked whether homeopathy is safe in pregnancy and childbirth. The beauty of homeopathy is its safety and its efficacy. If a woman is feeling unwell or has hurt herself, a well-selected homeopathic remedy can stimulate her vital force, her inner healer; this positive response can only be of benefit to her baby as well. The safety of homeopathic medicines, which are entirely non-toxic, has been confirmed by 200 years of clinical practice around the world.

Arnica rules—OK!

Arnica is everybody’s favorite remedy. During pregnancy, it can help with minor injuries, like discomfort from an active baby who kicks, causing soreness. During labor, Arnica can help the muscles to do their work with a minimum of physical stress and strain—and may even speed the labor itself. After the birth, Arnica will help strained tissues to recover their former strength.

Arnica is as close to a “specific” as we get ... and we homeopaths don’t have many of those. Dorothy Shepherd writes in her exquisite little book The Physician’s Posy: “You may have heard it mentioned that there are no specifics in Homeopathy, a specific being a drug which, in a doctor’s mind, as well as in those of lay people, is associated with a certain disease. There is no rule without an exception, so we are taught in grammar, and even in homeopathy you get exceptions to rules. The best specific I know is Arnica for injuries, falls and accidents of all sorts.”

For many people, it is Arnica that provides incontrovertible proof that homeopathy works. And once you’ve seen it work, you are hooked, as many reading these words will agree. It is impressive to see that scary “egg” on your child’s forehead caused by a nasty fall, shrink and disappear altogether in front of your very eyes within minutes of having given a single tablet of Arnica. There is no further pain and no discoloration. The bruising is healed from the inside. A mini-miracle.

The typical person needing Arnica says they are OK when they plainly are not; this symptom alone can guide you to a successful Arnica prescription. My pregnant patient, Mary, was clearly in need of a little Arnica. Bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy is cause for more than a little concern, and that giveaway comment, “I’m OK,” after an injury to soft tissues confirmed the need for our best homeopathic friend—Arnica! She took Arnica 30C every 2 hours, and the bleeding stopped within a few doses. By the next day, the soreness had gone and her pregnancy continued with no further ado!

Arnica’s little friend

Don’t forget about Arnica’s close friend, Bellis perennis. It is a remarkable little remedy for bruising that goes deeper than Arnica. Think of it especially after the birth—after a long labor or a Cesarean section where sore, bruised sensations are located deeper in the body (as opposed to the more superficial muscles) and Arnica doesn’t afford relief.

Bellis perennis is almost a specific remedy for women who experience severe pains in their groin during the last few months of pregnancy, pains that come on sud- denly while walking and are severe enough to make walking impossible until they have passed. These pains are due to the stretching of the ligaments and nerves of the uterus, and a single dose of Bellis perennis causes them to pass quickly and helps prevent their recurrence.

Caulophyllum—take only if indicated!

Some homeopathic books advise pregnant women to take homeopathic Caulophyllum during the last weeks or even months before delivery to prepare them for an easy labor. This is similar to the advice of some natural birth books to drink raspberry leaf tea throughout the pregnancy, and especially in the last three months. Caulophyllum can indeed pave the way for a trouble-free childbirth if it is indicated, but if taken routinely and unnecessarily, it can cause difficulties in labor—as can raspberry leaf tea. And if either is taken repeatedly when not indicated, proving symptoms* may develop.

Caulophyllum (or blue cohosh) was used by Native Americans as a birthing herb, hence two of its common names, squaw root and papoose root. Its special gift is in helping women whose tissues have lost their tone, especially the tissues of the uterus. Raspberry leaf tea and/or homeopathically prepared Caulophyllum can be taken to prepare women for an easier delivery, but they are primarily indicated for sedentary women with poor muscle tone, or for those who have a history of gynecological problems or difficult deliveries. Women who are fit and have healthy muscle tone should avoid them or take them only on the instruction of an experienced herbalist or homeopath.

Caulophyllum’s reputation for establishing effective contractions in labor is deserved. Homeopathic Caulophyllum works like a dream when it is called for. In late pregnancy, Caulophyllum is useful for annoying Braxton-Hicks contractions. In long, drawn out labors, it can help with extremely painful, ineffectual contractions that “don’t work,” in other words, that are not causing the cervix to dilate. The pains “fly about” the abdomen, from one place to another. Sometimes the labor slows down and even stops altogether. After delivery, the uterus may still not contract properly and may become prolapsed, or the placenta may not be easily expelled. Exhaustion, trembling, thirst, and chilliness accompany the above complaints in a woman who needs Caulophyllum. Strangely, the chilliness is no better for being covered.

Using Caulophyllum to bring on labor

Since a normal pregnancy can range from 240 to 300 days (35 to 42 weeks), it is almost impossible to predict a baby’s due date accurately. The question of overdue babies is a vexing one because, come the ninth month (by dates), doctors and midwives often get itchy fingers and want that baby out! In many Western countries, the rise of inductions and Cesareans confirms a trend towards births that are managed by medical professionals rather than those where nature is encouraged to take its course. I am not talking of the wonderful life-saving work that medics are able to offer women whose deliveries have become complicated, but I do question the wisdom of unnecessary interventions that appear to be designed for the convenience of doctors and hospitals.

A few doses of Caulophyllum can help to start a labor that is late (according to dates) but ready—that is, the baby is ready to come out and the mother’s body is correspondingly ready to deliver. I suggest women take it in the 200C potency 3 times daily for up to 2 days, and then repeat it 3–7 days later if labor still has not begun. If labor doesn’t start after a second repetition of Caulophyllum, a different remedy may be needed, or perhaps the dates are not correct. There are other homeopathic medicines that may be indicated at this stage in a pregnancy when labor is delayed, but they really need to be determined by a skilled, professional homeopath.

Because homeopathic medicines are non-toxic, they are safe, especially in pregnancy, but it’s sensible not to take something for every little complaint—(a rule that’s true not just during pregnancy). Use them wisely and sensibly, and you will make a lasting relationship with a wonderful source of healing!

Bio:

Miranda Castro is a British homeopath who has been practicing homeopathy since 1982 and living in the US since 1994. She is author the best-selling The Complete Homeopathy Handbook, the much-loved Homeopathy for Pregnancy, Birth and Your Baby’s First Years and A Homeopathic Guide to Stress. She is a Fellow of the Society of Homeopaths (UK) and past President of the North American Society of Homeopaths. She currently lives in Gainesville, Florida. www.mirandacastro.com

*This information is intended for professional use only. The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of TxOptions, Standard Homeopathic and Hyland’s. These statements are based upon traditional homeopathic practice. They have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration.